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Phoenix Luk, Writer

Phoenix was born in Manhattan but raised in the suburbs of New Jersey. Her first poems were about cutting boards and aliens. She followed her heart back to the city, where she earned her MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from The New School. In addition to the Teaching Artist Project, she is part of the New York City Teaching Collaborative to earn her master’s in English Education. Phoenix hopes to create a classroom culture that fuses a new-age style of reading and a creative atmosphere that supports analytical thought. In between teaching and rock climbing, Phoenix is shopping around a young adult novel and writing her next YA novel and a chapbook that showcases the struggles and wonder of mental illness, abuse, and sexuality.

TAP Work:

The work Phoenix has done at TAP has been invaluable because it showed her ways to access learning in multiple creative aspects—paint, poetry, and music. As Phoenix despises the current teaching model in public schools, TAP has given her the tools to help her students be more involved in the material using methods that best fit them. She learned the importance of multiple accessibility and fostering a familial classroom environment.

These abilities were put into play when Phoenix worked with CWP mentors Jashua Sa-Ra and Chaya Babu at New Directions Middle School. The workshops focused on different kinds of poetry, including erasure, found, and modeled poems. Helping students create art they didn’t know they could do was so touching because a newfound confidence grew within them to achieve other goals they had for themselves.

Most Memorable TAP Moment

"Spending Saturdays at TAP was never a downer! Phoenix loved being surrounded by other artists and friends making art together. It was like a form of stress relief play. But her favorite moment was creating a beautiful mural that we would all contribute to over the months. It showed what teaching meant to us artists and what drives us to create, share, and educate."

Find out more about Phoenix here:

"My Honest Poem" by Phoenix Luk

After Rudy Francisco

I am less than five feet short, though on good

days, I feel like I’m towering above the wind.

But that’s all pretend, my motto

Fake it ‘til you make it; I haven’t made it yet.

I haven’t learned to love myself

as much as I love people I don’t even know.

Pain is my daily breakfast,

and I swallow my feelings for dinner.

Sometimes I want to breathe in nicotine

until all the oil is gone, somewhere I’m not.

I want to feel the freezing iron of the fire

escape on my feet until I’m numb to myself.

Living with monsters in my head

is my normal.

My body runs on four bottles of pills

twice a day, every day.