Give Now

Slam Camp: A Safe Haven for Young Poets

A high school slam poetry camp offers a safe space for students to discuss taboo issues.

Counselors Giddy Perez and G Yamazawa make announcements before the performances begin. Nineteen students performed at the Monroe County Library, Tue. June 21.

In late June, 80 high school students from 30 different states spent a week on the Indiana University Bloomington campus for Slam Camp.  After having gotten its start in 2011 with seven students on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota, Slam Camp has grown into one of the largest summer academies for high-school-aged performance poets.

A lot of people here share the same issues that they can’t talk about at home, so it’s very uplifting and very welcoming to know you’re not alone and that people are willing to accept you and still love you.

Over the course of the week, the School of Education, the Monroe County Public Library, the Pour House Cafe, and Rhino’s Youth Center were abuzz with the energy of the teenage poets.  Run by internationally-touring poets such as two-time National Slam Champion Sierra DeMulder, Official Poet Laureate of the Indianapolis 500 Adam Henze, YouTube sensation Neil Hilborne, and internationally touring rapper George Yamazawa, Slam Camp received support from the Bloomington Arts Commission and The Writer’s Guild at Bloomington to host Youth Poetry Slams in public venues each night.

The students who participate agree that Slam Camp provides an open, supportive environment, in which talking and writing about issues that might not be acceptable elsewhere is encouraged.  That acceptance and encouragement to express oneself has been critical, for at least one student who shares her personal journey of fighting a life-threatening illness to make it to Slam Camp.

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

Search Arts and Music

Stay Connected

RSS e-mail itunes Facebook Twitter Flickr YouTube

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from Indiana Public Media Arts & Music:

Recent Books & Literature Stories

Books & Literature Events RSS icon

More Events »Submit Your Event »

Arts & Music is on Twitter

Find Us on Facebook

This Week on Poets Weave

The Knackers At Work

WLS reads "The Knackers at Work," "The Knackers in Their Apartment," and "The Knackers Visit the Reservoir."

Read more »

The Poets Weave is a weekly five-minute program of poetry reading hosted by local poet Christopher Citro.

More from The Poets Weave »