Camryn Howe discovered the power of poetry as a high school freshman, when a conversation in physics class led to an impromptu visit to her school’s slam poetry club. When she heard her classmates’ work, crackling with energy and performed aloud, she was hooked. Spoken-word poetry, she found, gave her a way to communicate things that felt too raw to express any other way — and she found the gumption to share her work onstage in front of strangers.
Howe, 18, is now St. Louis’s Youth Poet Laureate. She’ll be a part of Rustbelt Poetry Slam, an annual event now in its 20th year that will be hosted in St. Louis for the first time, at .ZACK on June 21 and 22. The organizer is UrbArts, the Old North-based nonprofit focused on youth outreach through the power of the word.