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
Alejend Lj Bowman
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.
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.
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.
Na’Ryah is well rounded anti-social extrovert that that loves to tell her story and write about current events.
Her inspiration comes from a lot of things; mostly local successful black women. Na’Ryah is a model who attends Union High School, a junior who is a three sport athlete, and AP student.
Na’Ryah feels like being on stage is her destiny.
She has performed several places such as The Fair Housing Center of West Michigan Annual Event, Kendall College of Art & Design, The STEAM Engine Poetry Show – Detroit (MSU), and 97.3 The Beat.
Anais Baizan is here, she has planted her roots to the ground and is eager to let her light shine.
Anais Baizan is a dynamic Latina woman from the southwest side of Grand Rapids. Her work explores family, heritage, pride, and identity. She is an artist looking to find the right words to her piece and label her vibrance. One last push through Wellspring Preparatory High School and she’s out. Aside from the art aspect in her life she chooses to spend her free time hanging out with friends, binge watching every possible anime show, and spending time with family. She has accomplished a Hero Essay award, 1st place Bookmark contest, 3rd place Poppy Poster, and a Third90 certificate. She hopes that many people will continue to support and inspire her as always.
Coral Gray is not just two colors blended into a name. She is an inspirational swim coach to at least four years worth of swimmers, a dual enrolled senior at Ca Frost Middle High, and a bright and bubbly person to be around! Coral has performed poems in the Grand Rapids Public Library, and some were recorded at Kendall College’s professional recording studio- which can be found on the diatribe’s youtube channel. She has been embracing her voice and her story through out poetry ever since she met the diatribe freshman year. Coral is sure to make you smile with her attitude; and her fire coming out as she speaks her poems will surely warm you up!
Regina Cassese is an artist from a cliche, rural small town. However, do not be fooled from her upbringing, she has an open mind and can be found attempting to open the minds of her community. Regina’s achievements include: repeatedly winning in the KDL Spoken Reads Poetry competition, opening at the Grand Showcase for world-renowned poets, recording a poem in collaboration with WZZM, her work recorded on YouTube, speaking at pop-up shows and open mics when she can, as well as participating in workshops and classes with the Diatribe and KDL library. Her work circles around mental health, current day issues, domestic violence, and how religion has a new definition. By using her personal experience in her poetry she hopes to make others feel more comfortable in their vulnerability. She has a collection of peanut butter, is deeply involved in her high school band, and stress bakes. Regina hopes to be published one day and dreams of college.
Avi is a 13 year old writer. So far she has performed at the KDL stage a number of times, as well as Woosah Outdoor Coffee. She hopes to someday perform at many larger events and be seen as a powerful writer. She can also be seen at Mayan Buzz on Thursday nights for open mic. Some of her work can be found on Youtube. She hopes that her writing continues to improve as the years go on, and to get powerful messages across through her pieces.
Daniel Lamboy is a soon to be senior at Grandville Highschool. He can be found working on poetry by the pile while going through the process of publishing his first book. His pieces are rooted in pain cut up and blended together with whatever type of story he feels will describe it. He is part of the advanced diatribe classes, and some of his work is on YouTube.
Siena Ramirez is a young Latina that has an appetite to match her passion for social justice. A few things you should know about her are, she is a survivor, an advocate for representation in… EVERYTHING and has a general distaste for our governments current administration. Siena works to amplify voices by turning her work into a microphone for the underrepresented. She has a fire in her belly that will not be extinguished by hate. Siena’s academic achievements can only be out-shadowed by her work on the ground, she has worked with organizations such as, Moms Demand Action and By Any Means Necessary. When listening to Siena, prepare for beautiful discomfort and to soak up her many identities.