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Young poets ‘slam’ to express themselves

Chelsea Jones | 12/2/2013, 2:12 a.m.
Young poets competed for prizes at Impossible Possibilities’ third annual youth poetry slam on Nov. 9 in the Moudy Auditorium ...
Members of the Fort Worth National Youth Slam Team. Mike Guinn Entertainment

The Dallas Examiner

Young poets competed for prizes at Impossible Possibilities’ third annual youth poetry slam on Nov. 9 in the Moudy Auditorium at Texas Christian University.

The purpose of the poetry slam was to provide a space for students to exercise their creativity by sharing their poetry through spoken performance. Internationally recognized poet, Mike Guinn, hosted the event, which was free and open to the public.

Twin brothers Justin and Joshua Hernandez, who founded Impossible Possibilities, an organization whose mission is to inspire students through education, created the competition and named it “Sik’ Lik.” They explained that the name is short for “sick lyric.” In addition, they described that the word is the phonetic spelling of “cyclic” and is used to represent the cyclical nature of stories.

Guinn commented that this year’s theme, “Truth Be Told,” was meant to encourage youth to “come with that real stuff” and bare all honesty in their poetry.

He expressed why it was important for youth to participate in the event.

“It’s important that youth be a part of it because they need to know that they have a voice that is very powerful and that they have something to say. If we have more events like this where youth are given a platform to share their voices, then maybe there will be less bullying, teen pregnancy, date rape, molestation, child abuse, suicide and murder,” Guinn said.

Furthermore, he indicated the importance of the community supporting the youth.

“How are the youth going to feel like what they have to say is important if the community doesn’t come out and support? It gives what the youth have to say value whenever a grown-up or another youth is in the audience clapping and snapping for them. It says, ‘I support your voice. You are very powerful, and I listen to you, young man or young woman,’” Guinn said.

Guinn, who is also the founder of the Forth Worth National Poetry Slams, mentioned that the event was held at TCU in order to expose youth to the college experience. Middle school and high school students, ages 13 through 18, attending schools in Tarrant and Dallas counties – private, public or home school – could participate.

Before the competition, students had the opportunity to engage in a writing and performance workshop. Students taking part had to submit a completed event registration form to Impossible Possibilities by Oct. 25.

Students signing up for the competition had to submit an original poem along with their registration forms. However, students signing up for the workshop only, did not have to submit one.

Guinn, members of the Fort Worth National Poetry Slam Team and writing professionals from the DFW area facilitated the workshop. It was for youth who were new to spoken word as well as those with experience.

Its focus was to teach young poets and aspiring young poets about performance and writing techniques, literary devices and that poems do not have to rhyme.

“Mainly what we’re doing is building confidence. People write all the time. But people are not always motivated or confident that what they have to say, anybody would want to hear [it]. The workshop is meant to not only give them an opportunity in writing, but to let them know that [they] can go a step further and take it to the stage,” Guinn said.