Synergy, Forest Lake Gains Inspiration (April 2017)
Saturday March 25, 2017
The Synergy ensemble at Forest Lake High School attended the final round of the TruArtsSpeaks' Be Heard MN slam poetry competition. For the past five years, Be Heard MN Youth Poetry Slam Series has provided a platform for hundreds of youth poets to tell their stories. Every year they host an annual competition that seeks to identify a cohort of six poets residing in Minnesota, to be mentored in writing, performance and arts leadership throughout the year and serve as state representatives in the annual International Brave New Voices Youth Poetry Slam Festival.
The event took place at the Walker Arts Center. The Synergy students watched as 12 young poets underwent two rounds of provocative and impassioned slam poetry. The poems focused on a wide range of social issues, including but not limited to the killings of black men due to police brutality, youth trans identity, the shocking and unreported toll of missing black women across the country, toxic masculinity, gender stereotyping, parental relationships, Donald Trump, the racial politics of higher education, and the stigmas surrounding period blood. The sold-out audience in the Walker's McGuire transformed into a space for social consciousness and the airing of the intimate—the audience snapped, clapped, cried, and laughed as each poet shared their stories on the stage.
The Synergy ensemble at Forest Lake has been using spoken word poetry as their primary means of performance over the past year. Be Heard MN provided them the valuable opportunity to witness a wider dimension of spoken word poetry and witness firsthand how it impacts the community. After the event ended, the students felt inspired to continue working on their own poems and expressed their desire to audition next year.