Light up – Words ignite, the Los Angeles-based educational nonprofit whose mission is to increase literacy, empower youth, and energize communities through poetry and visual media, will hold its 11th Annual Classic Poetry Slam from April 21-23, 2022. The three-day Classic Slam event, which culminates in the Grand Slam Finals, is the largest Classical Poetry Slam in the world and features hundreds of young poets from schools across California. These young poets will come together to perform classic poems and original response pieces live, live, in front of a jury. The public is invited to watch the live broadcast of the Grand Slam finals on April 23 from 5:00 p.m. PST on ClassicSlam.org. This year’s judges will include world-renowned authors, poets, artists and cultural luminaries such as Safia Elhillo, Brian Sonia-Wallace, Yesika Salgado, Sam Rush and Edwin Bodney. The 2022 slam will be hosted by an actress, activist and poet Ashley August with poet Vanessa Tahay and will also feature DJ Franky.
Light up – Words ignite, one of the nation’s leading nonprofit arts and literacy organizations for spoken poetry and film. The organization fuses classical and spoken poetry to increase literacy, empower youth and inspire communities.
On April 21 and 22, students will compete in the quarter-finals and semi-finals to earn a spot in the Classic Slam 2022 final on April 23. Get Lit will award over $10,000 in cash and prizes to poets and educators. The 2022 Classic Slam will be streamed through and through www.ClassicSlam.org. Online audiences will be able to watch their favorite team compete for the league title. Some of the participating Los Angeles high schools include LA School of Global Studies, Hamilton, Larchmont Charter, Animo Inglewood, Venice High School, Cleveland High School, Harvard-Westlake, San Gabriel High School, and more.
light up was founded in 2006 after Diane Luby Lane created a solo show about the power of books and toured middle schools, high schools, prisons and detention centers with iconic Chicano poet Jimmy Santiago Baca. After the show ended, Lane began teaching classical and spoken word poetry at three high schools: Fairfax, Fremont, and walt whitmann Continuation. Today, the program has grown to over 140 schools across California and is sold to schools around the world. light upThe poetic ambassadors of Get Lit Players have over 350 million views online.
light up invites students to recite classic poems and then perform their own oral responses. This creates a dialogue between the classical poet and the student. However, at light up a classic isn’t a classic because it’s old, it’s a classic because it’s great. Participating in The classic snap are equally likely to perform the work of Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost as they must hear poems by Elizabeth Acevedo and Tupac Shakur. “We are thrilled to be back in person after hosting the last two Classic Slams virtually,” said Diane Luby Lane, Founder of Get Lit. “This year’s event will bring together hundreds of students, many of whom will be entering the competition for the first time.”
This year, the Classic Slam is sponsored by VANS, We Rise LA, the Rosenthal Family Foundation, LA vs. HURRY.
Verify a video from the original Light up the classic slamfeaturing young Southern California poets below!
April 23 on ClassicSlam.org
ABOUT GET LIT
Light up – Words ignite is a Los Angeles-based nonprofit founded in 2006 by author and educator Diane Luby Lane, to increase literacy, empower youth and energize communities through poetry and visual media. The organization aims to transform the lives of young people around the world through classical and spoken poetry. Through the use of specialized curricula, the program engages youth by providing a creative outlet, community, and real-world work experience, transforming students into activists, scholars, and stars.
The only program of its kind in the country, Get Lit has created a unique call and response model where students identify classic poems that resonate with their own stories and write original responses, inspiring students to discover, develop and amplify their voice. while learning and exploring classical poetry of the past and present. At Get Lit, “a classic isn’t a classic because it’s old, a classic is a classic because it’s awesome.”
Get Lit reaches 50,000 young people aged 9 to adult each year through its in-school and after-school programs. The instruction culminates in the Three Day Classic Slam, the largest classical poetry competition for young people in the country. Get Lit is also home to the Get Lit Players (GLPs), an award-winning youth poetry troupe that has collaborated with the United Nations, john legendthe White House, and more, inspiring their peers to read, write, uplift their communities, and participate in the arts.
85% of Get Lit students come from disadvantaged regions; 92% are students of color. Get Lit reaches students whether they’re front row, back in the classroom, or online. Graduate students have achieved successes, including positions as America’s Young Poet Laureates, Top Television Writers, United Nations Youth Ambassadors, Grammy-winning Artists, and Fulbright Scholars. Get Lit was chosen as the best practice winner of the 2020 Library of Congress Literacy Awards, one of only 15 in the world. Additionally, Diane Luby Lane’s book Get Lit Rising (Simon & Schuster) won the 2016 Nautilus Award for books that “provide hope, healing, wisdom and joy.”
Premiering at the 2022 Santa Barbara Film Festival, the documentary OUR WORDS MEET features 5 poets from the program and provides timely insight into how the Get Lit program can be transformative for young people, especially in recent years. The Anti-Defamation League awarded its ADL Stand Up Awards in film during the 2022 Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The ADL Stand Up Award is given to a film that exemplifies the impact that storytelling can have in promoting mutual understanding and respect, consistent with the mission of ADL to ensure “justice and fair treatment for all”.
In January, it was announced that Get Lit is now a partner of the Writers Guild Foundation on a screenwriting program for young people that will help a new generation of diverse storytellers benefit from one-on-one mentorship from some of the best writers in film and television today. The two-year program will allow participants to create a final script that can be offered, optioned, produced, or used as an example to gain performance or employment.
27 Get Lit poets also co-wrote and starred in the film “Summer time” directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada. The film premiered on the opening night of the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and opened in theaters across the United States in 2021. The film is currently available on Amazon and other platforms , and a PG version is available for classrooms. The Get Lit Poets have performed at such prominent venues as the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Hollywood Bowl, White House, and the United Nations.
In early 2022, Get Lit will officially launch Uni(verse), the world’s first interactive poetry platform for the classroom, community and beyond. Get Lit’s Uni(verse) will allow students from the United States and around the world to take Get Lit’s standards-aligned “Words Ignite” course online and exchange ideas both in and out. outside the school. It will feature Get Lit’s Interactive poetic anthology, searchable by poet, theme, literary device, etc. Uni(verse) will build and strengthen communication, collaboration, empathy and community across the world through the vehicle of poetry.