Join us for an evening of poetry at the second annual Summer Poetry Pop-up.
Who: 16 local, talented writers and poets
When: Saturday, August 10, 2019 5-7pm
Where: Outside Coffee Company
738 Wealthy St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
You will NOT want to miss this free, all-ages summer poetry pop-up show!
Soak in the wisdom from 16 of the bravest, most talented youth poets and writers from different corners of the city as they come together to perform in the showcase. The students have been gearing up for this show for several weeks, after participating in the Diatribe’s second annual summer program, supported by the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs and LowellArts.
Each student will captivate you with a poem, while an on-site videographer captures footage of their performance. Be ready to make NOISE and show your support! The videos will document our youths’ amazing, passionate words and ensure they can be heard for years to come.
For a glimpse into what you will experience at the summer poetry showcase, check out our YouTube page to watch videos of last year’s performances, and subscribe!
After the summer showcase four students will have the opportunity to perform alongside nationally renowned poet, Rudy Francisco, at The Grand Showcase in November.
Meet the Students
Zsana is a music-enthusiast, comic book nerd, and the only girl out of seven siblings from Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is a junior at East Kentwood High School who is very serious about her education. She is on her student council’s diversity committee, is involved in her school’s theatre program, is in an advanced choir, is her class secretary, and maintains a 3.9 GPA. She has also won multiple awards for public speaking contests including The Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year Award for the state of Michigan. She recently placed third in the Ekphrastic Poetry Contest. Her work focuses on self love, social justice, and her dysfunctional family dynamic.
Miles’ lazy eye defines him well; like his sight, his thoughts are always going two ways. He aspires to inspire, hoping he can push others to fight for what they believe in, and help them believe in themselves. Miles’ blood pumps music, his heart is a drum. When it comes to writing Miles prefers realism, addressing social and political issues with a grim tone with various perspectives. Though he has no ‘accolades’ to his name, Miles considers every time he has touched another person’s heart as his biggest accomplishment.
As a kid, Grand Rapids native Francesca Duong was constantly scolded for speaking too loudly. Today, this 17-year-old channels her powerful voice as an advocate for social change. Her poems are filled with passion and decorated with vivid metaphors and repetition. Rooted in theatre, her performances are bursting with energy, giving life to her works of art. Her poems won 3rd place at the KDL Reads Poetry Slam and 2nd place at the Ekphrastic Poetry Reading. Aside from poetry, she is an intern at the Refugee Education Center and is a skilled Netflix binge watcher. This September, she will begin the next step of her journey at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
My name is Daniel Lamboy, I’m a 16-year-old writer living in Grandville Michigan. I am a voracious multitasker that has managed to scribble together two books in the course of one school year. I listen to a lot of music as an attempt to capture the sound of words in my head, as well as dissecting the lyrics to further understand what the song is trying to portray. I go home to a dog and two rodents that all seem to enjoy the television. When I write, I prefer to talk about darker themes and topics, focusing on painting a picture in the mind of the reader. I may not be able to take a compliment for my life, but I have a passion for poetry and learning about the art of writing.
Charity Speers is to be a sophomore at Caledonia High this year. Besides school, she busies herself with instruments, dogs, theatre, clothes shopping and writing. She tends to dive into topics that directly influence her life such as body issues, relationships and the struggles of being a teen today. This year she earned a nominee spot in the 2018 Sutton Foster Ovation Awards as Best Actress and also earned 2nd place at the KDL Reads competition.
Lj Bowman Is a crazy man, and a kid who used to play football before transferring all of his energy into art. Though he was an incredibly talented football player, and loved the game; his heart was never really there. Lj at heart is a lyricist, poet, writer, and singer. After all of this along with a story riddled with hardship you would think that he’d have to be crazy huh?
His art commonly is written to give kids who feel alone a person to relate to, So they fully understand they are not alone. Lj has known he was never meant for this world (not death) just not here.
He promotes peace and positivity though he fights his own wars. Lj is just another kid trying to live up to the name he wasn’t asked for (Alejend – a.k.a. Legend) though he accepts the challenge.
Olivia Han is a fourteen year old girl who lives in Grand Rapids, and will be a freshman at Forest Hills Northern High School. She was on the honor roll in 7th grade, 8th grade, and is excited to slay High School as well. Olivia enjoys singing, playing guitar, musical theatre, dancing ballet, and of course writing poetry. She has danced in many ballets with her dance studio CARE Ballet including ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Cinderella. Olivia loves to write about things she loves, including her music, friends, and family. She uses her poetry skills to write songs with her guitar, and play them around her hometown of Grand Rapids.
She has recorded multiple songs planning to share them (along with her poetry) with more people other than family and friends.
So get ready, because you are some of those people!
Regina Cassese currently resides in Caledonia, Michigan, but don’t be fooled by her rural upbringing; she has an open mind and something to say. She has a tendency to stress-bake and a problem with collecting peanut butter. Regina’s works include topics ranging from mental health to struggles as a student as well as domestic violence. By using personal experiences in her poetry she hopes to make more people aware of the ugly and the beautiful things in life. Her most recent accomplishments include sleeping in the car, being the most improved on her school’s varsity ski team, as well as achieving first place in the KDL Reads spoken word competition.
Sylvia Medukas is a Grand Rapids native who has had an obsession with writing since she could pick up a pen. Now going into her senior year at Byron Center High School, Sylvia has found her way into The Diatribe Summer Program as a young poet, singer, and artist. She and her choir have come out of choral festivals with division ones, and performed on the Chicago Symphony Stage. Sylvia’s poetry gives voice to feelings of depression and other mental health issues she’s struggled with and continues fighting the stigma. On top of that, she writes about anything and everything. Her hobbies consist of writing (big surprise), reading, art, and music. She also enjoys cooking, and making her own seasonings and marinades.
Na’Ryah Snell is a vibrant, bold, and powerful voice with a contagious laugh. Her favorite color is black, not only because it goes with everything but it is also the only color that could ever truly capture her. Na’Ryah is a Union High School sophomore with junior credits. She loves to write about blackness, her community, and crafts poems meant to inspire the ones around her to take action.
P.s you can’t touch her in the kitchen and She is a force to be reckoned with in the court!
Coral Gray is a swimmer/coach, dual enrolled high school student, John Ball Zoo (JBZ) cashier, and a novice poetry artist. She coached/swam all seasons since middle school; and has influenced 4+ years of swimmers. She will be a junior at Ca Frost and has taken 1-2 college level classes each semester of high school. Coral plans on having at least half of her Associate Degree once she graduates, so she can have free time to not be stressed out and have fun occasionally. During the spring of 2018, The Diatribe came to Frost and showed her the wonders of poetry. Ever since, Coral has been influenced to step out her comfort zone by taking charge into her future. Coral now has a summer job at JBZ, which has helped her decide that working at a zoo is very fun, as well as feeling less introverted. Coral sincerely hopes to continue having fun with her life, as well as being a successful and inspiring poet who can easily say: hey girl, that was worth it.
Anais Baizan (but you can call her Nece) is a Hispanic writer, poet, and dynamic creative from Grand Rapids, Mi. Nece enjoys knitting, binge watching every anime/show discoverable, hanging with friends, and loves fashion. She touches on a variety of topics ranging from the importance of representation in the LGBTQ community, how the world around us will help us emit our own specific color, and the wide array of issues many face at home.
She has won the Hero Essay Award, a bookmark contest, and was on the honor roll first semester of Freshman year.
Nece loves to be inspired, and is excited for her work to touch the lives of others.
Jayanna Carter is not your average Union High School Sophomore. She quietly made honor roll each semester as a freshman, along with ‘student of the month’ in November, 2017. Jayanna is a sprinter who qualified for regionals on her track team in the 200 meter dash and 4x4 relay. She enjoys poetry, hiking, the beach, and being anywhere her creativity can shine; but can never resist singing along to “Be Careful” by modern day philosopher & wordsmith Cardi B. Her poetry sprints though topics like the African Americans struggle, being a marginalized woman in America, and she also shares tales of her own journey throughout life.
Jayanna can always be found putting paint to things that need a bit more color.
Chloe Bares is a musician, actress, writer, wanna-be politician, and eccentric personality, born in the middle-of-nowhere, North Dakota. Chloe fell in love with poetry through her passion for writing and performing music. Not only did poetry allow her to speak her mind, but it also gave her an excuse to spend more time writing and being surrounded by the arts and fellow artists. In the future, Chloe plans on getting a degree in Music Education and sharing her passion with younger generations.
Avi Dietz is a writer, talker, and thinker born right here in Grand Rapids.
Avi is very passionate about her writing and always has been. She tends to write about her experiences in life. Avi is one of the only middle school students invited to The Diatribe Summer Program, but she doesn’t let that stop her. Her dog is her best friend and always has her back. Other than writing Avi is into eating food, hanging out with friends, and making random crafts. She hopes that her writing will be heard and reach out to people in need.
Avi wishes you and your dog or cat a good day (or night).
Amara Grajewski is a Freshman at Northview High School who can talk you ear off in record time, so be prepared! She loves singing and performing theatre, and can always be found humming (or belting) a Broadway Showtune. As much as she adores the stage, she loves her two little brothers 1000% more.
Her poems are based on topics personal to her; such as race, growing up, and finding your identity. She hopes that people can connect to her stories and be moved by her words.
Amara was one of 30 young people to be selected for The Diatribe Summer Program, and has enjoyed the teachings of Fable, Foster, Rachel Gleason, Jocelyn Barnes, and Michaelyn Mankel, who have all helped her grow immensely as a writer. Amara recently won first place in a local competition with her poem ‘The End of The Yellow Brick Road’.
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