The Verbquake Youth Slam is a free, inclusive, and safe space for high-school aged students to compete with their teams in slam and present their poetry works. JustRich, from the 2020 STL Poetry Slam team, kicked off the slam with a “calibration” poem, a baseline to judge the other poems, performing as the “sacrificial poet” for the Youth Slam. Each team was given 3 minutes, with a 30 second grace period) to perform. Team who stay under time and can earn up to a perfect score of 30. The Bout Manager was Sahara “Sista Sols” Scott, and the five judges were; Jay Luvve, Myki, PatiaPhree, and Zaid HAMZ.

The Verbquake Youth Slam

Youth from high schools all over Saint Louis competed in the 2020 Verbquake Youth Slam. The high schools represented in the slam were Central Visual and Performing Arts (Central VPA), Parkway North, and Marquette. Central VPA is a part of St. Louis Public Schools, their team is named “Central Flow”, putting up poets Darius, Gabe, L. Wolf, and Zaria. Parkway North’s team name is “Savage Stanzas”; they put up Hannah, Poncho, Secret, and Shreeya from the Parkway School District. Last, but not least, from the Rockwood School District’s Marquette High School was team “Beauty N the Beats”; they put up Ella, Sam, Sarah, and the only group piece of the day. The winner of the competition was team “Beauty N the Beats” with a four-round total of 105.3, team “Savage Stanzas” placed second (98.6), and for third “Central Flow” (96.2). The slam performances included:

Round 1

  • Beauty N the Beats (Ella), “I found your cards in the mail…” (1.53), score: 23.2
  • Central Flow (L. Wolf), “Pink is flowers in the spring time…” (2.08), score: 25.5
  • Savage Stanzas (Hannah), “She was 13 years old when I saw her fingers…” (2.29), score: 24

Round 2

  • Central Flow (Gabe), “And there he was covered in newspaper” (1.30), score: 22.8/48.3
  • Savage Stanzas (Shreeya), “Why are you holding up a lighter to me…” (3.28), score: 23.6/47.6
  • Beauty N the Beats (Sarah), “There is a silence before the breaking…” (2.09), score: 27.5/51.6

You look like a beauty, now spit like a beast!”

Beauty N the Beats Youth Slam Team, Marquette High School

Round 3

  • Savage Stanzas (Poncho), “I was born out of wedlock…” (1.24), score: 22.5/70.1
  • Beauty N the Beats (Sam), “An ode to my father who told me that women who do not wear bras are disgusting…” (2.01), score: 26.2/77.8
  • Central Flow (Darius), “Hoetry” (2.44), score: 24.4/72.7

Round 4

  • Beauty N the Beats (Group Piece), “Every day for us is a war…” (1.27), score: 27.5/105.3
  • Central Flow (Zaria), “Some things never go away…” (1.48), score: 23.5/96.2
  • Savage Stanzas (Secret), “Millie and Christine McCoy” (3.00), score: 28.5/98.6

You’re a North Star Poet, so shine like one!”

Savage Stanzas Youth Slam Team, Parkway North High School

See Page 3 for more on UrbArts Annual MLK Day Celebration

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