November 26, 2008

Indian School's poetry club

N.M. Spoken Word Club Explores Indian Identity, HistoryJEFFREY BROWN: It was an evening of slam poetry on a recent Friday in Santa Fe, with young people offering stories through verse about their identities and experience.

STUDENTS: My native tongue blistered and burned. Cursed wind spit seeds of dead trees, spreading chaos through her skeletal branches.

JEFFREY BROWN: But these teenagers were Native Americans, members of the Spoken Word Club at the Santa Fe Indian School, and their stories--about holding onto a culture--are unlike those heard at most gatherings like this.

HEILERY YUSELEW, student: (speaking native language) I am your Mother Earth.
And:JEFFREY BROWN: The Spoken Word Club was founded seven years ago by Tim McLaughlin, a Virginia native, who also teaches creative writing at the school.

TIM MCLAUGHLIN: Sing with wings, nod at God. Do you remember that one?

JEFFREY BROWN: The club, which is voluntary, meets every Wednesday night, and students work through the long process from page to stage, writing their poems, memorizing them, rehearsing them.

TIM MCLAUGHLIN: It's very intensive and very formative, and the kids come out as stronger people. And it's a reconnection for the kids to the oral tradition, to the origin.
Comment:  To hear the students speak, go to Poetry Series:  Santa Fe Indian School.

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