On April 18th, 2015, Northside-based nonprofit UrbArts awarded Kirkwood’s High School poetry slam team K-Word with a second VerbQuake team championship during the organizations fourth annual youth poetry slam tournament. K-Word scored 112 points out of 120 possible.
Unlike previous champions, K-Word will represent the St. Louis region at an international youth poetry slam entitled Brave New Voices Festival to be held in Atlanta, Georgia this July. Joining the team champion will be Erielle Jones, a senior at Hazelwood West and VerbQuake’s 2015 Indie Championship, and Charles McGill, a senior at Jennings High School who placed second in the Indie Championship Final. K-Word poets Euphone’, Anna, Ronnie, and Mary comprise the team’s core. Given the regional composition, VerbQuake will serve as the name for the Urb Arts sponsored youth team.
The VerbQuake team performed at the 2015 African Arts Festival among other events in preparation for Brave New Voices.th and at the Word X Fest following the 4th annual Spoken Word Expo in Old North on July 11th.
Two members of the team experienced their first radio interview on the KDHX Literature for the Halibut podcast at KDHXtra.
K-Word’s sponsor is Kirkwood High School’s Dominic Pioter. Poetry slam veteran Freeman Word served as their coach. Both will accompany the VerbQuake team to Brave New Voices.
Jennings High School’s Misfits placed second, scoring 111 points. Hazelwood West’s Slamcats placed third, Grand Center Arts Academy’s Poetic Soulz placed fourth, Carnahan High School of the Future’s Déjà Vu placed fifth and McCluer High School’s McWord placed sixth.
Grants from Missouri Arts Council, Regional Arts Commission, and Deaconess Foundation funded VerbQuake Youth Poetry Slam for the 2015 season.