" Now in its eleventh year, the Detroit Institute of Arts student writing project invites Detroit Public School students to view works of art in the museum's permanent collection and then write poems, essays, and criticism inspired by them. The art is the starting point as the students' minds take flight, exploring the nature of creativity, the diverse perspectives of other cultures, and their own contemporary world in often startling ways. "
Maurice Parish, Director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, forward to  "Igniting the Sky", a booklet available from the DIA about the project.
The Cosmic Fly

Deeply colored light
Sooo misunderstood...
like, "miseducation!" or confusion,
like a thing called
life, an intertwined
spider web or
climatic cloud formations
looking forward to
find the way
not just a simple firefly,
not even a sculpture.
More like a feeling
more like a thought
or simply, just simply
A concept!

Erika Jackson 
Eighth Grade
Dorothy Fisher Middle School


Bursting flames
night life reflects
dependable workers
with a single light.

Almost like the queen bee
twinkling as
little stars...
a full bed of diamonds
filling a night's dream
while creeping creatures
swing-dance against
the night skies.

We gather
to applaud
the effort
of their
dream melodies.

Eighth Grade


Look at me Night bright!
The light within
flickering sparks of
sunshine throughout
the purple darkness
I'm a buzzing attraction
Not a single creature
can ignore
My wings gracefully
glide over the
bountiful face of
Planet Earth
Join me in the
Peer through my kaleidoscope
and marvel
at the firefly's
point of view

Eighth Grade

Firefly & Cosmic Bubble

These drugs are quick
A cosmic bubble of
cooling lava explodes
flashing, flickering, bursting
into a delicate trip
deep into an intricate rose
evasive, decisive, complete
in this escapade-
fragments of me.

Twelfth Grade


Firefly, as I walk past, you flash on and off.
The twinkling glare of your lights is bright.
When the music plays it makes me stop and look
You appear and disappear like magic.

Third Grade

Firefly and other self portraits
Director's Forward
Juror's Statements