Teen Arts Council to host Poetry Jam Friday

Maddy Jones, Author

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Teen Arts Council’s first Poetry Jam will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. this Friday, Jan. 16, at the Palo Alto Children’s Theater. The aim is to create a forum for teenagers to express themselves through poetry.

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The cover photo of the Point B: Teen Poetry Jam Facebook group. Photo: Claire Eberhart and Teddie Stewart.

Palo Alto High School sophomores Teddie Stewart and Claire Eberhart are putting on the event, entitled “Point B: Teen Poetry Jam,” where teens can come to listen to or perform poetry with no admission cost.

“Come share and listen to poetry at the Teen Arts Council’s first Poetry Jam!” the Facebook page states. “This nonjudgmental environment is the perfect place for anyone that’s a verse novice to a poetry expert.”

Eberhart and Stewart are hoping to create a “laid-back, mellow climate” for the Poetry Jam to encourage a mood of “acceptance and general happiness,” according to Eberhart. There will be a mic, mood lighting, beanbag chairs and a café type feel, with coffee, hot chocolate and baked goods for sale.

Those interested in performing a poem should contact Eberhart or Stewart at [email protected] or message them on Facebook and include their name and title of poem if available. There will also be poems provided at the event for anyone who wants to read them. Any type of poetry is welcome, and poems do not have to be memorized.

“There are almost no restrictions for the types of poems that can be performed,” Eberhart said. “I hope for a wide range of classic, published poems by poetry sages to inspiring, original poems by the students of the Bay Area – anything from haikus to free verse to odes.”

The idea for the event came about when Eberhart and Stewart, who are both passionate about poetry, noticed an absence of a place to express and share a love for poetry.

“I’ve been faced with several people who share the same kind of love for poems that I do,” Eberhart said. “I strongly believe that teenagers have the most creative minds and write beautifully, but are often discouraged by the mindset that it’s kinda dorky. And for some reason, there had been no real medium besides the paper or the online publisher for sharing poetry. Besides standing idly by, I decided to take action and really make it happen.”

The title of the event, “Point B: Teen Poetry Jam,” has special meaning to both Eberhart and Stewart.

“Point B is Claire’s and my favorite poem by Sarah Kay, who writes slam poetry,” Stewart said. “And it’s where we connected and found our shared love of poetry. It also means that our poetry jam will hopefully be people’s Point B, or a place that they can always go to without hesitation. It’s another way of us promoting our idea of a family of poetry lovers, new and old.”

Eberhart and Stewart hope that there will be many more poetry jams in the future.

“We hope to continue Point B throughout our high school years,” Stewart said. “And we also hope to host four events a year, kind of like a seasonal thing: one in summer, one in fall, one in winter and one in spring.”