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Summer Of The Slam: How two fearless Baltimore poetry slam teams took over the nation

Summer Of The Slam: How two fearless Baltimore poetry slam teams took over the nation

"Why do you want to win?" Victor "Slangston Hughes" Rodgers, 33, asks an eager group of five young poets at the Edward R. Murrow Park in Washington, D.C., back in July.

He has been coaching youth poetry teams for the last five years, but this team, the sixth Baltimore Citywide Youth Poetry Team to compete in the international poetry slam competition, Brave New Voices, is different: Every youth involved has competed in local poetry slam competitions—they are experienced with scoreboards, the poetic use of silence, and electrifying elocution.

There's silence after Slangston Hughes asks that question—the type of soft, serious...

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