Youth Speaks Hawaii brings poetry legends, champions to one stage

News Report
Travis Quezon

HONOLULU—The elite of Hawaiʻi’s slam poets are sounding off the fireworks early on stage for a special year-ending showcase. Youth Speaks Hawaiʻi (YSH) presents its reunion show on Wednesday, December 30 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at The arts at Marks Garage, 1159 Nuʻuanu Avenue.

“We are excited about the reunion show,” said YSH director Darron Cambra. “YSH alumni from years past will get to meet and share with the younger poets, providing insight and advice to the budding writers.”

Local slam veterans and YSH mentors Jon Ra, Darron “Dar’ron” Cambra, Tui Scanlan, Jess K, Bridget Gray and Lyz Soto will grace the stage with the Brave New Voices 2009 International Youth Poetry Slam Team champions William Giles, Jocelyn Ng, Jamaica Osorio, Jill Fukumoto and Harrison “H” Ines. They’ll be joined by five-time slam team veterans Alaka’i Kotrys and Ittai Wong as well as Kelly Aldinger and Christina King.

The onstage reunion of Hawaiʻi’s own international champs will be the first big venue since the team captured their second overall win in a row in July. Since this past summer, Osorio was attending school at Stanford and Giles at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Giles is participating in First Wave, a hip hop theater program that gives sponsorships to spoken word artists. Ng and Ines have spent their time giving back by working on poetry clubs in the high schools from which they graduated, Kalani and Farrington respectively.

“This [coming] year is going to be exciting for YSH,” Cambra said. “We are working on sustainable education programs both during and after school. There has been great interest in our Substitute POET program after only one quarter of offering the services. We are looking at making this show the kick-off to a regular show in the new year.”

In addition to the slam, YSH is encouraging supporters to donate potluck style food and will be selling merchandise to support future programming. 2005 YSH slam team member Marika Wilson is also set to DJ.

“The poetry community in Hawaiʻi should act like a family and it’s shows like these that help bridge gaps between generations and styles of writers,” Cambra said.

Youth Speaks Hawaiʻi Reunion Show on Wednesday, December 30 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at The arts at Marks Garage, 1159 Nuʻuanu Avenue. Donations of $3 to $10 at the door. For more information, visit the YSH Facebook page.