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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Dispatch from the Brooklyn Reads 2014 Poetry Contest

For the first time ever, BAM offered two Brooklyn high school students the opportunity to perform on the BAM Harvey Theater stage alongside some of today's most acclaimed spoken-word and hip-hop artists. And you, our audience, made the final call.

Contestants in the virtual slam that ran during April are all participants in Brooklyn Reads, a free program BAM runs with local schools that connects spoken-word artists with students in the classroom, teaching creative writing, literacy, and performance poetry. These 12 young people were chosen by their teachers and teaching artists, and are performing entirely original work.

All the contestants and their friends, family, and schools showed immense support and enthusiasm throughout and the contest, and we're thrilled to announce the winners:
  • Miana Vega, Grade 10, ACORN Community High School (audience selection)
  • Brandon Lambert, Grade 11, Brooklyn High School of the Arts (BAM selection)

We asked all the finalists to participate in a sort of Exquisite Corpse, each contributing a favorite line from their poem. You can see the results after the jump—and don't forget to check out all their videos!

They judge me as if we aren't the same

Like a left-handed boy in a sea of rightys, doing a stroke of your own

I am somebody. It's not that hard to feel right, what happened to the truth?
I am somebody only God can realize

Life for some is like a Dominican beach.

Born with skin marked by the demon's color because he was a sexual beast who consumed my ancestors' innocence
I'm so deep that my brain waves flow in ways to save society that get up each morning and move my feet so the kids outside won't be hopeless to eat.

We represent the energy of the waves that steady the boat from tipping over.

I'm starting to think that my head's in the sky, I'm surrounded by clouds.

That promise I'll keep forever like memories even though it's hard to remember.

Poetry 2014: Birth of a Hip-Hop Nation is next Friday, May 9. Details here.

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