In collaboration with Get Lit: Get Lit – Words Ignite unites classic and spoken word poetry to empower youth and inspire communities. By engaging youth in literature in and after school, Get Lit allows teens to become engaged in their own futures and unearth their potential. "Claim your poem, claim your life.”
Animo Inglewood Charter High School, 18 years old
"Yesterday" by Debbie S. Warren
What is the name of your original poem? What is the name of the classic poem that inspired your original?
The name of my poem is “Tomorrow”. The name of the classic poem is “Yesterday” by Debbie S. Warren.
What inspired you to write your response?
Well, my first draft of the poem was a lot different than the one I have performed recently. The first one was about how my father and I are really similar. But my mom ended up finding that poem, and that really affected me. I didn’t even want to read my poem again because I felt so uncomfortable. But then my coach, Mr. Ames, told me that I should incorporate that into my new poem, and that’s why I got to where I'm at right now.
Do you believe you would have shared your story like this without your poem?
I would have never shared my story if I hadn't written my poem because my mom and I don’t really talk about my dad anymore, and it’s always really uncomfortable whenever we do talk about him. Also, I don’t really like telling people that much about my personal life. Even when I was writing this I thought, “Oh my god. Is this too personal? Should I not include this information?”
In your poem, you said you were struggling with school at the time. How has Get Lit helped you overcome those struggles?
After the final performance, I remember lying in bed and finally thinking that I was really proud of myself for being able to write a poem and perform it. Hearing the people cheer for something that I wrote, it was amazing, honestly. It has been a while since I have felt that proud of myself for something.
What impact has your coaches and teachers at Get Lit had on you? Clearly, this poem is very personal. How did they help you open up?
Well, my coach, Mr. Ames, helped me write and perform the poem. He helped me with basically everything. But my team, including Mr. Ames, has been really supportive of me. They were there cheering for me and right when I got off of the stage, they were there to hug me. I couldn’t stop crying. That, I think, helped me the most throughout this whole experience.
What impact has Get Lit had on you?
For me, Get Lit has given me the opportunity to perform. It has also given me the opportunity to simply write this poem because I would have never written it if it had not been for the Classic Slam.
What do you love about poetry?
I love the fact that I can take the time to actually reflect on these things that have happened in my life and write about them. By doing that, I have some closure for myself. That’s what I love about poetry.