VerbQuake Youth Poetry Slam is a teen performing arts program. It is critical literacy. It is reading everyday life as text. It is treating revision as sharpening blades. It is liberation from labels. It is refusing the master’s tools or using them to tear down old frameworks. It is a platform for ideas. It is a safe space. It is a brave space. It is an open space. It is an honest mirror for a delusional region. It is marginalizing celebrations of normal and normalizing celebration of the marginal. It is sport for wordsmiths. It is the chess of grammar. It is the gauge of social distance, the science of collapsing personal space, and the art of making those technical processes awesome. It is self-advocacy. It is self-determination. It is self as a part of community. It is voices found and humanity affirmed.
It is VerbQuake.
In our 6th season, we are proud to serve youth poets from the following high schools:
- Carnahan High School of the Future, 2013 Individual Slam Champion
- Central Visual and Performing Arts
- Collinsville High School
- Grand Center Arts Academy, 2016 Grand Slam Champion
- Hazelwood West 2015 & 2014 Individual Slam Champion
- Jennings High School
- John F. Kennedy High School
- Kirkwood, 2014 & 2015 Grand Slam Champion, 2016 Individual Slam Champion
- Metro High School
- Normandy High School
- Northwest High School (Cedar Hill)
- Parkway North
- Marquette High School
- University City High School
- Sumner High School
- Gateway STEM Academy, 2012 & 2013 Grand Slam Champion
Invited High Schools
- Northwest High School (St. Louis)
- McCluer South Berkeley
- Riverview Gardens
High school teens are exposed to critical literacy through poetry slams (performance poetry competitions) and prepared to showcase their work in our annual VerbQuake Festival. UrbArts offers VerbQuake without cost to all high schools and provides professional development as well as stipends to teachers willing to coach poetry slam. For the sixth, season VerbQuake will serve 16 high schools, coach over 100 youth poets, and host performances for more than 1,000 teens. UrbArts will send the top four teens from the season to represent Saint Louis at Louder Than A Bomb in Chicago and Brave New Voices in San Francisco.