The best slice of my day at the Michigan Reading Association today was keynote speaker Malcolm London. He is a Slam poet with an incredible message. Growing up in a harsh area in the city of Chicago, he attended high school an hour away in Lincoln Park. London described the viaduct the bus would pass under and where the two worlds changed.
Now graduated from high school and attending college, he has been featured in a TED Talk for his work in creating “Louder than a Bomb,” A youth poetry festival and poetry slam. This year’s event is being held tonight representing 130 Chicago area schools and 1300 participants.
Some of my favorite gems from his talk today . . .
“Poetry allows for the relativness to my life.” “ It allows for youth autonomy.”
“Poetry allows for young people to bring in the expertise of their own experience. Allows “Who are you?”
“–not only tell their story but to change their story—give their poems feet.”
The last poem he delivered began “The richest man can never purchase yesterday” and ended with this line, “It is never too late to purchase a new beginning.”
Malcolm London offers poetry to youth as a way to start a new beginning. A powerful gift.