Presidential inauguration places poetry and Cleveland youth program within the highlight


The power of poetry – this week a young woman reminded the world how a tapestry of words can evoke so many emotions in us.

There are nonprofit voices here in northeast Ohio like Amanda Gorman’s Platform.

CONNECTED: Read youth poet Amanda Gorman’s full dedication poem, ‘The Hill We Climb’.

And while it’s not as big as a president’s dedication ceremony, it helps make our community a better country.

A two-story house on the East Side of Cleveland is a safe place to just be yourself.

Mary Barrett, youth program coordinator at Twelve Literary Arts, said the program “gives a voice to people who didn’t think they had one in their community.”

Twelve literary arts build confidence among young color artists through performance poetry and enable them “to share their truth and story,” Barrett said.

Interest in public relations at Twelve Literary Arts is expected to grow after Gorman’s time in the spotlight.

The 22-year-old made history as the youngest poet to appear at the presidential inauguration.

“We’re actually the same age and she’s very balanced. I think a lot of people just realized that poetry can take you anywhere if you watch it perform,” said Raja Belle Freeman of Twelve Literary Arts.

By definition: poetry is a literary work in which the expression of feelings and ideas is given particular intensity through the use of distinctive style and rhythm.

“It’s a different way of just expressing my feelings. I like how I feel,” said Tiyana Williams, intern at Twelve Literary Arts.

High school students like Williams weave words together in the hope of creating real change in places like Cleveland’s Hough neighborhood.

“They are more willing to grow their communities and work in their communities,” said Belle Freeman.

Belle Freeman, a teaching artist at Twelve Literary Arts, said poets use their art in their program to express the changes they want to see in Cleveland.

“There was a lot of interest in building a better community. And building on that change and becoming that change. Just like Amanda Gorman said – to be the light,” said Belle Freeman.

With this light now shining so brightly on poetry and the places it can take you, Twelve Literary Arts looks forward to welcoming a new wave of artistic talent.

“It has sparked a new interest in poetry that brings people to us to bring us new, eager students ready to learn,” said Belle Freeman.

Twelve literary arts are hosting an online open mic night on Thursday, February 4th at 5:30 p.m. The goal of the Open Mic Poetry series is “to provide space and equal energy to raise and highlight our youth voices,” a representative of the group said. Further details about the event can be found on the Facebook event page hereand those interested in attending can register here.