Tucson Youth Poetry Slam

The young voices of Southern Arizona

Poem from Louie V., Winner of the December Slam!

The Human Sound

There is an ancient whisper muttered in silence
It is deafening.
I have heard it & so have you.
It is first whispered during pregnany
It lingers long after death.
some spend the entirity of their lives searching for it
some never hear it
even still, some wish to suffocate the sound…

An ancient sound
This collection of hearts
we may not want to acknowledge it
but this is a holy war…
They’re trying to make us sit proper;
say we live too loudly
speak blindly.
that we ought to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves
But I stopped checking myself because I’m already wrecked.
My whispering heart can barely keep me upright.
It speaks through shreddedd vocal chords.
But it need not speak, only whisper.
So stand in my wake, let the breeze hum you my legacy.

And let it be known that on this day
I wrote a constitution
In which it states that
The human sound ought not be silenced.
I signed it with my blood
Dotted my “i”s with tears.

An ancient sound
This collection of hearts
let yours hear mine whisper
may yours forever beat.
and when my body gives way to the wind
this poem please repeat.

There is an ancient whisper muttered in silence…

Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, December 2014- Review

“AMAZING” is perhaps the only word to describe how our 4th Annual Family Slam went! Another night of amazing poetry, amazing family members on the mic, an amazing crowd… just amazing!

The night kicked off with a writing workshop run by Spoken Futures staff members Lydia and Maya and centered around Langston Hughes’ “Mother to Son”. The workshop was followed by the community meeting where youth talked about recent police brutality cases against African Americans. Youth constructed a poem using lines from 30 different poems about police violence by poets of color. (you can see that here).

At the slam, we had ELEVEN competing poets, EIGHT of which were first timers! We witnessed an amazing piece from our December Spotlight Poet, Lydia H. (whose performance you can see here).  Our families got on the mic too!  We heard from a grandmother, a mother and a sister who each shared stories of how TYPS has impacted them and the youth in their family. Our fearless slam hosts, Ara and Enrique made it a fantastic night! Bentley’s was vibrating from all the love!

Big thanks again to all the volunteers who make the TYPS run! Thank you to Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea for staying open late for us (special thanks to Mia Barista who found our lost microphones!).

Congratulations to this month’s winners!

Overall slam:

 

  1. Louie V.

  2. Zoe K.

  3. Chloe W.

 

First timer’s slam:

 

  1. Jessica Q.

 

On behalf of everyone at Spoken Futures, Inc. and the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, we hope you all have very happy holidays! We will see you at our first slam of 2015, on January 17th. Much love!

 

Check out this video from December’s winner! Please visit our YouTube channel to see all the family videos and much more!

 

 

Poem from Lydia H., Winner of the November Slam!

“I know I am because I said I am.” -Mary Lambert

I was twelve when I first used the word “queer” to describe myself to a girl in my computers class. My tongue tripped over the “Q” like it was a shoelace. I made her swear on her Holy Pre Algebra textbook that she wouldn’t tell anybody. She wouldn’t tell anybody. She wouldn’t tell anybody… she told the guy she’d been dating for three days. This guy told all of his friends. His friends started leaving bastardized Bible Psalms in my locker. I suppressed the memory of my combination. I suppressed the idea of being open, and I carried my weight on my own.

I like to think I became all the right kinds of shadow, all the right kinds of ugly. Girls I had never met before asked me if I had a crush on them and a traffic jam started in my chest. I was told I was “disgusting” on a regular basis and my jaw turned to barbed wire in my head. They shoved me in science class and I bruised like confinement. But I never looked away. I never struck back. Maybe I was all the right cowardly. Maybe I was all the right brave.

Now, people aren’t sure what to make of this. Me. I am so young. I shouldn’t be so sure of my weathered heart. And I saw the girl who outed me, three years later, in the supermarket. She looked at me like I was a plane crash; she couldn’t look away from my reflection in the freezers. Perhaps I am a plane crash, a travesty, a tragedy. But at least there were no casualties. At least we all made it out alive. At least at the end of the day I can look at the embers and say that I made it. I do not need to confirm if I’m gay or if I’m not. What I need to do is be proud of myself, all these kinds of myself, because

I know I am because I said I am
I know I am because I said I am
I know I am because I said I am

Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, November 2014: Review

During this time where we are able to reflect on what we are thankful for, we at the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam are SO thankful for everybody who made it to the November Slam!

It all started with the workshop led by TYPS alumni and Spoken Futures staff member, Enrique Garcia! Enrique’s workshop focused on writing creative nonfiction. Each poet wrote about a specific historical event that had stuck with them, ranging from the passing of SB1070 to the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire to the Spanish Inquisition. That night, Enrique also did double the work by featuring AND DJ-ing! Reading from his book Tortoise Boy Says (published by Spoken Futures Press in 2014), Enrique gave us poems that were as diverse and powerful as Tucson itself.

There were THIRTEEN poets on the mic and NINE first timers! Poets spoke on a diverse range of lived experiences from dealing with the death of a loved one to not feeling accepted by family. If you didn’t attend the slam, you also missed out on a poem about a killer pomegranate! The November slam showcased all our super fierce poets and we can’t wait to see them on the mic again in December!

We, as always, have many people to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Thank you to our volunteer videographer, scorekeeper and timekeeper. Thank you to DJ Queue (aka Enrique Garcia) for spinning the greatest jams. Thank you to Cecilia M., last month’s winner, for a wonderful spotlight feature (which you can see here!). Thank you to Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea for staying open late for us and being a wonderful sanctuary for young poets. And as always, thank YOU– yes, you. You, the one who drove through post-football-game traffic to get to TYPS on time. You, who donated during both baskets pass-arounds. You, who couldn’t make it to the November slam, but swore you’d make it to the next one while watching all of the YouTube videos. Thank you to all of you for your support. It means so, so much.

Congratulations to this month’s winners!

Overall slam:

 

  1. Lydia H.

  2. Louie V.

  3. Christiana S.

 

First timer’s slam:

 

  1. Verena M.

 

REMINDER: The December slam is on the second Saturday, not the third. Poets, also remember to bring your family! If you do, you’ll be entered into a super special raffle. See you then! In the meantime, check out these videos from our feature and our winner:

 

Poem from Cecilia M., Winner of the September & October Slams!

You are the only thing that causes me to lose focus, distracted don’t get distracted. Everyone says to listen to your heart but if a stethoscope were to be taken to my chest you would hear nothing but my blood entering through my inferior and superior vena cava, blue and choking. You could hear the shuttering of my valves into my right atrium the contraction of travel to my right ventricle around again, running through open mitral doors into my left ventricle finally sweeping out red and rich in oxygen from my left atrium out my pulmonary vein. So even if I wanted to listen to my heart, its repetitive “lub dub” is getting me nowhere. I tried to listen to my feet and though they were screaming to run they planted to invisible concrete blocks weighing down with the beat of a thousand drums I will never march to. I tired, to listen to my knees but as soon as I spoke they buckled under the weight; it’s not that I couldn’t stand the thought of you it’s that I couldn’t stand to the thought of you. I tired listening for my stomach but it is starving for the feeling of focus, the bile is dripping, I’m a bit more nauseous than usual today so I swallow back the acid that slavers from my mouth when I miss you which brings my attention to my throat. We can skip that though, it’s fucking busy right now. M jaw, my lips, my hands all crack and clench. The catharsis of breaking my bones like a fruit that has no guts, a book that has no spine. I hole my courage in the cupboard of my ribcage, contort, restore- don’t be a coward. Didn’t anyone ever tell you- you need to sit up straight.

Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, October 2014- Review

The October Tucson Youth Poetry Slam was a night full of tricks AND treats, just in time for Halloween! Breaking even more records in a night full of amazing poetry, this was a night we are glad we did not miss!

Poets started out at 5:00 PM with a workshop led by the feature,Tere Fowler-Chapman. The prompt asked what exactly went “bump” in the night, and the answers were haunting. Tere also got the poets to practice performing their own writing. We really loved that! During Tere’s feature, she dropped wisdom on topics such as love, growing up, and racism.

The slam itself had a whopping THIRTEEN poets competing, TEN of which were first-timers! Each and every one of them shared poems that were absolutely from the heart, and amazing. A total of 22 poems from competitors that night gave the audience insight on everything from mothers to substance abuse to the science of the body to cars! This slam was the definition of bravery. It reminded us all that Tucson Youth Poetry Slam is a community. We are a family.

As always, we must give all of our thanks to our volunteers working the camera, scorekeeping and timekeeping. Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea: MUCHAS GRACIAS for housing our slam and serving us the most wonderful food and drink. And, of course, thank you to everybody who attended! You are our backbone, our absolute foundation of support. Without you, we wouldn’t have broken ANOTHER attendance and donation record, with the second consecutive standing-room-only audience, AND a total of $404 made in donations!

Congratulations to this month’s winners!

Overall Slam:

  1. Cecilia M.
  2. Louie V.
  3. Lydia H.

First Timers’ Slam:

  1. Anna C.

Our next slam is Saturday, November 15th! Same time, same place! Until then, check out these videos from our feature and winner!

Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, September 2014 (Season Kick Off)- Review

At the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam’s 2014-2015 Season Kick Off this past Saturday…

WE BROKE RECORDS!

With a crowd of over 100 that went all the way to the very back of Bentley’s, eight first-timers,  AND a whopping $500 funded in donations, we made history, and it’s all thanks to YOU!

We started it all off with a workshop run by our feature, Marc David Pinate, a national slam champion and now a local theater artist. Marc led our poets in a free write exercise before having them read and analyze the poem You Bring Out the Mexican in Me by Sandra Cisneros, followed by more writing.  Marc’s feature after Round One was both hilarious and moving, tackling topics such as Spanish Mass and Rumi.

The season kicked off with eleven competing poets, and each one of them spilled their heart across that stage. Poems about science, racism, mediums, the definition of “real problems”, and so much more! Bentley’s was full of snaps, claps and cheers! To keep our energy going, DJ Queue and DJ Jira-Soul spun the coolest mixes thru the night.

The September slam was a full-blown example of what community is about and what it does. We here at TYPS are so grateful for each and every one of our supporters. We thank Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea for staying open late and allowing so many people to come in. Thank you to our volunteers who video, keep time and score. As always, we show great gratitude to everyone who attended in full force! Your donations are appreciated and your support is what keeps this youth space growing.

Congratulations to this month’s winners!

Overall slam:

 

  1. Cecilia M.

  2. Eva S.

  3. Lydia H.

 

First timer’s slam:

 

  1. Bryce P.

 

Our next slam will be on Saturday, October 18th! Same time, same place. Hope to see you there! In the meantime, check out this video from our winner!

2014-2015 Season Kickoff!

Saturday, September 20th!

Our fourth season (!) kicks off in a big way on Saturday, September 20th at Bentley’s. This is the perfect opportunity for new poets to get involved and for experienced poets to bring new work. Poet, director, and performer Marc David Pinate will be in the house!

Hosted by Araceli Montaño (TYPS Program Coordinator) and Logan Phillips (Codirector, Spoken Futures) Sat. 9/20. 5pm workshop, 7pm poetry slam. Open to all. Free (donations accepted). Bentley’s House of Coffee & Tea 1730 E Speedway Blvd.

Please help us spread the word!

  1. Personally invite a poet you know, or just someone who would like to hear some amazing spoken word.
  2. Join the Facebook Event.
  3. Forward this email.
  4. You can download the poster here.
  5. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram.
  6. Join the TYPS Facebook Group.

Not to be missed!

Poem for Michael Brown, Written by Tucson Youth Poetry Slam

To Mike Brown’s parents,
our condolences.

Rest In Power
Michael Brown

The media says they are dropping the truth on us like it’s a case of bombs,

when in fact,
the bombs are still in the media’s hands.
They brought out a whole new war tool:
lies

that make your eyes burn,
falseness
that cuts off your oxygen.

White washed is the journalism
covering black revolution.

We all saw the news
colored hands reaching for the sky
don’t shoot.

Killed by a man whose job is to protect and serve
failed to serve
made no efforts to protect.

Excuses flood the why
people ask “why are you so angry?”
as if the askers don’t read
don’t see the “no, don’t shoot”
don’t see others not being treated like human beings.

As if being human is an error
an excuse for a trigger.

Let’s go back to the beginning,
the one we often seem to forget,
the one we keep in the past,
but keeps on repeating history itself.

Mike Brown is not the past.

He is now.
like
every
boy
and
girl
before
him.

Mike’s name in every mouth,
presente.

Hear our cry for justice
rain
down,
mend broken bonds
humanity’s hum
in our eardrums.

Society
can treat us
less than human.
To deal with pain, trauma, loss of life
you have to become
more than human.

We stand in solidarity with Mike Brown, his family and all of Ferguson.
May our noise,
our yells,
our protest of this inhumanity
be heard
from Tucson to Ferguson.

With love,
Tucson Youth Poetry Slam

Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, July 2014- Review

July Summer Slam Packed!

For the July Summer Slam, TYPS held its first ever Costume Slam! Check out the videos to see all the amazing and creative costumes and the poetry that went along with it.  If you missed it, here is a rundown of the night:

Hosts Alexia V. and Gabi G. led an amazing writing workshop, followed by a community meeting where poets talk about how they are involved in the community and help to make decisions for upcoming slams. Then Alexia and Gabi led us into an evening full of energy and creativity!

The July slam had 10 competing poets, half of which were first timers! Poets were able to gain an extra half a point on their scores if they were in costume. Whether a poet was reading a persona poem, or just something they were working on at the time, they brought Bentley’s an out-of-this-world energy!

Big thank you’s to our volunteers: videographer, timekeeper, and scorekeeper, as well as TYPS Coordinator Araceli for both live-tweeting AND DJ-ing! As always, we are incredibly thankful to our venue, Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea, for staying open late for us and being lovely as ever.

Congrats to this month’s winners!

Overall slam:

1. Lydia H.
2. Zoe K.
3. Eva S.

First timer’s slam:

1. Leena G.

Our very last summer slam of 2014 will be AUGUST 16TH! The theme will be: DUET SLAM, as suggested in our community meeting! Come with a partner to spit some poems with, OR come by yourself and we’ll pair you up with someone!

Enjoy this video from our July Slam winner!

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