In this sixth installment, we revisit the 2015 Youth Poetry Slam at the National Book Festival. The Youth Poetry Slam event debuted at the Festival just a year earlier, in 2014, as a collaboration between the Library of Congress, the Literature Division of the National Endowment for the Arts, and Split This Rock, a national poetry organization with deep roots in Washington, D.C. Each year, the Slam brings champions from some of the top youth slam groups around the country to compete.
At the time of the 2015 National Book Festival, Juan Felipe Herrera was just a few days into his tenure as the 21st Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry; along with sharing his own work at the Festival, he also served as a judge for the Youth Slam event. Lucky for you, we got Juan Felipe on the phone to talk about that experience and what established writers can learn from emerging writers.
Tune in for this conversation between Rob Casper and Juan Felipe Herrera, and settle in for some clips from the 2015 Youth Poetry Slam. You’ll hear the event’s emcee, Kosi Dunn, give a short history lesson on the origins of the poetry slam before he calls four of the evening’s slammers to stage—Mila Cuda, Maya Dru, Antwon Funches, and Rukmini Kalamangalam.