Six finalists will go on to represent Houston at the international youth slam, Brave New Voices this summer. Aldine ISD’s Shunn Brown from Nimitz HS is one of the poets comprising Writers In the Schools (WITS) Meta-Four Houston team.
Now in it’s 21st year, Brave New Voices, hosted by Youth Speaks, brings together the most outstanding and outspoken youth poets from around the world for five days of workshops, slams, showcases, community service and civic participation events.
Brave New Voices presents platforms for young people to share their stories and speak their hopes and dreams about the contemporary realities of their everyday lives. This year, 500 young poets will bring the noise to the festival. According to the WITS website, the international event will take place in Chicago July 18-21.
Shunn earned the spot after competing in the Space City Grand Slam poetry finals in April at Discovery Green. The competition was organized by WITS.
Houston area students previously took part in five preliminary competitions. The top performers in each preliminary were selected by a panel of judges to participate in the semi-finals and Grand Slam competition. The young poets compete in two rounds and must perform a different poem for each round.
The poems are original works created by the students, which they can recite or read from a hard copy or reading device. The rules are strict with no props allowed other than what they are wearing and what is on the stage (i.e. microphone, stands, table). The poets also only have three minutes to perform each poem.
Past team members have gone on to achieve amazing things including receiving college scholarships internships, and becoming creative forces in the Houston poetry scene.
Since 1983, WITS has worked with educators and professional writers to teach students creative writing, providing K-12 students with literary workshops and producing a culture of writers, storytellers and performers.
Director of Written Communication & Spanish Media
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