Marquette Youth Poets Sweep 2019 VerbQuake Finals

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Sarah Abbas and her Marquette High School teammates, Ella Woods and Megha Sanjay, swept the VerbQuake 2019 Youth Poetry Slam finals winning the team and individual championships in March.

Known as Beauty & the Beats within the St. Louis Youth Poetry Slam community, much of their fiery content revealed careful consideration of social identity as a response to societal problems such as religious intolerance and sexism.

Sarah, a sophomore at Marquette, is the first youth poet to win championships as a member of a team and as an individual poet in VerbQuake tournament history. She will join a new team of poets this summer, including Marquette alumni member and 2017 St. Louis Youth Poet Laureate Zack Lesmeister, who will represent the Greater St. Louis area when UrbArts is accepted into its fifth Brave New Voices International Poetry Slam Festival.

The next season of UrbArts Youth Poetry Slam will begin after Labor Day this September as youth poets apply to be the next Youth Poet Laureate of St. Louis. Schools and youth poets are welcome to join the St. Louis Youth Poetry Movement by emailing [email protected]

Marquette High School teacher Shelly Justin served as the coach for Beauty & the Beats. UrbArts Youth Poetry Slam and VerbQuake are made possible with support from the Regional Arts Commission and Missouri Arts Council.

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