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Published:June 7th, 2010 21:22 EST
Connecticut National Youth Poetry Slam Team Conducts Seminar and Performance for Sacred Heart University

Connecticut National Youth Poetry Slam Team Conducts Seminar and Performance for Sacred Heart University

By Jennifer L. Hernandez

The serenity of the beaches of Bridgeport, CT, located on the Long Island Sound, is contrasted by the tumultuous waves reverberated in an urban setting. Harding High School sits amidst this urban setting in Bridgeport and stories of violence and hurt crash upon each other daily.

Faced with insurmountable odds, individuals may sometimes retreat into their environment or become keen observers of it and create ways to transcend their circumstances. Meet three individuals, from the Connecticut National Youth Poetry Slam Team, with the latter mission at heart: Sheena and Aprisha, former Harding High School students, and Tashi, current Harding High School student.

Armed with words at their sides, these poets weave intricate rhymes, melodies, imagery, and emotive language into verbal art that echoes the essence of the human condition.

They led an in-depth seminar paralleled by their performance of slam poetry at Sacred Heart University on May 27, 2010. The poets were invited by Professor Timothy Leonard, education professor at Sacred Heart University, to bring poetry to life for his graduate students enrolled in Poetry in Education.

According to Tashi, a Poetry Slam is performance poetry that is performed in three rounds and judged by five judges. The judges are selected from the audience."

There is a strong emphasis on the performance aspect of poetry, which is something our poets know, all too well. In fact, the pressure of performance may unnerve even the most confident individual.

The poets have experienced instances of forgetting lines during a performance. Aprisha indicated that many poets are able to extemporaneously add lines without the audience noticing.

Aprisha blames me when she forgets her lines, " stated Sheena. Aprisha and Sheena, looked at each other and broke into uproarious laughter.

The humor signaled a strong camaraderie and support among the poets, who began writing poetry at young ages.

According to Sheena, she began writing poetry at the age of 13 to get her feelings down on paper. I needed something to channel what I was thinking and feeling."

Aprisha and Tashi began in their early teenage years, as well. I couldn`t find a way to get out my thoughts and no one would listen, so I wrote, " added Aprisha.

I always wrote, but never liked to write, " stated Tashi.

One thing is for sure; their dedication to the written word has transformed these poets into experts and stars of slam poetry.

They will be performing, with their Connecticut National Youth Poetry Slam Team members, at the Nuyorican Café, in New York City, on June 27th for the Urban Word NYC Regional Teen Poetry Slam.

In addition, the team will compete in the 13th Annual Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival, in Los Angeles, during July 20 "24, 2010. The team is hosting a fundraiser for their competition in Los Angeles. The BBQ Lunch Fundraiser will take place on June 19, 2010 at the Rockville Moose Lodge Pavilion. The tickets are $12, if purchased in advance, or $15, if purchased at the door.

The Connecticut National Youth Poetry Slam Team exhibits the passion and conviction to make Connecticut proud in New York City and Los Angeles.

Sheena, Aprisha, and Tashi represented their team well. They also displayed the importance of giving students outlets for creativity and the infinite doors of opportunities that opens. This is a disposition that the graduate students will carry into their classrooms. In addition, they reflect the talent and intelligence of Bridgeport students. With their efforts, and the efforts of others, one day the serenity of Bridgeport`s beaches will embrace the city. Until then, one can, and should, take comfort in the power of words.

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