Press Release - Detail
Contact:  Chanda Temple, Director of Public Relations
Birmingham Public Library                   
Phone: (205) 444-9279 (cell)

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA (October 30, 2013) ­– The Birmingham Public Library’s Teen Poetry Initiative and Real Life Poets will host a free poetry workshop on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 at 2 p.m. The class will be held in the Youth Department’s Story Castle on the second floor of the downtown library, 2100 Park Place. The event is free and open to middle and high school students.  The workshop will be held on the first Saturday of every month, and is for all skill levels.

The workshop will help train students on how to use language, poise and presentation effectively to get their message across and to connect with others. For the last three years, RLP instructor John Paul Taylor has been leading informal poetry workshops for teenagers at the downtown Birmingham library to help them prepare for WORD UP!, an annual poetry slam for high school students in Jefferson County. The next WORD UP! will be Sunday, April 6, 2014 at the downtown library. For those students interested in taking their poetry talents to an even higher level, BPL and RLP will help sponsor a slam team to compete at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival in Philadelphia in 2014.

Taylor’s efforts have yielded winning results. He led a Birmingham team to compete in the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival in Chicago this summer. For the first time in the history of the festival, a Birmingham teen team competed and did well enough to go on to the semi-finals. The accomplishment was almost unheard of for first-time teams.  Their success was a testament to the dedication and talent of the team, the BPL staff, RLP and Taylor.  

Through the years, BPL has worked to respond to the growing trend in youth composing and performing poetry. BPL created the Nov. 2 workshop with the hopes of expanding its reach to emerging poets and perfecting the talents of current teen participants. A grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts helps fund these poetry activities. For more information, call 205-226-3670.

Note: Real Life Poets will host a teen open mic night, known as Flow Tactics, every third Thursday at 6 p.m. at Desert Island Supply Co. in Woodlawn, 5500 First Ave. North. The event is free and open to high school students. For more information, contact John Paul Taylor at

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