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Young poets ‘slam’ to express themselves

Chelsea Jones | 12/2/2013, 2:12 a.m.
Members of the Fort Worth National Youth Slam Team. Mike Guinn Entertainment

Youth could submit material written during the workshop for selection to compete in the poetry slam. Impossible Possibilities’ board of directors and Guinn reviewed all poem submissions and selected the top 15 entries.

Students chosen to participate had to recite two of their best poems within three minutes. They could deliver poems that explored any topic but could not use profanity.

Five judges were chosen from the audience and scored contestants based on the content of their poem, originality and presentation. Each judge gave each participant a score ranging from 0.1 to 9.9. The seven contestants with the highest scores after round one advanced to round two for the chance to claim the “Sik’ Lik” championship.

Dillon Youngblood won the competition. Deion Hightower came in second place and Daasia Montgomery came in third.

Youngblood recited two poems entitled 18 and Gone and Dustpans and Thimbles. Following the death of his best friend, Youngblood was inspired to write 18 and Gone, which is a poem about an 18-year-old male who went drinking and driving and killed someone.

“I was hoping that people would understand the seriousness of drinking and driving and that it’s better to call people and just not do it,” Youngblood explained in discussing the poem’s message.

He wrote his other poem, which is about a 10-year-old boy working in a sweatshop in Taiwan, after learning about child labor in class. When asked how he felt while performing, Youngblood replied, “I was nervous, but I was confident in what I was saying.”

After Youngblood learned that he had won first place, he remarked that he felt the audience appreciated what he had written and comprehended what he was trying to convey. Youngblood, 15, says that he has been writing poetry since he was 11 years old and plans to continue writing.

Each of the poetry slam contestants received a “Sik’ Lik” T-shirt. Finalists obtained additional prizes, ranging from a Kindle Fire, Nook, iHome Doc 4, $100 iTunes gift card, $25 Target gift card, $15 Chipotle gift card, tickets to a Dallas Stars game, tickets to Holiday in the Park at Six Flags, a UTA hoodie and leather-bound journals.