Teens find outlet in poetry - FOX 13 News

Teens find outlet in poetry

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You may not associate rhyme and reason with teens, but it's the poetic formula for helping them express their feelings in a unique and thoughtful way.

The program that's taking them to new heights is What's Right with Tampa Bay.

Eric Almanzar, 19, has been reciting poetry for about five years. "When I was 8 years old, I got hit in the mouth so hard with a kickball, that day I became a poet."

His lyrics continue to say, "Parents can't keep blaming rap and gaming for this mob mentality, dad and mom mentality that is savagely pointing fingers in every direction than their own."

Eric is part of the program created by Walter Jennings.

"Heard em Teen Poetry Night is a social platform that was established to provide young people with an outlet to be able to express themselves," he explained.

Jennings, also a poet, shares his words with the teens.

Close your eyes. Listen for soul ties that unite with the future that you're trying to reach because out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, and if your values don't agree then matching cars and tattoos don't matter, see my swagga has never been defined by designs and price tags.

Jennings said the poetry helps teens immensely.

"I think that it's important to the overall growth and well being of our young people for them to have an outlet to be able to express themselves and to potentially uncover the reasons why they have some of the interests and the talents that they have," he said.

Curtis Davis, a FAMU student, has a unique bee boxing style to start of his poetry.

"My heart is like a broken record."

"I honestly didn't know who I was until I discovered poetry," Davis said.

Once he discovered the work, he said got more in touch with his emotions.

"I started let my emotions out through writing. Now the only time I can cry is on stage," he said.

He refers to the experience in his poetry,

"Crying on stage during a poem, that's like one of the best feelings I ever had. It's very sad during the moment, but after it's just a feeling like none other," he said.

Sixteen-year-old Nia Scott shows off her skills too.

This is not me trying to be deep, this is not me trying to be political, this is me calling you out to speak what you know before you cast your vote because at my age of sixteen your vote will be affecting me.

"Not only is it a way to express myself and become a better speaker and just do so many things. It's also a great way that I got to become one with family again," said Scott, who turned to poetry as an outlet after her parents got divorced.

It's clear the poetry is a positive influence on these teens. It provides a channel for them to express themselves on paper and in public.

"To be able to get in front of people and pour your heart out and have them listen and relate is just the best feeling in the world," she says.

This is the only open mic show established exclusively for teens. The program is celebrating its five-year anniversary with a poetry slam show on May 25th at USF.

They'll also be heading to California to compete in an International Teen Poetry Festival this summer.


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