Some of the best young poets in Kent County will be performing at the Summer Poetry Pop-Up Show on Aug. 25 at 5 p.m. at the Outside Coffee Company, at 734 Wealthy St. SE. More than 20 students representing 10 schools will participate in the show next too Woosah Outfitters.
The Pop-Up Show is organized by The Diatribe, which is a Grand Rapids nonprofit performing arts organization that works with hundreds of students at nearly 30 schools across Kent County. It uses performing arts to empower young people to share their stories, raise awareness of social issues and be active members of their community.
“We will showcase some of the bravest and most talented young writers in our city,” said Marcel Fable Price, The Diatribe executive director. He should know: Price is also the Grand Rapids poet laureate.
The Diatribe held a nine-week workshop this summer for its 30 most-promising students to hone their slam poetry skills. They came from Union High School to Kelloggsville, Byron Center to Grandville, and Crossroads Alternative to Wellspring Prep. Participants represented different races, social classes and varying gender identities.
The best 20 poets were selected to perform at the Pop-Up Show. They include a teen from Northview High School who read a poem about gentrification this summer that left the program leaders gasping. Another student performed a piece about school dress codes and toxic masculinity that floored the workshop attendees.
“Jayanna has a poem called ‘Dear Landlord,’ and Na’Ryah has a poem called ‘This Neighborhood of Mine’ that will break you down and pull you back together,” noted Price. “All of these students are incredible.”
After the show, five students will be selected to perform at The Grand Showcase at Fountain Street Church in October. They will have the chance to perform with nationally recognized slam poets such as Andrea Gibson, T. Miller and Siaara Freeman at what will be the most significant poetry showcase in the city’s history.
“These students show up to every class, show out at every class and truly went above and beyond in our programming all year,” said Price. “Poetry is a form of radical expression that can not only provide a release but can also help others heal along the way.”
The Aug. 25 Summer Poetry Pop-Up Show is a free event. Audience members can support the artists by donating to The Diatribe’s school programs.
*Photos courtesy of The Diatribe