Local Teens Express Themselves Through "Spoken Word"

Feb 12, 2014

Performing artist Myrlin Hepworth is teaching Roaring Fork Valley teenagers "spoken word" poetry this month. Some of the teens compare writing the poems to therapy.
Credit myrlindo.com

Teenagers across the Roaring Fork Valley are getting a lesson this week on the “spoken word.” It’s a form of artistic poetry or story telling that's sometimes put to music. Often poets perform their original works at a competition called a poetry slam. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.

Performance artist Myrlin Hepworth is visiting a creative writing class at Carbondale’s Roaring Fork High School. He’s encouraging the room of students to create their own “spoken word’ poetry. He starts by having the kids jot down a conversation and gives an example.

"What the mother says, well, son, I’ll tell you...life for me ain’t been no crystal stair; it’s had tacks in it and splinters and boards torn up and places with no carpet on the floor..."

Barbara Dills is a board member for the Aspen Writer’s Foundation. The organization brought Hepworth and another performance artist, Logan “dirty-verbs” Phillips to the Valley.

"It’s about poetry, it’s about expressing yourself, it’s about spoken word," she says.

In two weeks time, the poets are visiting English, creative writing and English Language Learner classrooms at schools from Aspen to Glenwood Springs.

"So, they’re here to mostly create a safe space for kids to explore their feelings and express themselves in writing," Dills says.

Sebastian Dunn is a high school senior at Roaring Fork. He came up with an original work after attending Hepworth’s class. His poem doesn’t have a name.

"The things in my house holds the things, I’m tired of surviving. The mountains of romance novels that grow like moss in the house; tales my mom has read twice when we can’t talk about something once. The picture of my grandfather next to the lamp; while he’s no longer here with us, I like to turn the light on for him," he reads.

He says the poem was inspired by a story Hepworth read about memories so, he decided to write about home.

"I know it’s not permanent and I wanted to recognize all the memories and the things that have made me who I am today that have happened in that house."

Other local teenagers will read original poems at a “high altitude poetry jam” at the Wheeler Thursday. Professional performing artists Myrlin Hepworth and others will join them onstage. Sections of the event will be broadcast on Aspen Public Radio on Tuesday February 18th at 3:30 pm.

Click here to listen to Sebastian Dunn's entire poem: