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Poetry workshops seek high school-age writers

staff report • Mar 18, 2013 at 9:09 AM

KingsportARTS, Tennessee College Access and Success Network, ETSU, and Southern Word have partnered to present spoken word poetry workshops, a performance, and a slam in the Tri-Cities area March 27-28.

The Tennessee College Access and Success Network has recently identified Southern Word's program as an exemplary model. Southern Word has been working in Middle Tennessee with comprehensive high schools, top magnet schools, charter schools, suburban schools and rural schools to build writing and presentation skills through contemporary models of literacy and student-centered curriculum.

Southern Word is looking for high schools in the Tri-Cities area that want to partner on the Creatively College Bound workshop, a showcase performance, and slam on March 28 by sending high school writers to KingsportARTS at the Kingsport Renaissance Center, 1200 E. Center St., to participate in this day-long learning experience. This day is free to participants and will be limited to 40 students. Students must bring their own lunch.

Southern Word provides relevant models for literacy that provide context for classroom learning. Through the program, writer mentors model dynamic use of language through spoken word poetry and then teach the fundamentals of the art form.

The Creatively College Bound program is geared towards high school juniors and seniors who want their creative, critical voice to soar over the tedium of the college application process. Powerful poems, life experiences, and visual arts are used as starting points for writing exercises that are reworked into essays that meet and surpass the expectations of the admissions essay-prompts.

Young poets developed through Southern Word's programs have been receiving standing ovations all over Nashville including the Tennessee State Senate, Davidson County Board of Education, Tennessee Performing Arts Center, and the statewide Child Advocacy Day. Participating students will witness powerful pieces delivered by the top young spoken word artists in the state.

Students will also have the option of participating in the Mid South Grand Slam Semifinal. Southern Word is holding semifinal events in Shelby, Davidson, Rutherford, Williamson, and Sumner Counties to determine who will advance to the statewide final. This day will be the sole opportunity for youth from East Tennessee to be a part of this growing statewide celebration of student potential.

A slam is a competitive performance poetry competition in which five Olympic-style judges score performers zero to 10 based on the power of their writing and their performance.

While the slam is a competition, the culture is one in which the audience cheers on every writer in the hope of hearing powerful messages and seeing a young person succeed. The winner competes at a statewide final at Tennessee State University, in Nashville, for the opportunity to attend the national slam festival in Chicago. Writers must prepare a piece which is three minutes or less to compete.

Learn more at southernword.org.

Please respond to KingsportARTS@gmail.com and benjamin@southernword.org with interest.

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