FW: How is poetry an effective way of reaching young people?
TB: Poetry, especially spoken word, is exciting and can be new each time. Young people love things they feel are their own. Poetry is your own and spoken word allows you to say whatever you want and do whatever you want. It teaches discipline as well throughout all of the competitions. At Urban Word no one harbors bad feelings if we lose a slam. I tried for two years to get on the teen slam team and missed the deadline this year to participate. I’m 19 so now I’m no longer eligible to try out. We support each other in the slams and create bonds that last longer than a three-minute poetry round.
FW: Who are some of your favorite modern day poets?
TB: My favorite poets are those underground poets I met doing open mics and traveling doing spoken word. A few of my favorite poets have come together as a movement called Writer’s Block. They have a poetry showcase and party once every few months that is just out of this world. Their names are RIP MC, Kesed, Falu, Jason Reynolds, Soulful Jones, and Aja-Monet.
FW: What do you love most about your experience with Urban Word?
TB: I definitely love all of the young people who I’ve met who have similar mindsets as my own. I’ve really created bonds and friendships that I know will last years. Urban Word continues to help out teens who are in transition from the inner city streets to college, and although I am already in college and am a little old for most of the opportunities and help Urban Word gives, it is still an exciting home for me when I participate in or support their events. It gives me clarity and a breath of fresh air each time.