Give the Gift of Poetry: Donate, Volunteer and Be Heard!

Be the Reason this Season of Be Heard Impacts Youth Across the State of MN: Donate Now

Every ending brings about a new beginning and the close of the year is no different. As we reflect on the significant social, political and arts based events of 2016 we make a major pivot towards one of the most inspiring events in our community, the Be Heard MN youth poetry slam series. Young people throughout the sate are sharpening their pencils, typing long into the evening and rehearsing diligently for the upcoming series in hopes to join the cohort of youth representing MN as the #BeHeard17 cohort.
 
Last but not least, not only did we expand our reach to include a preliminary bout in Duluth, MN, we have significantly restructured the program; six brilliant young writers will still attend Brave New Voices as representatives of the larger youth poetry community in MN while simultaneously serving as ambassadors in our local community under the mentorship of Khary Jackson and Kyra Calvert and the TruArtSpeaks team through the end of 2017. 
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Meet the Coaches! 

Kyra Crawford Calvert is a silver-tongued time traveler who catalogs the lessons of her navigation through script[ure]. Her soul-mission is to water the Seed of Divinity ever present in herself and her fellows, especially those with skin from crimson to midnight. Kyra is a 2016 Givens Foundation for African American Literature Writers’ Fellow and received the VERVE Grant for Spoken Word Poets via Intermedia Arts in 2014. Urban Griots nominated her ‘Best New Spoken Word Artist of the Year’ in 2008, and her essay work is featured in Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota. She also performs as DJ Black Fish Gold and can be heard on Desdamona’s latest record No Man’s Land.

Khary Jackson is a performance poet, playwright, dancer and musician.  A Detroit native, he currently resides in the Twin Cities where he serves as a teaching artist and writer.  He is a Cave Canem Fellow, and has further reasons to love black people.  He has written 12 full length plays, one of which (Water) was produced in 2009 at Ink and Pulp Theatre in Chicago.  He has been a recipient of several grants, including the 2010 Artist Initiative Grant for poetry from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the 2009 VERVE Spoken Word Grant from Intermedia Arts, and the Many Voices Residency from the Playwrights’ Center, in 2005-06 and 2007-08.  As a performance poet, he has enjoyed great success in national competition, ranking nationally in 2007, 2008 and 2009, as well as winning the National Poetry Slam with the St Paul team in 2009 and 2010.  But few of us really care about all that.  He’s a little weird, but rest assured, there’s a method to the way he stares into your house. ______________________________________________________________

Click here to make a tax deductible donation in support of #BeHeard17 and TruArtSpeaks ______________________________________________________________

Write to Be Heard is Happening Right Now!!! Be sure to stop by and warm your pens before the first preliminary bout. The internet phenom Guante will be leading each workshop, don’t miss your opportunity to learn from one of the greatest writers of our time!

The 3rd Annual Flip the Script Conference is just around the corner as well;Register Here!

Interested in volunteering e-mail info@truartspeaks.org

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Get Your #BeHeard17 Swag!

Order your swag early and get it for a reduced rate!

Hoodies: $35.00

T-Shirt: $15.00

Purchase Here
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Remember, #ReVerbOpenMic is on break until January 5th, 2017. See you all in the New Year!

 

This December: Free Writing & Performance Workshops for Teens!

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As #BeHeard17 approaches, TruArtSpeaks is offering a free workshop series for young poets looking to prepare.

Write to Be Heard is a spoken word workshop series for any young (13-19 years old) poets, MCs, or writers looking to refine their craft and build with other artists. Whether you’re a poetry slam vet wanting critical feedback on your newest piece, or someone who is just getting started in the world of spoken word, this opportunity is for you.

All workshops are free, and run from 4-6pm (note: Friday’s workshop will end at 5pm due to library building hours)

Themes/Topics:

  • Monday: Idea generation, perspective and truth-telling
  • Tuesday: Turning ideas into poems through the use of concrete language and specificity
  • Wednesday: Refining our imagery/ideas and challenging both ourselves and our audiences
  • Thursday: Revision: critical questions to ask
  • Friday: Performance tips, tools, and tactics

We hope to see you there! Feel free to email info@TruArtSpeaks.org with any questions.

It is Time to Be Heard – Register Now for the 5th Annual MN Youth Poetry Slam Series!

3b946b1d-70c1-43ba-8f7c-759bf3d9b83aRegistration for the 5th Annual Be Heard MN Youth Poetry Slam Series is Now Open!

For the past five years, TruArtSpeaks’ Be Heard MN Youth Poetry Slam Series has provided a platform for hundreds of youth poets to tell their stories and speak their truths to big, energetic audiences. As the country—and the state—head into uncertain times, it is more important than ever to hear these stories and listen to these perspectives.

Through a series of eight poetry slams, Be Heard seeks to identify six youth poets who will both represent Minnesota at the annual international Brave New Voices youth poetry slam and festival in San Francisco in summer 2017, and serve as the #BeHeard17 cohort for the duration of the year, receiving mentorship in writing, performing, and arts leadership.

While the competition element of the series represents an incredible opportunity for the top six poets, the series itself is set up as a space for everyone—from youth slam veterans, to first-timers, to the audience itself—to build community through art, present counter-narratives, and call into being the world in which we want to live.

The full schedule is below; interested poets (who must be between 13 and 19 years old, and have a Minnesota address) can register at www.TruArtSpeaks.org. All bouts begin at 7pm and are open to the public.

  • Preliminary bouts:
    • January 14 at the Black Dog Café in Saint Paul
    • January 21 at the American Indian Community Housing Organization in Duluth
    • January 28 at the SteppingStone Theater in Saint Paul
    • February 4 at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis
    • February 11 at the New Century Theater (Hennepin County Theater Trust) in Minneapolis
  • Semifinal bouts:
    • March 4 at Macalester College’s Kagin Commons Hill Ballroom in Saint Paul
    • March 11 at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis
  • Finals:
    • March 25 at the Walker Art Center’s McGuire Theater in Minneapolis

To register for the slam, click here. For additional inquiries, please contact info@TruArtSpeaks.org


Poets, prepare your pen and person for 912x912-write-to-be-heard-v2-tas-01#BeHeard17 with this series of FREE writing & performance centered workshops at the Minneapolis Central Library. This is your chance to work on concrete description, imagery, writing for social change, writing for performance, form, device and more with some of the Twin Cities’ most recognized slam poets!

No registration or sign up required. Just save the date, show up and be ready to BUST!


912x912-flip-the-script-digital-flyer-v2-tasSave the Date/Register Now: Flip the Script! is an annual writing and performance conference where poets between the ages of 13 and 19 engage with professional artists and arts organizers through workshops, panel discussions, community-building, and more. Presented by TruArtSpeaks, and co-sponsored by the Loft Literary Center, the conference’s third installment will be held on Sunday, February 19, 2017.

#FTS3 will feature leading voices in the national spoken word movement, including Danez Smith, Zhalarina Sanders, Donte Collins, Ed Bok Lee, Andrea Jenkins, Ollie Schminkey, R. Vincent Moniz Jr., Jake Virden, and Khary Jackson, as well as dozens of youth poets sharing their stories and sharpening each other’s skills. Register here!


Interested in supporting MN youth poets img_8962during #BeHeard17 by serving as a volunteer during one of the events? Email info@truartspeaks.org with your availability and join us as we power youth voice in Minnesota!

Judges, Time Keepers, Greeters and more are needed to make this series vibrant each year and we welcome you all to the cypher! Thank you in advance for helping us power the slam series – can’t wait to hear from each of you!


#ReVerbOpenMic is back up and running this week with a writing workshop to kick things off at Golden Thyme Cafe in Saint Paul! Be sure to stop by and share your creative genius with us before the end of 2016!


Our work would not be possible without the support of generous and committed arts, social justice and youth advocates like yourself. Thank you for all you do to support this movement. To continue support our work, #BeHeard17, #FTS3, or more, click here.


Be sure to stay connected with us via social media – @truartspeaks – on all platforms; See you all soon!

Now, More Than Ever, is the Time to Be Heard

be-heard-svtd-final-tasGet Ready: It is Time to Be Heard

Sharpen your swords and spread the word. The Be Heard MN youth poetry slam series has not only expanding geographically, but conceptually, and it kicks off this January. The 5th annual Be Heard series is bringing in two major changes:

  • A Duluth area preliminary bout
  • Not only will the six poets that advance from the final bout represent MN at Brave New Voices in San Francisco summer 2017, they will serve as the #BeHeard17 cohort for the duration of the year being mentored in writing, performance and arts leadership

Registration opens on December 1st, 2016 – slots fill quickly – so register fast. Rules, FAQs and additional info can be found on our website.

So, get ready, mark your calendars, tell a friend, share the link, form a writing circle and write a poem. If you are a young person between the ages of 13-19 this is your opportunity to tell your story. It is your opportunity to be heard.


Get ready to rip the mic; join us for the Write to 5x7-write-to-be-heard-flyer-back-v1-tasBe Heard writing and performance workshops over winter break.

Write to Be Heard is a free spoken word workshop series for any young poets, MCs, or writers looking to refine their craft and build with other artists. Open to youth between the ages of 13 and 19, this five-part workshop will offer tips, tools, and tactics related to turning ideas into poems, crafting memorable imagery, improving performance technique, and more. Whether you’re new to spoken word and just looking to dive in, or you’re an experienced writer looking to be challenged, Write to Be Heard will be a space for you to sharpen your skills and have some fun.

December 19 – December 23 (M-F) at the Minneapolis Central Library
Conference Room N-402

2-4pm


img_8545We look forward to seeing and speaking to you all this evening at the Guthrie Theater as we discuss the struggle for civil rights, American History and the future as told through the lens of Washburn High School’s Black Voices students and their eloquent response to Parchman Hour.

 


As you seek community, support, a space to listen and be reverb-end-of-2016-web-flierheard be sure to count #ReVerbOpenMic as a reoccurring event FOR YOU. We would love to see you.

Golden Thyme Cafe in Saint Paul every Thursday from 6-8p hosted by Desdamona.

Congratulations & Thank You!

HUGE THANK YOU to everyone that came out to Page. Stage. Engage. at the University of Minnesota last Friday. We appreciated you joining us in conversation and hope we continue to speak courageously with one another in an effort to understand and relate. DJ Just Nine, Amani Ward, Speakers of the Sun, Speak Poetry, Al Taw’am, Guante, and Tish Jones, you all were inspiring, thank you.

Check out the visual recap of the night with photos from Uche Iroegbu Photographic below!

Congratulations to Lizzie Esposito on winning the Bookmark Poetry contest! Look for Lizzie’s work at all upcoming events!


Be Heard MN, Upcoming Workshops, Youth Advisory Board + More!

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It’s that time again: registration for the annual Be Heard MN youth poetry slam series is now open! If you are a poet between the ages of 13-19 with a Minnesota address sign up now for your chance to represent the state in the international Brave New Voices youth poetry slam festival in Washington D.C. in July 2016.

tas_f15_beheardseries_backside_pwallacePreliminary slams begin on January 15th and last until mid-February. Poets are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible as registration fills fast! Remember: you can compete in as many preliminary bouts as you desire until you advance into the semi-final round.

All preliminary bouts are free and open to the public. For more information or questions please contact the program associate at Fatima Camara.


In support of Be Heard MN, TruArtSpeaks is offering free tas15_f15_beheardflier_pwallacecommunity workshops for youth interested in workshopping their poems for the slam series. Write to Be Heard will take place over winter break at the Central Library downtown Minneapolis in the Mark E. Johnson conference room December 28th-30th from 2-4p each day. There is no registration required. For questions, please contact Fatima Camara, the program associate.


Chava Gabrielle (Research Associate), Donte Collins (Outreach Associate) , Isha Camara (Program Associate), Fatima Camara (Program Associate), Keno Evol (YAB Board Chair).

Chava Gabrielle (Research Associate), Donte Collins (Outreach Associate) , Isha Camara (Program Associate), Fatima Camara (Program Associate), Keno Evol (YAB Board Chair).

Meet the young people who are driving TruArtSpeaks’ youth programming! The Youth Advisory Board (YAB) is comprised of some of the most dedicated youth leaders in our community. Not only are these brilliant young minds passionate about poetry, Hip Hop and social change, they have a commitment to and vision for the growth of TruArtSpeaks and the Twin Cities arts scene that is apparent in their personal and professional work.

We are thrilled to be working with each of them and excited about the innovative and invigorating possibilities that they will bring to our organization. To learn more about the newest members of our team, click here!


Update: On Community, Collaboration and the Work: Following Up with Button Poetry

Last month, leaders from Button Poetry and TruArtSpeaks convened for a two day seminar on cross cultural collaboration, racial equity, social justice and a critical analysis of the situation that occurred in the Twin Cities arts and activist community as a result of Button Poetry launching a new initiative. The meeting came at the request of the Twin Cities community after the October 2014 public meeting at Juxtaposition Arts in North Minneapolis and was facilitated by community organizer and racial justice advocate Gabriella Anais Deal-Marquez.

The conversation was productive, informative and courageous for both parties. Each organization walked away from the seminars expressing gratitude, understanding and an impetus to move with greater intention in the work.

We would like to thank the Twin Cities community for their support and investment in this process and the greater poetry community for their input, inquiry and encouragement as well.

TruArtSpeaks is happy to answer any follow up questions regarding this meeting and next steps. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.


As we get ready for the slam season – check out some footage from Julie Pekala at Finals 2015


Be sure to connect with us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr or in person at the Re-Verb Open Mic every Thursday from 6-8p at Golden Thyme Cafe in Saint Paul, MN.


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