Brave New Voices – Kansas City’s National Teen Poetry Slam Team
For the last four years, Kansas City has sent a team to Brave New Voices, the national teen poetry slam team. During the school year the Blue Room at the American Jazz Museum hosts a teen poetry slam the fourth Tuesday of every month. People don’t always know this, but there are tons of poetry open mics in Kansas and Missouri, one almost every night of the week in Kansas City. Late in the spring last year, Daniel Christensen materialized onto our stage hailing from Van Horn high school to compete for the last spot on the 2011 Kansas City team. Instead, Phillip Gregory won the spot that month with this poem which is now the most viewed poem of all on Poetry for Personal Power’s You-Tube Channel.
The Kansas City Brave New Voices team went to Pasadena for the 2011 Brave New Voices but didn’t make the finals. There was one incredible moment when Zendriz Berndt was in first of all the poets with this poem “Homeless” . But that was the first round, and other rounds brought more scores… The event was shown on HBO. This winning poem from Denver spoke about earning a 6.2 in the poet’s first poetry slam. It was Wellness Wordwork’s inspiration for the “Please Cut our Budgets” campaign, where we talk about ways to fix the mental health system while saving money.
Brave New Voices is the event that Poetry for Personal Power draws inspiration from. This is the power of spoken word poetry, because, as the Denver team says, “poetry changes things.” In this post we’re highlighting Daniel Christensen, because you may or may not see him this summer at Brave New Voices. He earned a spot this year for our Kansas City Brave New Voices Team, but he’s also enlisted in the US Marines and has boot camp during the event. It’s possible he may be excused, but no one knows at this point.
Here is Daniel Christensen admitting that he’d been blowing us away for five months with Freestyle. Here’s his first shot at spoken word that started earning his way to Kansas City’s Brave New Voices team:
Here is the second video we caught. This is performed with a friend of his playing on the keyboards.
Here is his most recent performance, at October’s Jazz Poetry Jams in the Blue Room.