Teens Cover Prostitution, Parental Infidelity, Cancer — and Hope: Youth Speaks Poetry Slam Finals

It was a huge mistake to forget to bring tissues to the Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam Grand Slam Finals over the weekend at Nob Hill Masonic Auditorium. Expectations of being dazzled by the stunning wordplay and vocal deliveries made by the finalists were more than met, the sentiment echoed by snaps ricocheting throughout the building.

Unforeseeable, however, was how moving and gut-wrenchingly honest the overwhelming majority of the poems would be, as kids around age 16 revealed unimaginable personal stories of conflict and violence. Of the 13 competing, five will advance to the 15th Annual Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival on July 17-21.

The students' unflinching presentations embodied the motto of the spoken word education nonprofit: “Because the next generation can speak for itself.”

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