Youth spoken word poetry groups are on the rise in the United States, offering safe spaces for young people to write and perform. These diverse groups encourage members to share their lived experiences, decry injustices, and imagine a better future. At a time when students may find writing in school alienating and formulaic, composing in these poetry groups can be refreshingly relevant and exciting.
Listen to the Poet investigates two Arizona spoken word poetry groups—a community group and a high school club—that are both part of the same youth organization. Exploring the writing lives and poetry of several members, Wendy R. Williams takes readers inside a writing workshop and poetry slam and reveals that schools have much to learn about writing, performance, community, and authorship from groups like these and from youth writers themselves.