© dwij 2004
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SOULSPEAK is a very simplified adaptation of ancient oral tribal poetry that was discovered by Justin Spring and Scylla Liscombe in the early 1990s and applied artistically in their creation of multi-voiced musical poems. It is also an innovative and effective format for arts programs that help children and adults express their deepest hopes, loves, fears, and desires in a beautiful healing way.

Justin and Scylla's creation has been especially fruitful with at-risk children. The term at-risk children covers a wide and complex range of emotional, physical, and intellectual challenges; however one common attribute of such children is an unconscious mind that exists in tremendous turmoil. This turmoil is often inexpressible, and drives these children into all sorts of behavior patterns that eventually cause them to feel isolated and inferior.


Justin Spring & Scylla Liscombe

As SOULSPEAK is a primal form of poetry it taps into the unconscious almost effortlessly and gives these children a way of expressing their turmoil in a jointly-created story poem that unfolds in a unique form. In this sense these poems are very close to the dreams we have every night.The difference, however, is that children are awake when SOULSPEAK poems are formed and this is the nature of true poetry: It is a marriage of the conscious and unconscious mind.

When this experience happens, participants feel what poets have felt for millennia: that they have been given a special message that is both beautiful and true. The resultant rise in self-esteem is impactful and, because it is jointly created, there is an automatic rise in empathy between the partners.

A Community Creativity Center in:
Sarasota, Florida USA

Samples of SOULSPEAK poems written by at-risk children can be downloaded at: