Congratulations to Frances!


Congratulations to Frances Aldana

IMG_1208for winning the Sourcebooks National Poetry Month Contest with her entry through Books & Books! And for winning, Frances and Books & Books will receive a visit this fall from world renowned poet Nikki Giovanni.

Frances earned the top honor for her hip-hop poem about a best friend – “My Best Friend Kaitlyn”.

“I am an artist and I wish I could create the stuff that I imagine,” Frances said of her poetry.

Frances wrote her winning poem during a class at her school with local poet and Broward College professor Denise Lanier, who also led Poetry Workshops at Books & Books in Coral Gables as part of this National Poetry Month Contest.

Denise Lanier’s next Poetry Workshop for Kids at Books & Books will be Saturday, August 8, 11am. Free and open to all kids.

Nikki Giovanni is the author of the New York Times bestselling book Hip Hop Speaks to Children (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $19.99) , and she will present a signed copy of her book to Frances and present a reading at Books & Books during the early autumn.


About deniselanier

I am an educator & advocate, poet & performer, speaker & storyteller who believes in the power of narrative to transform & transport, create & connect. I was the shy, awkward girl who didn’t fit in, was often bullied, happiest with my nose in books, whose best friend was my dog. After being cast in a play in my teens I discovered a way to be comfortable in my own skin, bringing to life the words of a character. Costumed in make-believe I dared to be more of myself than I ever allowed off-stage; I claimed my voice. I spent most of my adult life teaching others to raise their own voices, through acting, creative writing, even slam poetry. When the diagnosis of MS intervened in my 30s I had to let go of acting, which is why most of my storytelling is now expressed through page and less “formal” interactions with stages. I devote much of my time to kids, teaching them to use words & imagination, developing authentic, resilient, remarkable voices. I endeavor to grow in my students the belief, the truth, that we are all artists & the change-makers in our own stories. My best friend still has fur & four legs. My mobility assistance dog is my constant companion, teaching assistant & muse to many. Luke is also chief partner in crime; I’m getting a reputation for stealing things. As inventor of a poetic form called klepto-collaborative, I pickpocket words & phrases from others, reshuffling & reshaping the puzzle-pieces into a colorful, storied mosaic of diverse voices. Taking something from every speaker at a conference in real-time, I craft a collective poem that highlights the messages of the day, repurposing ideas & refashioning stories, weaving them together in a manner that never loses the originality & spirit of the speakers’ themes. So while I may be a word thief, I figure being eco-conscious makes up for it. I’m available to facilitate wordy goodness in your community, school, workplace or play space. I like to think I have way of transforming annual meetings into something interactive, cooperative & memorable. Through my klepto-collaborative poems I aim to delight, to ignite conversation, and maybe even incite innovation. I earned an MFA from Florida International University, where I edited Gulf Stream Literary Magazine. I’m the founder of WordPlay, a poetry-in-the-schools project inspired by Dave Eggers. My poetry has appeared in Bloomsbury Review, Cake, Luna, Best American Poetry blog (a collaborative poem with the phenomenal Denise Duhamel), Wicked Good Life, and various anthologies. My non-fiction has appeared in the Miami Herald and my fiction has been nominated for Best New American Voices. &

One response »

  1. Hi Denise!
    I’m Frances’ mom.
    Thanks for all of your inspiration and time with Frances.

    p.s. Can you email a copy of the poem to me please?



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