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Mar 23, 2016
Power of dfsakjlj; Making a Difference
The Power of Words and Performance: Making a DifferencePublic Speaking for Change CurriculumCreated by Amanda OttawaySummer 2011
Youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young. J.K. Rowling
Do you feel like the adults in your life could use a lesson or two from you?
Want to impress them, but arent sure how?
Lets do it. Before we begin, lets look at three twentieth-century youths just like you who have changed the world through their experiences and words:
Anne Frank (June 12, 1929 early March 1945)Ruby Bridges (1954 )Ryan White (December 6, 1971 April 8, 1990)
Anne Frank (1929-1945)Author of Anne Frank: Diary of a Young GirlHow wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. Anne grew up in a Jewish family in 1930s Amsterdam, the Netherlands. They became trapped there in 1940, when the Germans invaded and began persecuting Jews. The family went into hiding in 1942. In March 1944, Anne heard a radio broadcast by an exiled member of the Dutch government, who wanted to publish letters and diaries of his people after the war so that the world could hear about their oppression under the Germans. Anne decided right away she wanted her diary to be published, so she began editing it as she wrote. Annes diary was found by her father, the familys only survivor, after the war. He had it published in 1947. The entries, spanning from June 1942-August 1944, have been praised by critics for the quality of the writing and the maturity of her opinions on the world and humanity. Ruby Bridges (1954 )Author of Through My EyesRacism is a grown-up disease. Lets stop using kids to spread it. When Ruby was six years old, the NAACP asked her parents if they would be willing to have her attend a white school. She took a test and passed it, and became the only black student at William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. For her whole first year, Ruby was alone in a classroom with her teacher. White parents took their children out of the school because she was there. In 1999, Ruby published Through My Eyes, an autobiography about her experiences at William Frantz. It is written in first person in the voice of a young girl, with some more factual inserts by a third party. This format, especially Bridges choice to write simply, makes the overall effect of the book more dramatic as audiences realize the seriousness of her plight, yet simultaneously recognize her innocence as a six-year-old (for example, she wrote that she thought the angry mob meeting her at school was there for Mardi Gras). Ryan White (1971-1990)Author of Ryan White: My Own StoryMy family and I held no hatred for those people because we realized they were victims of their own ignorance.Ryan White, born a hemophiliac, received weekly blood transfusions for his condition. One of the treatments was contaminated with HIV, and he acquired the virus. White was diagnosed at age thirteen, in 1984, and was expelled from school so he would not spread the disease. He became a national celebrity after the publicity of his battle with his middle school. Michael Jackson, Elton John, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar all befriended him.Ryan wrote an autobiography with the help of Ann Marie Cunningham. It was published in 1991, a year after his death. This book is written in Ryans voice, with the perceptive honesty and innocence of a teenager. He describes in awe, for example, the day he spent with Michael Jackson at Neverland Ranch. 7But how does this relate to me? These three young people obviously had some very unique experiences.BUT: Keep in mind that YOU may experience things that are just as interesting! Part of their legacy is that they were able to express themselves eloquently in the public eye. Being clear, concise and honest in their words on the page and their public speeches provided them with lots of support from people who sympathized with their causes. Speaking of public speaking
In 2009, Michelle Obama hosted the first-ever White House Poetry Jam. Penn junior Joshua Bennett and other poets as young as eighth grade performed for the President, First Lady, and a small crowd in the White House. Were here to celebrate the power of wordsthe hope is that this evenings gathering helps ensure that all voices are heard, particularly voices that are often not heard. Barack Obama
What kind of poetry was it?At the White House Poetry Jam, poets performed slam poetry. In 1985, construction worker Marc Smith introduced this new kind of performance poetry reading a mix between rap, classical poetry and theater in a Chicago jazz club. Slam has since evolved into an increasingly popular art form. Following in the footsteps of rap and hip-hop music, slam is a hybrid between the metaphysical and the physical, the contemplative and the rousing, the tear-inducing and the political protest. There is a quality to the spoken word that does not allow for passive absorption of its message, which I think is part of the reason that standard page poetry is so bemoaned in public education. In slam, the poet feeds off the energy of his or her audience, and vice versa, so both parties are crucial to the overall effect of the piece.Poetry slams are public events hosted by an M.C. The poets are generally predetermined, and a few are eliminated in each round, or bout.Each poet has a time limit of three minutes, with a grace period of ten seconds, to wow the audience and the judges with a work of writing and performance. Five audience members are randomly chosen as judges to score each poem on a decimal scale of 1 to 10. The highest and lowest scores are dropped and the three in the middle are added to get the poems final score.
Anyone can make a difference with their words and performance (and yes, that includes YOU!) Ranting hipsters, freestyle rappers, bohemian drifters, proto-comedians, mystical shamans and gothy punks have all had their time at the top of the slam food chain, but in the end, something different always comes along and challenges the poets to try something new. Cristin OKeefe AptowiczOne of the things slam does best is to challenge literary authority. It is an open, honest form of self-expression. You can literally write about anything you want to, anything that moves you. There are race poems, political poems, sexual orientation poems, death poems, religion poems, socioeconomic status poems, war poems, disease poems, domestic violence poems, genocide poemswell, you get the picture. No poet is beyond critique, and the better educated do not always score higher. A poet who receives a standing ovation in one venue might be booed in front of a different crowd. It all depends on the people. Slam poetry is essentially democracy in artistic form.Some people have pointed to these aspects of slam as perfectly positioning it to be used as a form of political protest.As Gehring says in his article Outsiders Art: Its raw, edgy, and delivered with an attitude that says revolution through words is possible. Later, he quotes slam coach Isaac Colon: The people who are put down, and are not heard, pick up a microphone."Most pieces are deeply personal, which gives the socially displaced and everyone in between a venue in which to question the world and themselves. The stage, as ironic as it sounds, becomes a safe place.
(The event at the White House was not a slam per se, because nobody got scored or eliminated. It was more of a showcase, a place for performers to rock the mic by speaking their minds in an eloquent fashion. But they still had to make sure that each piece was clear, concise and poignant.)A Side Note: Some Darn Good Slam Poems (in no particular order)Clint Smith: Welcome to the Mineshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DarcSNeh71g&feature=related Neil Hilborn, Macalester College: OCD http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6T8WDjImRo James Tolleson and Ashley Mincey: Babelhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO1bZkIyILw Carlos Robson: Amazing Gracehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldgn1n2ffVc&feature=related Damion Samuels: Torture Rack http://www.youtube.com/user/katepark00#p/u/10/K8ULemPtyp8
The reason one writes isn't the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say. F. Scott Fitzgerald
Do YOU have something to say? If you had three minutes and ten seconds to present in front of the President of the United States, a crowd of fellow humans, or any other person who has the power to drastically affect your life or the lives of others, what would you say? How would you say it? Your Presentation StrategyLike a slam poet, youll need to have 1) A short, interesting introduction at the beginning of your piece to get your audience hooked; 2) Some well-organized, pertinent information leading to a climax; and 3) A so-what conclusion. (So-what conclusion: Why should your audience care about this? Why does what youre saying matter? Legitimize your cause.)
1) A Good Hookin Intro Watch the first 15 seconds of this video.
SUNY Oneonta Group Piece: Short Apologyhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFrgJrYp3RQ&feature=related
. . . Interested in seeing the rest?
2) Solid Middle GroundWatch this piece from 0:31-2:52.
Kate Kelly: White Girl http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZfuASKEqOo
Kate does a great job of using careful pacing and a variety of interesting metaphors to keep her audience engaged, but she also gracefully connects them all to one common idea.
3) Finish StrongWatch this poem from 2:48 until the end.
Spencer Retelle: The Baristas Love Songhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oYj5Qm9iE0
See how he wraps it up in a way that is funny, touching, and powerful, all at once?Other stuff to
Extraneous Information = BAD!!In a marathon, if you trip and fall