Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Exploring Our Values Through Poetry: A Program for High School Youth


Activity time: 5 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Chalice and matches

Description of Activity

Gather around the chalice. As a volunteer lights the chalice, ask the group to focus on the word "perform." Invite participants to speak freely into the space a word or two that they associate with the word "perform." When enough time has passed for everyone who wishes to speak to do so, close by saying,

May the space we create here today be wide enough to hold all our individual ideas and deep enough to allow those ideas to grow, to fruit, and to provide seeds for new beginnings.

Introduce today's workshop with these words,

In this program, we have tasted the experiences of reading, hearing, writing, and sharing poetry. Congratulations for finding the openness, creativity, and gameness of spirit to take your personal exploration of poetry this far. Today we will turn our attention outward in order to plan a public poetry event.

You may have discovered already that the more invested you are in a poem, the more you care how others respond to it. When a poem speaks from our own hearts, we certainly hope for a gentle, appreciative, energized, or otherwise positive response. Today let us shape our Poetry Slam in a way that encourages listeners to receive our poems with the open hearts that our own hearts desire and deserve.

We can simply read our poems aloud. We can include music. Our Poetry Slam can be a free-admission event or a fund-raiser or it can include a fundraiser like a bake sale. In the open mike tradition of the beatniks, anyone can stand up and recite his/her own work. In the poetry slam tradition that began in the 1990s, performing poets compete before judges. Our Poetry Slam will draw from both traditions, by being a non-competitive, planned piece of performance art. Today we will choose the poems we want to share and design a space where our audience can truly listen.