As TruArtSpeaks celebrates its 15th anniversary, the organization’s annual Be Heard MN Youth Poetry Slam series will once again convene youth poets (virtually) from around the state to tell their stories, share their art, and build community with one another.
While 2021 has already been another year of pandemic, violence, and crisis, it has also been a year of activism, mutual aid, and young people coming into their power, using their voices and perspectives to call for meaningful change. Be Heard has always been a platform not just for youth to share their art, but to do the deeper work of self-reflection, authentic listening, and community-building, and that work is more important than ever right now.
Poets between the ages of 13 and 19, with a Minnesota address, can register to slam now at TruArtSpeaks.org. At the kickoff event on April 23, registered poets will share their work in breakout mini-slams, and receive scores from panels of professional poets, educators, and activists; the top scoring poets will move on to Finals on April 30. As always, the spirit of the poetry slam is that the point is not to get high scores for high scores’ sake; rather, it is to strive to create work that connects with an audience, perform it powerfully, and speak your truth. It is also about listening, and the personal growth that comes from truly hearing others’ stories.
One thing that hasn’t changed: when this year’s Be Heard series is over, the top six poets will form a cohort that will represent Minnesota for the next year, engaging in in-depth professional and artistic development opportunities, as well as performances, this summer and beyond.