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American Teenagers Are Using Slam Poetry To Make Sense Of Trump

By in Huffington Post on June 19, 2017

By Priscilla Frank

Given the incessant pace of the internet, and the antics of the current presidential administration, staying up to date with American current events can be exhausting, if not harrowing.

Earlier this month, after former FBI director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, the web was buzzing with familiar hot takes and political predictions, mostly rehashing the same quotes and questions. A young poet by the name of Gordon Ip, however, packaged his take on the breaking news differently, breathing new life into yesterday’s news.

“Kushner, Flynn, where does the truth begin?” he said, words flowing with urgency and poise. “Suspicion in the wind, static in our sleep, demanding our dreams, unquestioned loyalty. Our country is full of ‘no questions, please.’”

Ip is a member of Get Lit, a troupe of young poets who make and perform slam poetry in and around Los Angeles. The nonprofit organization was launched by Diane Luby Lane in 2006 as an effort to increase literacy among elementary, middle and high school students through spoken word.

It’s working. Compared to the 77 percent graduation rate of students in the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest in the nation, 98 percent of all Get Lit Players graduate and go to college ― with 70 percent earning some sort of scholarship.

Slam poetry, or spoken word, is part creative writing, part performance, a means to finding your voice and expressing it ― loudly.

“Working with young people, it feels like you’re helping to shape someone’s idea of themselves,” Lane told HuffPost. “Young people are so open, their lives can go so many different directions. There are so many young people that are artists, writers, performers, who don’t know what to do with their talent. […]    

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