Generation Verb is a spoken word scholastic program that uses poetic literature and performance to foster expression, communication, and social-emotional learning –building language skills, collaboration, and confidence in a post-pandemic world.

Our children are our best shot at a better world. Poetry is an art that lends each one their voice even as it disciplines all those present to listen. When children learn at an early age to genuinely hear rather than judge and denigrate each other’s stories, their vantage will deepen and grow. The window into their world will necessarily include their peer’s stories—even if they are remarkably different from their own. Participants will invariably learn empathy by practicing it in the ongoing exchange of their own stories. Let’s give these students the right tools to build a better world.

The daily workshops are steps on a path toward the cultivation of students writing, editing, memorizing, and performing their work. Each group functions as an emerging cadre of young poets. This group of poets deserves a chance to test their hard work in a slam. Each school’s poetry program will represent itself with a team of the best work created by our student poets. This team will compete with the other school teams within the program. Why learn the art of slam poetry and never apply it? Through the rigor and challenge of friendly competition, students will gain the opportunity to test their skills and share their own stories in their own voices. What better to instill confidence into the minds of these young poets than to offer a forum where they can present their stories to their own peers alongside the fond memories of competition? They will operate like a school step team or basketball team; we will have a season in which students are allowed to travel and compete with other schools in the poetry slam. Intramural slam competition already happens on the collegiate level at CUPSI, and many of those who compete are fresh out of high school and wish this resource were available then.

The ultimate goal of this project is to create a league of slam poetry teams. Each school will elect the best and brightest writers, and they will travel to, as well as host other competing teams. A league will not only evince a competitive spirit but also sponsor camaraderie and a unique and enduring legacy for the schools and the participants.

The league will gather the best and brightest within the workshops to represent their respective schools wear their school colors and tell their stories. We envision this as a novel way to breathe new life into the notion of school spirit by fusing art, culture, performance, and sport. At the core, this isn’t a team traveling to win games for their particular school but to tell the world their stories.

We have gathered some of the cities brightest poets from all walks of the tradition. These poets hail from different backgrounds and different disciplines. Our staff is dynamic because we plan for your students to be, we are a multicultural group of artists unified by one craft, a mixture of hip hop, theater, comedy, creative writing, and even a little gospel. If there is a stage and words spoken on it then it is an inalienable part of this tradition.

All students are welcome. We do not expect a general interest but rather plan to open up and introduce the different sectors allowing students to understand the many roads that lead to this art form. It is okay if they do not consider themselves a poet, but there is a storyteller in them all. They all participate in the oral tradition somehow. Some of them may lead prayer at church, some may have journals or a book of rhymes, even the class clown is a story teller. It is about polishing the sector of storytelling that already lives in them.

We partner with public and private schools in the inner-city. We work with grades K-12.