Tucson Youth Poetry Slam

The young voices of Southern Arizona

Author: Lydia Havens (page 2 of 4)

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!

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!

Tucson Youth Poetry Slam- Fourth Annual All City Championships- Review

AMAZING.

It’s the only word to accurately describe the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam’s All City Championships. What a great way to end the 2013-14 season! We couldn’t have had such a spectacular season without YOU, our supporters.

The 4th Annual Championship took place Saturday, April 26th at the Gallagher Theatre at the University of Arizona. Eleven youth poets took the mic and over 150 audience members cheered them on. Poets educated us on everything from war, heritage, growing up, first loves, plane crashes, being tall to drug addiction and religion vs. science. Add into the mix Enrique reading

from his book, Tortoise Boy Says and the incredible featured poet, Yosimar Reyes from San Jose with poems about growing up undocumented and ideas of revolutionary love—the power of poetry never stopped!

The Championships were full of new and exciting additions as well. We had our first group of guest judges who are 5 deeply talented members of the Tucson community. Many thanks to Leilani Clark, Marc David Piñate, Tyler Meier, Maria Moore and Ana Rodriguez for keeping the judging on point!

Also new was the Spark Plug Award given to a community member who goes above and beyond their support of Spoken Futures and youth voice. This year’s award recipient was Mr. Kurt Fischer, a long time supporter of TYPS programming at Sunnyside High School!

Thank you from the bottom and top of our hearts to everyone who slammed, who supported, who bought t-shirts/books and made donations and all our volunteers who make an event like this possible. We are moved by your generosity.

To our Spoken Futures Staff—we are beyond proud of your accomplishments! Big props to Ara, Zack, Enrique, Alexia, Lydia and Jose for your countless hours of volunteer work.

Finally…..drum roll please…..your Tucson Youth Poetry Slam 4th Annual Championship poets!

  1. Jose M. (1st place)
  2. Eva S.
  3. Estefania G.
  4. Jackie F.
  5. Lydia H. (2nd place)
  6. Zoe K.
  7. Jesus G.
  8. Antonio H.
  9. Valerie V. (3rd place)
  10. Gabi G.
  11. Maria G.

See you at the summer slams!

 —Sarah and Logan

(with contributions from Lydia, resident TYPS blogger!)

Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, April 2014- Review

And that is (almost) a wrap. On Saturday, we had our very last slam of the season before the Championships, and now, it is immensely clear that the TYPS knows how to bring down a coffee house!

This month, we were joined by the lovely Amy Juan, our feature who came to us from Sells, Arizona. During the workshop, Amy performed a beautiful traditional Tohono O’odham song, and got us writing about the music that is important to us. In her feature, she shared poems about growing up on a reservation near the border of Mexico that left us breathless.

In the slam itself, we had 16 poets, which included four first-timers! The final round came down to only two poets, in a showdown that brought tons of energy. DJ Jira Sol came back to share even more awesome tunes between performances, and our friend and supporter Leon De la Rosa was able to share two poems with us in “farewell”, as he prepares to return back home to Mexico.

We had an absolutely amazing season, and it would not have been possible without Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea, who have stayed open late for us since the very beginning. We must also thank those who have volunteered to be timekeeper, scorekeeper, and videographer at each slam (a special shout out to Samantha Keeter, who has been timekeeper for us at every slam since January!). And of course, we must thank YOU, our audience, our supporters, who make TYPS possible!

Congratulations to this month’s winners!

Overall slam:

  1. Eva S.
  2. Jose M.

First-timer’s slam:

  1. Jhenitza R.

 

REMINDER: This Saturday, April 26, is our Fourth Annual Championships! It is an afternoon you do NOT want to miss, with 15 young poets signed up to participate, and our feature, Yosmiar Reyes, who is coming to us all the way from California! This all goes down at 1:30 at the Gallagher Theatre at the University of Arizona (1303 E University Blvd.), and you NEED to get there early. It’s going to be packed!

Check out this video from our feature!

 

Tucson Youth Poetry Slam- April 2014- Feat. Amy Juan!

THIS IS IT! Spring is our most exciting time of the TYPS season! Our last slam before the championships on April 26th! Poets, don’t miss out on practicing your poems! Audience, don’t miss out on some mind-blowing poetry! This month we have an amazing feature from Sells, Arizona repping the Tohono O’odham Nation, Amy Juan, who you do not wanna miss! Back for her second time as a DJ, be ready for the jams provided by DJ Jirasol! Everything is just around the corner! Get excited and don’t miss out!

Reminder: Sign-ups for the TYPS Championships will close after the slam on April 19th! Limited spots are available, so sign up ASAP!

SATURDAY APRIL 19th!

SLAM WORKSHOP & Volunteer Meeting: 5:00-6:30pm
Taught by: Amy Juan

POETRY SLAM: 7:00-9:30pm, signup at 6:30
Hosted by ENRIQUE GARCIA AND ZACK TAYLOR!
Featured poets: AMY JUAN!

At BENTLEY’S 1730 E Speedway
near the UofA, across from McDonald’s, extra parking behind the building and in the UA lot on Cherry & Speedway.

A little about our feature:

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Amy Juan is a daughter of the Tohono O’odham Hemajkam, a lover of the stars and traditional O’odham
music. Her community involvement began in the feast houses baking bread with her grandma and currently exists in O’odham Rights and Sovereignty in resistance to Border Militarization, Traditional Foods, and Culture and Language revitalization. She has featured poetry in the Tohono O’odham Nation Cultural Center and Museum, Tribal College Journal and throughout her community in which she shares experiences on “The Rez”, the O’odham way of life and messages of empowerment.

http://www.TucsonYouthPoetrySlam.org/
http://www.youtube.com/user/TucsonYouthSlam
For more information: info@TucsonYouthPoetrySlam.org

The Tucson Youth Poetry Slam (TYPS) is made possible in part by generous support from: Bentley’s House of Coffee & Tea, The Crossroads Collaborative, Womens Foundation of Southern Arizona & UNIDAS, Tucson Pima Arts Council.

 

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