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Poetry in Motion

Six teens slam the jams in a final workout before going to nationals.


As a tune-up for a national competition of teen poets in Washington D.C. next week, Cleveland's six-member Youth Poetry Slam Team gives a free demo tonight to show why it has a good chance to vocally trounce other squads from around the country. As his contribution, Cleveland School of the Arts senior Eric Odum will perform two original poems: "The Coalition," about gays and straights living in harmony, and "My Substance," which addresses his 5-foot-5, 225-pound frame. "My body is my body. If you're concerned about it, you obviously have nothing better to do with your life," says Odum. "Don't worry about me and my weight. I'm just fine."In April, a panel of judges chose the sextet from a field of 50 contestants who had taken part in Playhouse Square's annual Slam U poetry workshops for teen writers. On July 15, the team will travel to the nation's capital for the slamdown. "We're not going with the intention of winning. We're going there because it's a summit of teen poets. We go to hear what other people have to say," says Odum. "Of course, coming home in first place wouldn't be a negative thing." Slams start at 6:30 tonight at Idea Center's Westfield Insurance Studio Theatre, 1519 Euclid Avenue. Admission is free. Call 216-426-7335 or visit
Tue., July 8, 6:30 p.m., 2008

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