Muchas Gracias, Poems! Lowell Elementary Poetry & Song 2022

In the spring of 2022, we were thrilled to work with second graders at Lowell Elementary School to create poetry and song. This web page and an anthology of the students’ poems are the culmination of Jack Straw artist residencies with Lowell second grade students in Lisa Allphin, Rae Richardson, and Paul Tran’s classes and special education students in Broc D’Antoni’s class.

In this project, the students worked with Jack Straw’s professional writer Sierra Nelson to write their own poetry. Vocal coaches Sunam Ellis and Brenda Arellano helped the students practice reading their work aloud. Musician Tomo Nakayama then wrote “A Song Is a Poem,” an original song inspired by the students’ poems, and sang it with them in the classroom.


Purchase the Book Here

Muchas Gracias, Poems! Lowell Elementary Poetry & Song was produced by Lowell Elementary School students and Jack Straw Cultural Center with the generous support of the Washington State Arts Commission, the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture and The Creative Advantage, Rodrigues Charitable Trust, the Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, and individual donors.

The Jack Straw artist team included writer Sierra Nelson, vocal coaches Brenda Arellano and Sunam Ellis, musician Tomo Nakayama, audio engineer Daniel Guenther, designer Levi Fuller, and Executive Director Joan Rabinowitz. Special thanks to the second graders of Lowell Elementary and Lowell staff. We especially want to thank 2nd grade teachers Lisa Allphin, Rae Richardson, and Paul Tran; special education teacher Broc D’Antoni; music teacher Shelby Leyland; Principal Sarah Talbot; and Administrative Secretary Tammy Watson, who helped make this project possible.


portrait of Sierra Nelson

Sierra Nelson

Sierra Nelson is a poet, lyric essayist, collaborative performance and installation artist, and teacher. Nelson’s books include The Lachrymose Report (PoetryNW Editions), collaborations with visual artist Loren Erdrich including…

Portrait of Tomo Nakayama

Tomo Nakayama

Born in Japan and raised in Seattle, Washington, Tomo Nakayama is an artist whose melodic, complex, and emotionally compelling music has been praised by NPR, New York Times, and The…

Portrait of Brenda Arellano

Brenda Arellano

Brenda Arellano is a performer and devisor based in Oakland after almost a decade in Chicago. She was a company member with the Chicago Neo-Futurists and she recently performed…

Portrait of Sunam Ellis

Sunam Ellis

Sunam Ellis is an actor, director, and teaching artist based out of Seattle. Her training began with her studies at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, and after receiving her…