St. Louis Teens Win Major Poetry Slam Competition, Besting Teams From Around The World | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Teens Win Major Poetry Slam Competition, Besting Teams From Around The World

Jul 31, 2019

Sahara Sista SOLS (at left) served as one of the coaches of St. Louis' team, which includes recent high school graduates Zack Lesmeister (center) and Keana Fox as well as four other teens.
Credit Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

A group of local teens made St. Louis proud earlier this month when they earned first place at the 2019 Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival in Las Vegas.

Selected through a months-long process under the umbrella of local nonprofit organization UrbArts, the six budding poets won the competition July 20. The festival draws about 500 young poets, their mentors, and leading artists and cultural workers each year for arts education, artistic expression and civic engagement.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with two members of the award-winning team: Zack Lesmeister, who is a graduate of Marquette High School, a freshman at Emerson College and a former St. Louis youth poet laureate, and Keana Fox, a graduate of Collinsville High School who is headed to Indiana University in Indianapolis this fall. Also participating in the discussion was one of the team’s coaches, Sahara Sista SOLS.

The team also includes Sarah Abbas of Marquette High School; Camryn Howe, a recent graduate from Kirkwood High School; Caleb Broeker, a recent graduate of Northwest High School in Cedar Hill, Missouri; and current St. Louis Youth Poet Laureate Kalyn McKoy of Parkway North High School.

Listen to the conversation to hear reflections from the team members as well as one of the poetry slam pieces, "Reparations," that the group performed in Las Vegas:

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Alexis Moore. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

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