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The Poetry Center's Poet-in-Residence Logan Phillips recites "Eagle Poem," by Joy Harjo, on November 19th as a part of the Poetry Out Loud Professional Development session for teachers. We encourage teachers and students to view and use these as an example of a strong recitation when preparing for the National Poetry Out Loud competitions at the school, regional, and state levels.
by Logan Phillips
We always suspected that it would be a success, but we had no idea just how successful it would be. This year, the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam (TYPS) went from non-existence to a monthly attendance of over 115 people. In total, over 50 poets from 10 different high schools have participated.
But more important than the numbers--either these statistics or the scores given by the judges during the slam--is the fact that for the first time a city-wide community has formed of youth interested in poetry and spoken word. During the last two slams of the season, we noticed that participants began to care a lot less about what school they were representing and a lot more about the TYPS both as an event and as a movement. The poets show a genuine will to improve not only their performance skills but also the breadth of their poetic abilities.
Here is a poem from April's winner, Enrique Garcia, 15.
by Logan Phillips
Logan Phillips is a bilingual writer, performer and transdisciplinary artist from the Arizona / Mexico borderlands. Born in Tombstone, AZ in 1983 to a family of Irish-Slavic decent, he holds a B.A. in Spanish from Northern Arizona University. Phillips was a professor of Hispanic American Literature and translation at Universidad Internacional in Cuernavaca, Mexico before dedicating himself full-time to artistic endeavors. As a performer and poet, Phillips has toured throughout the US, Mexico and as far afield as Vancouver, Paris, Bogota, and Penzance, England. He also works as a freelance journalist and is author of five poetry chapbooks including Arroyo Ink, published in 2009.
In 2007 Phillips co-founded the binational multimedia performance group Verbo•bala Spoken Video, which was described by national Mexican newspaper La Reforma as "going for a poetry written without letters." When not touring, Phillips splits his time between Arizona and Mexico City. More can be found at dirtyverbs.com. Author Photo by Elena Zinchenko.
A Moment Out of Time
It was a Friday afternoon in 2008 when my fellow performance poets Jasmine Cuffee, Carlos Contreras and I were performing for a crowd of over 700 students at Buena High School in Sierra Vista, Arizona.