Wordworks allowed me to grow as a poet – Alex Kime

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PublicNews18: Wordworks allowed me to grow as a poet – Alex Kime

A transdisciplinary writer, teaching artist, and facilitator, Alex Kime was born and raised in and around Ann Arbor, Michigan. Currently a lecturer with the Program on Intergroup Relations,

they are the recipient of the 2019 Michael R. Gutterman Award in Poetry, Highest Honors in Creative Writing & Literature for their manuscript of poems entitled trans-corporeality in 2017, 2nd Place in the 2017 Current Magazine poetry contest, and the 2015 Jeffrey L. Weisberg Memorial Prize in Poetry.

Alex Kime

In addition to studying Creative Writing and Literature, Alex Kime received their Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan as a National Community Scholar. With Yoseñio V. Lewis, they are the co-author of the chapter “Place, joy, and self: trans justice and community organizing work” in Social Work and Healthcare with Trans and Nonbinary Individuals and Communities (Routledge, 2020).

Their poetic work is forthcoming and/or has appeared in Current Magazine, Café Shapiro, the Michigan Daily, the anthology Uncommon Core: Contemporary Poems for Learning and Living, and others. Their poem “30 seconds to reboot” was selected for the Michael R. Gutterman Award in Poetry.

Alex Kime is a senior working on a Creative Writing and Literature

Ann Arbor native Alex Kime is a senior working on a Creative Writing and Literature major and a double minor in CASC (Community Action and Social Change) and Intergroup Relations Education. His interest in social justice began at the Neutral Zone, a youth-driven teen center in Ann Arbor, dedicated to promoting personal growth through artistic expression, community leadership, and the exchange of ideas, where he now works and has coordinated the poetry program for three years.

During his time as a teen at the Neutral Zone, Alex Kime was actively involved with the Students Educating Each Other About Diversity (SEED) program, which used social-identity focused dialogue to think about personal experience and structures of power.“I was really lucky to have had an opportunity to explore social justice before I got to U-M,” Kime said. “My time at the Neutral Zone gave me time to think about what area of social justice,

I wanted to work in and I was grateful to have the time and space to help define a possible career path.”Soon after coming to U-M, Kime joined the CASC minor and eagerly became a facilitator for CASC’s DECLARE retreat, where students identified the need for a space to bring together the service learning people who do hands on work and those who practice social justice in theory.

“The CASC minor is a great part of campus and I love the flexibility of the program,” Kime said. “I’ve had an opportunity to talk to and learn with a wide variety of students ranging from pre-med to finance, and there’s a lot of value to bringing all types of people who are doing social change work together.”

Though the physical space for the DECLARE retreat changes locations semester to semester, and many of those who participate are CASC minors.

As a result of his involvement with the DECLARE retreat, Alex Kime also had the opportunity to facilitate a Campus Connections workshop through the University of Chicago’s Summer Bridge Program, which helps new undergraduate students transition to university life and in this case,

begin thinking about the CASC minor.“We had a lot of interesting con-versations with the Bridge par-ticipants about language and social justice jargon,” Kime said. “There is so much that’s normalized in our language and it’s important to introduce alternative language in a non-destructive way, from a point of understanding.” Kime was admitted into the U-M School of Social Work during his junior year and he says it was a relief to have that acceptance solidified.

“I am incredibly grateful to know where I’m headed next year, to have it out of the way,” Kime said.He chose Social Policy and Evaluation as his primary concentration with community organizing as a sub-concentration. “I want to continue developing my understanding of social issues in this very complicated world,” Kime said, “and the University of Michigan School of Social Work is the best place for me to learn that.”

The Community Action and Social Change (CASC) minor is for students interested in developing knowledge, skills and experiences in social justice and community involvement. More than 600 students have completed the program since 2010, and more than 120 CASC alum have pursued the MSW program.

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