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The 'Get Lit' school program helps young poets find a voice — and self-confidence




Khamal Iwuanyanwu is one of 19 young poets whose writing is featured in the forthcoming book
Khamal Iwuanyanwu is one of 19 young poets whose writing is featured in the forthcoming book "Get Lit Rising."
Courtesy of Get Lit
Khamal Iwuanyanwu is one of 19 young poets whose writing is featured in the forthcoming book
Get Lit founder Diane Luby Lane, left, and poet Marquesha Babers read from the new book "Get Lit Rising."
Courtesy of Get Lit
Khamal Iwuanyanwu is one of 19 young poets whose writing is featured in the forthcoming book
Some students have a chance to become part of the professional performance group, The Get Lit Players. These young poets travel around to perform in high schools throughout Los Angeles County.
Courtesy of Get Lit


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Teenagers have a way to turn angst and pain into poetry through the spoken word project, Get Lit — Words Ignite. The program started 10 years ago as an effort to use poetry as a way to increase teen literacy — and it’s working.

Today, thousands of teens at dozens of schools in Southern California go through the program each year. The students study and memorize classic poems then write and perform their own. Now the work of 19 star poets has been collected in a new book called "Get Lit Rising."

The program’s founder, Diane Luby Lane, came by The Frame’s studio with one of the young poets featured in the book. Lane explained how the Get Lit process works:

It was important to us that our students not just write and tell their own stories, which is incredibly important, but also appreciate and feel connected to the stories by poets that have come before them. 

Lane was joined by poet Marquesha Babers, who shared why the program has been so valuable to her.

I used to put myself on this back-burner and [think], Okay, well, I gotta take care of my mom, my brothers. I've gotta take care of this, this, this, and then I never get the chance to come around and take care of myself. Being in Get Lit and doing the things I do has given me the opportunity to take care of myself along with everyone else.

"Get Lit Rising" is out on October 18th.

 



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