What is Brave New Voices?

San Francisco-based Youth Speaks Inc. started Brave New Voices (BNV) in 1998 to promote youth poetry across the United States and the world. BNV has since grown to include 70+ cities and hundreds of emerging poets. Each year, BNV brings together a cohort of dedicated young artists, educators, and internationally renowned spoken word poets. They engage in a week-long festival that includes writing workshops, open mics, guest performances, town halls, and a culminating youth slam.

BNV has also been broadcasted on HBO.

ProvSlam Youth Team

Providence has sent a youth team to BNV for nearly a decade. And we are committed to doing so as part of a strategic effort to revitalize the 401's youth poetry scene. The team consists of 5 youth poets (selected from the Youth Finals in February), 2 adult coaches, 1 assistant coach (now typically a BNV alum), the staff at ProvSlam and New Urban Arts, and 5 adult poet mentors from the Providence community. There is no cost to be on the Youth Team.

Curriculum + Timeline

September to February

  • ProvSlam hosts writing workshops every 1st and 3rd Thursday at New Urban Arts (705 Westminster St., across the street from Classical High School).
  • New Urban Arts hosts weekly writing workshops every Monday (2:45-4:45 pm) and Thursday (4:45-6:45pm) with spoken word artist mentor, Sydney "La Sirena" Peak.
  • Youth poets read and slam during Youth Poetry Night every 3rd Thursday at AS220 (115 Empire Street). For information on how to slam see our Youth page or Slam FAQ.
  • Top 2 poets from each Youth Night advance to Youth Finals in February.
  • Top 5 poets from Youth Finals represent Providence at BNV.

February onward

  • ProvSlam assembles team, coaches, and community poet mentors.
  • We continue hosting writing workshops every 1st and 3rd Thursday at New Urban Arts and Youth Poetry Night every 3rd Thursday at AS220.
  • New Urban Arts also continues to host weekly writing workshops every Monday and Thursday with Sydney Peak.

March to June

  • The Youth Team begins meeting 3 times a week with coaches at New Urban Arts after school.
  • Each youth poet will write at least 2 individual poems and 2 poems in collaboration with their peers.
  • Each poem will be read, revised, memorized, and blocked for performance.
  • Poets will have opportunities to showcase these poems at venues across Providence, including a feature As220 at New Urban Arts.
  • Poets will also show their work at the regional youth slam at the legendary Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City.

June to July

  • The Youth Team will increase meetings to 5 times a week with coaches at New Urban Arts. This will coincide with the end of the academic school year.
  • Each youth poet will finish revising, memorizing, and blocking their individual and group poems for performance.
  • Poets will practice performing their poems in front of community members and friends at AS220 and New Urban Arts.
  • Finally, after months of hard work, poets embark for Brave New Voices!

Coaches + Mentors

ProvSlam brings together vibrant and experienced poets to coach the Youth Team. This year they are Muggs Fogarty and Paul Tran.

The coaches will guide the Youth Team through the creation and practice of their work. They'll also provide insight on strengthening, innovating, and sustaining a creative practice.

Coaches are funded through a generous grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA).

There will also be 5 community poet mentors assigned to each participating member of the Youth Team. These mentors offer poets yet another layer of support in imagining and bringing their writing to life. They work concertedly with the coaches to maintain a rigorous and intensive creative space and to address any concerns during the journey to BNV.

Getting Involved

If you're interested in becoming a member of the Youth Team, in coaching or mentoring, or in supporting our programs financially, please email choi.franny@gmail.com or laura.brown.lavoie@gmail.com.