In the midst of a coronavirus outbreak, Tri-Valley residents often feel trapped within their own homes, forced to confront the despair and the anxiety of a global pandemic on a day-to-day basis. Although citizens are separated by facial masks and closed doors, some residents are finding unique ways to bring the community together. Pleasanton’s Teen Poet Laureate Kanchan Naik is hosting the city’s very first virtual Poetry Slam, a safe way to spread love for creative writing. The slam is open to all teenagers from the Tri-Valley, including both middle and high school. Students may compete in two different categories: original, where they share poems that they’ve written; and interpretive, where students perform/interpret work from a poet of their choice. After submitting their work via a private youtube link, these submissions will be evaluated by judges from the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council, Tri-Valley Writers, and the City of Pleasanton.
The event provides young poets a platform to express themselves and get inspired by other writers. They will also be joined by the event’s virtual Guest of Honor: Teen Esteem, an organization dedicated to educating and empowering students. A slam offers a sense of community identity that is painfully necessary during these difficult times, as teenagers get a chance to be vulnerable and reflective in their writing. As stated by the Teen Poet Laureate herself, “The point of the slam is to put your own personal touch on poetry. When I see a performance that really moves me, I can visibly feel the emotion and the power of the poet. I don’t honestly need to hear a poem that is flowery and intricate, but the rawness and sheer transparency in the words is what matters the most. ”
Being cornered at home takes its mental and physiological toll, and the best way to fight back is to channel emotion through a creative outlet. For more information and registration details, click here! Spread the word among friends and family by sharing the flyer above via social media!