Recap: Breaking Ground Poets @ the Vintage Theater

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Monday, October 29, 2012

There's a storm blowin' in. Sometime. At least that's what they say. I'm not particularly worried, though. I've weathered the storms before. All kinds of them. Some of them worse than others. They say this one is a big one. Panic and scrambling people clearing the shelves of milk and eggs. All I grabbed this morning was some coffee and tea.

The weekend was long. Incredible, but long. Full of surprises and poetic beauty. On Saturday night, the Breaking Ground Poets, led by Tunkhannock Area teacher Katie Wisnosky, held their first poetry slam of the season. I had been invited to be a judge in the event. I was, to say the least, blown away.

Lauren Zuniga @ the Vintage Theater
The Vintage Theater in down town Scranton was packed. It was a a sight to behold on a Saturday night to see so many people out supporting poetry when they could have been at any number of Halloween parties and gatherings. 

Lauren Zuniga, a nationally touring poet and teaching artist, opened the night with a half hour performance. Zuniga moved effortlessly from piece to piece, delivering her words with beautiful sincerity. For the remainder of the night, she MC'd the event introducing the student poets while interacting with the crowd and keeping the momentum going.

What can I say about the students? It's difficult to come up with the words. Judging them was no easy task, either. All of the poets ranged in age from 16 to 18. The imagery and delivery of their work was simply impressive. Those students stepped onto the stage, ripped open their chests, and poured out everything beating against their ribs. We all ate it up and were belly-full by the end of the night.

Lauren Zuniga and the Breaking Ground Poets
Now I find myself a bit nervous. Nervous to step into a room with some of these students and lead a workshop. Nervous to partake in the next slam where the students will take on the adults. Somehow, I've been roped in to competing against them. I've got to sharpen that dagger pencil and scrawl something impressive because these students aren't going to go down easy. They've got fight. They've got heart. And none of them are afraid to use it. To bare it all. I commend them. 

Nervous or not, I'm excited to work with them. I'm excited that something like this is taking place with the youth in Tunkhannock and all around the area. Kids excited about poetry? Who would have thought. Much respect to Katie Wisnosky for pushing forward and on to make this happen.

And here's to the students. In the wake of the storm, I sit here contemplating my own words. They've inspired my own thoughts and I can feel my own words beating and pounding on my ribs. They need out. Where's my typer...

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