Saturday, April 26, 2008

Brave New Voices

Attended the youth poetry slam finals competition last night. First time in four years where I wasn’t MC’ing the show – we’ve turned those duties over to some of the teens themselves. I guess I’ve sort of taught my way out of a job when the students are ready to take over. This is a good thing, even though it was still kind of bittersweet - it was fun not being responsible for running the night, but then again I have never been one to shrink away from responsibility.

I’m happy to say that five out of six members of the team are students that I have coached or had in workshops. Also not being on stage this year allowed me to play favorites and I wasn’t above directing their performances and giving time cues from the audience.

I couldn’t be prouder of these kids. With all the negativity that surrounds growing up today, especially in an urban environment – it is more than a little encouraging seeing these young people speaking their minds with clarity and conviction.

I skipped out of sitting on a panel at a local college that was discussing the state of poetry in Cleveland in order to attend the finals. My partner in rhyme, Sara Holbrook, ably filled my slot there. I can tell you though – from where I was sitting last night – the state of poetry in Cleveland looked to be pretty good.

1 comment:

Cindi said...

We're glad you were there, Michael! The growth and improvement of the students in the Slam U program over the past few years is certainly due to your skill in helping them find and refine their voices. Their wisdom, creativity and maturity never ceases to impress and amaze me. I can't wait to see what they do at nationals!

Cindi Szymanski