Teacher Feature: Daemond Arrindell
“Ever since Daemond started coming to my third period class, I have found a healthy way to express my emotions and thoughts. I look forward to being taught by him every Friday and learning why writing poetry really matters.” These words come from a ninth-grade WITS student at Franklin High; they’re only a minute sampling of the many “Dear Donor” cards applauding WITS writer-in-residence Daemond Arrindell’s teaching practices (often in conjunction with the phrase “super cool”).
Daemond, a poet and performer who currently teaches at Broadview-Thomson K-8, HS3 High School, and West Seattle High School, will be joining other inspiring Seattle writers this summer to teach our inaugural season of Camp WITS at the School of Visual Concepts.
Today, I had the pleasure of hearing about Daemond’s Camp WITS plans, his recent accomplishments, and one writing lesson he’ll never forget. . .
1) Tell me a little about your camp class. What are you inspired to try this summer?
I will be tag teaming with [WITS writer-in-residence] Nikkita Oliver. Having worked with her in the past, it’s fairly safe to say that a lot of the writing will be directed towards the themes of empowerment and identity. And considering that this class is about performance poetry, I’d really like to get the students doing some multi-voice poems to engage in collaboration and allyship through performance.
2) What do you like most about working with your teaching partner?
Nikkita is a master at the Venn diagram. She is looking for the magic that exists in between genres, in between styles, in between formats—the places where things are not this or that, but this and something more. The complexities we all live within that cannot be contained within one designated box, which is what art is all about anyway, is what I am looking to build. I feel that Nikkita is and will be a wonderful artist and facilitator to co-foster that.
3) What’s going on in your own writing life right now? Any exciting new projects?
I just found out I was accepted to the Mineral School summer residency, which I am delighted by, and am hoping that I can fit into my schedule—but what a blessing to have conflicts because of so many good things occurring. I am working on my submission game currently, which I am a newbie at, and sending out poems and working on my manuscript, an immensely daunting task.
4) Can you remember one important writing lesson you were taught?
Write your uniqueness and your ugly. It is these two things that separate us from one another and simultaneously are where we see ourselves in one another.
5) Ideal summer’s day?
Early morning meditation, time spent outside near water where you lose track of time (or even better, where you don’t pay any attention to it at all), writing and sharing work with special people, good food and good conversation closed out by a walk outside that allows you to take in the stars.
Thank you, Daemond!
Daemond Arrindell is a poet, performer, and teaching artist. He is currently a faculty member of Freehold Theatre and is co-facilitating (for the 5th year) a poetry and theater residency at Monroe Correctional Complex for men, in addition to working as a Writer-In-Residence through the Writers in the Schools Program. In the fall of 2012, he taught Seattle University’s first course in Slam Poetry. He has performed in venues across the country and has been repeatedly commissioned by both Seattle and Bellevue Arts Museums.
To find out more about Camp WITS, including how to register, visit our website.