Teacher Alex Cuff on Savon
I met Savon Williams--now a junior at the Academy for Young Writers in Brooklyn--in September 2016 in my Raven’s Press writing elective. Savon is the type of student who doesn’t speak much but when she does, she drops wisdom imbued with empathy, political awareness and a sharp sense of humor. While it’s not rare to meet intelligent compassionate high school students, it is not altogether common to meet someone who is also extremely self-aware, kind, humble, fiercely talented in singing and writing, a dedicated day-dreamer who journals during class and still holds down an impressive GPA. That fall she self-published her first chapbook: You Will Burn, You Will Blossom, a collection of poetry and prose. Her author bio informs us that she “holds a BA in kindness and a PHD in love” and that she enjoys “memes, daydreaming, and making others smile.” Less than two years later, Savon’s writing knows no temporal boundaries. She creates work which is simultaneously grounded in a critical look at history, a confident speculative future, and a present steeped in inquiry, compassion and resistance. Her work embraces the element of Sankofa in which she looks to the future with an eye toward history, honoring the persons on whose shoulders we all stand. This young woman is a poet, singer, scholar, and leader to whom I look to for excellence in her generation and the greater New York City arts community.
Alex Cuff teaches classes in reading, writing, and restorative justice at the Academy for Young Writers, a 6-12 public school in East New York. She advises Raven Press, a student-run small press that publishes student anthologies and chapbooks. She is co-founding editor of No, Dear magazine, a 2016 Poets House fellow, a Segue Reading Series curator, and a Pushcart Prize nominee. Her poetry and prose can be found online at The Recluse, Apogee Journal and Teachers & Writers Magazine and her chapbook Family, A Natural Wonder was published by Reality Beach in 2018.