John F. Kennedy Middle school will host its first-ever Spoken Word Poetry Invitational from 6-9 p.m. Friday, November 16, 2012 in the school gym, 12350 S. Essington Road, Plainfield.
The special event is open to the community. No admission will be charged. However, donations will be collected to help send District 202 student poets to the “Louder than a Bomb” Spoken Word poetry competition in February 2013.
“Spoken Word” poetry often uses alliteration, and metered or un-metered prose and verse to express social commentary.
The Invitational will pit District 202 against four teams from other Chicago suburban school districts. District 202’s team members picked their own representatives for the competition.
Renowned Spoken Word poets Harold Green III and Lawrence "Binkey" Tolefree will host the Invitational.
The Invitational will also feature a professional disc jockey, a four-piece PEHS jazz ensemble, a jeweler selling leather/rock/copper pieces, and books for sale from Def Poet Kevin Coval, considered the “godfather” of Spoken Word poetry.
The JFK and Plainfield East High School poetry clubs have teamed up this year. About 30 students from the two schools have been meeting and performing together through the first half of the school year.
“The high school students have been mentoring the middle school students while creating a unique bond that will continue to grow as the eighth graders move on to the high school,” said JFK 8th grade language arts teacher Jennifer Gruca.
Gruca started the Spoken Word poetry clubs at both schools in 2011. The PEHS Spoken Word Poetry team took first place in December 2011 in the Far West Suburban “Louder Than a Bomb” Spoken Word Poetry Competition.
Four professional poets have also held workshops this fall for the District 202 students. Coval will also conduct workshops for JFK students during the day on November 16, 2012.