2012-hampton-roads-youth-poetry-festival-79Hampton Roads Youth Poets is Teens With a Purpose Spoken Word Division

Our nation is experiencing young people in a whole new way.  Youth are activating their power to effect change, passionately and poetically.  They are picking up their pens and stepping up to microphones with spoken word poetry as their device. Teens With a Purpose has been at the forefront of this literary arts movement for youth for over a decade.  This year we celebrate the twelfth year of Teens With a Purpose Performance Season: the Hampton Roads Youth Poetry Season & Festival, also known as Hear This Slam Fest. 

Slam Fest has become a much anticipated experience, a festival that blends competitive performance poetry written tradition with lyricism, positive music and stage acumen in a way that profoundly affects and entertains youth and audiences of all kinds.  Here young poets fearlessly tell their stories, in their own words to be shared with their generation and the community at-large. They meet students from different cities and with different background who come together to share their mutual love for the art form – spoken word POETRY.

Students learn how to represent themselves, their experiences, and their ideas, powerfully.  We know because we have worked with hundreds of youth through TWP’s school-based and community-based literary arts programs.

HRYP is a unique opportunity for students 14-19 years of age to experience firsthand performance Poetry – spoken word. Teens With a Purpose (TWP) is looking for committed, opinionated teenagers with an interest in performance poetry, theatre, song writing, debate and or rap.  We also seek students who you identify as having a need or desire to develop a creative outlet that will help them build self esteem and enhance their learning experience.  

At the end of the festival, six finalists qualify to represent all of Hampton Roads at Brave New Voices. The Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival, powered by Youth Speaks, it is the only festival of its kind. Every year, over 500 young poets, their mentors, and the nation’s leading artists and cultural workers convene in a different U.S. city for 4-5 days of arts education, artistic expression, and civic engagement.  BNV 2020 will take place in Washington, DC, July 22nd-25th.

To help keep us all safe and healthy, 2020 Slam Fest has moved to our virtual space. We will be holding qualifying events on Zoom and Instagram

Ongoing poetry & performance workshops are offered free of charge, on Tuesdays at 5 pm EST via Zoom


BEYOND THE SLAM Don’t limit the experience, there is still more! TWP invites Hampton Roads youth to join us at some of our other FREE upcoming programs:

  • POETRY LAB Join us every Tuesday at the VCM Teen Center for writing, performance and recording lab 5:30-7:30pm, 700 E Olney Road, Norfolk, VA
  • YOUTH POET LAUREATE The Hampton Roads Youth Poet Laureate Program identifies youth writers and leaders who are committed to civic/community engagement, poetry & performance, leadership and education across Hampton Roads. Your work will be published in a national youth Poet Laureate anthology
  • HEAR THIS! CLUBS Join us at one of our school based poetry clubs that fuses Spoken Word Poetry with visual art and music transforming the class room into a poetry studio. Here youth learn how to represent themselves, their experiences, and their ideas, powerfully. Students apply these tools to magnify the strength of their writing and their speaking. Clubs are currently held at Bayside 6th Grade Annex in Virginia Beach, Lakewood Academy for Discovery in Norfolk, Huntington Middle School in Newport News, I.C. Norcom High School and Booker T. Washington High School.  Let us know if you are interested in starting a poetry club at your school or organization.