RHD's Philly Youth Poetry Movement places second in Brave New Voices International Festival
7/27/2012 10:31:44 AM
Contact: Kevin Roberts, RHD Communications, 215-951-0300 (ext. 3714) or email@example.com
RHD’s Philly Youth Poetry Movement took second place in the 2012 Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam in San Francisco, advancing to the finals for the second year in a row. PYPM won the event last year, and two straight trips to the final stage is a great achievement for the poetry program – but the experiences for the youth who made the trip may be the best thing to come out of it.
“I personally feel like my life had been changed,” said PYPM port Gina. “It was beautiful watching the myriad of topics grace the stage and then sink into the souls of the audience. Witnessing the poets spit on the stage with fearless abandon filled an emptiness I’d had always felt unfulfilled. It’s as if all the poetry I heard yesterday was enough validation to convince me to stop avoiding the pen.”
The trip was Teila’s first time on a plane.
“The fact that I’ve met people from so many different areas and they show love like I’m from their home state reminds me that there are other places I can be besides Philadelphia and still be able to be comfortable,” Teila said. “It made me more confident to move away from the city that I’ve been in my whole life to make a new one and venture to college in a different area.”
The 2012 competition marked Safi’s last year on the team. She said the experience of being in that environment, from the workshops to the competition to the chance to meet and work with the best young poets in the country, is freeing in a way that will stay with her forever.
“One of the things I have grown to love about BNV is the minute you get there, the air seems easier to breathe,” Safi said. “Whatever was happening before that week was put to the side, and for that week you are loved by people who ask no questions, make very little judgment and connect with you on a level you have found rare anywhere else.
“I think the experience is irreplaceable. Each year I learn. I fall in love. I get free. I write. I grow. There isn’t a place safer to do it.”
More than a competition, Brave New Voices is an opportunity for Philadelphia youth to meet other youth poets and leaders from around the world, while participating in workshops, lectures, conferences, and other events that promote youth voice and leadership. Brave New Voices will be held from July 17-21.
The Philly Youth Poetry Movement has a long history with Brave New Voices, sending a team each year since 2006; clinching its first championship in 2007. In 2009, the PYPM Youth Slam Team was featured as HBO covered the festival in “Russell Simmons Presents: Brave New Voices.”
Check out videos of some of PYPM's performances here: