CLEVELAND, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Poetry, for most of us, is something our ninth grade English teacher made us write and read. But poetry has been a part of our history dating back four thousand years.
Topics range from love to loss. It has the power to move us to tears and inspire us to take action. Now, the spotlight is on the power of performance poetry as young people take center stage, hoping to spark a spoken word movement.
On a cold day in January, Amanda Gorman woke many of us up to the power of poetry.
“I think poetry gives me a really healthy outlet to get to explore my own feelings,” Kai Gyorki, 17-years-old, said.
“It has become less of just like an escape and more of a way to like voice what I feel.” Raja Belle Freeman, 22-years-old, shared.
“Poetry is kind of like, for me, it's connected to my emotions,” Tiyana Williams, 18-years-old, acknowledged.
Kai, Tiyana, and Raja use literary arts to bring light on issues important to them.
Hundreds of emerging poets have come to 12 Literary Arts in Cleveland, a non-profit that offers a safe space to write, practice, and perform.
“12 does so much for the intellect and stretching young minds,” Gyorki exclaimed.
“Words, mean very specific things. And you have to be aware of the language that you choose to use to communicate,” Eric Odum, youth program coordinator at 12 Literary Arts, expressed.
Through poetry they self-reflect, look at their community, and expand their knowledge of the world.
Odum articulated, “Poetry is one of the, one of the most raw forms that you can kind of get what's happening out on the streets.”
Advice for beginners, just start writing. The more you do it, the better you will become.
“Just stick with it, don't stop creating,” commented Freeman.
“To be willing to take a risk on yourself, what is your voice,” vocalized Odum.
12 Literary Arts provides literary arts instruction and leadership development to elementary and high school aged youth while offering an expanded slate of programming to adult artists including open mic nights, fellowship programs, and residency programs.
To find a literary arts group and other poets to connect to consider using Power Poetry, Poets.org, Gotham Writers, and The Poetry Foundation.
These resources offer many free writing courses and will help connect you to other poets online and in your area.