From Zero to One Hundred and Fifteen! The Tucson Youth Poetry Slam Celebrates its First Season

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.


Many more videos are available at:

Poetry slam is a proven point of entry into the wider world of the literary arts, and it has never been more accessible to Tucson teens as it is right now.

The TYPS will celebrate the end of its first season with the First Annual Tucson Youth Poetry Slam Championship, Saturday April 30th, 3-5pm at the Poetry Center. The event is free to the public and is part of the Poetry Center's Young At Art Festival. The featured poet will be Roger Bonair-Agard, one of the most highly regarded figures of the national poetry slam movement. For more information, please visit:

Created on: 
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Arizona Board of Regents