Segments in this Video

Introduction to Spoken Word Youth Poets (01:02)


Excerpts from students' spoken word performances give a taste of the power and impact of poetry.

Yosimar Reyes: Youth Poet (03:28)

Yosimar Reyes, a slam poet from San Jose, California, describes his family background and immigration story, as well as the challenges he faces while living in the projects. He writes to give voice to the people who "nobody listens to."

San Francisco's Youth Speaks Poetry Slam (02:20)

Young poets prepare for a slam poetry competition. The rules and judging criteria of the Youth Speaks Slam in San Francisco are introduced. James Kass, the Executive Director of Youth Speaks, believes slam marked the rebirth of American poetry.

George Watsky: Youth Poet (00:45)

George Watsky, the San Francisco Youth Slam Champion, explains the motivation for his poem about the power of love.

Slam Poetry as a Generation's Outlet (01:10)

Slam poetry allows young people to find affirmation for their expression of creativity, intellect, and political ideology. Yosimar Reyes describes his need for writing. Aya de Leon, a writer and educator, calls slam the voice of a generation.

Young People Finding Voices: Emiliano Bourgois-Chacon & Meilani Clay (01:39)

Emiliano Bourgois-Chacon, the San Francisco Youth Poet Laureate, performs "San Francisco Tears." Poet Meilani Clay performs and reacts to her high score. Writer, performer, and actor Saul Williams emphasizes the significance of finding one's voice.

Youth Speaks in San Francisco (00:58)

Emiliano Bourgois-Chacon describes the way he got involved with Youth Speaks. The Executive Director of Youth Speaks explains the organization's relationship with San Francisco.

Meilani Clay: Poetry & Identity (01:10)

Meilani Clay, a San Francisco Youth Slam Champion, elaborates on how writing makes up her identity. She performs at an open mic in front of peers and instructors.

Slam Poetry's Bay Area Home (00:60)

According to Youth Speaks Artistic Director Marc Bamuthi Joseph, the Bay Area's history of acceptance of any lifestyle, its convergence of cultures, and its art legacy allows slam poetry to thrive.

Youth Poetry Slam Festival: Brave New Voices (02:56)

350 poets from 36 cities compete in the 8th Annual International Youth Poetry Slam Festival. Upon his arrival in the city, Yosimar Reyes reacts to his surroundings and prepares for competition.

Yosimar Reyes: Homage to Grandmother (03:06)

Youth poet Yosimar Reyes performs a poem for his grandmother as he takes the camera crew through a day in his life. His grandmother collects cans to support her family, and Reyes hopes to one day support her.

Brave New Voices: Opening Night (03:40)

At the opening night of the Brave New Voices slam poetry competition, teams from around the world perform group pieces.

Brave New Voices: Day One (02:56)

On day one of the competition, young poets perform solo pieces. Meilani Clay describes the pressures of competition and the support of the writers' community. Yosimar Reyes explains the rules of advancing through the competition.

Brave New Voices Workshop in San Francisco (01:54)

At 826 Valencia in San Francisco, young writers attend the Brave New Voices workshop and explore their creativity and identity. Creative writing provides an alternative to standardized education.

George Watsky: Origins & Subjects of Writing (02:34)

Youth poet George Watsky describes his entry into the slam world. His poetry explores international issues and the concept of privilege.

Highlights from Brave New Voices Competition (01:38)

Sound bites from the Brave New Voices youth poetry slam shed light on the competitors and their experience. Poet Saul Williams affirms the poet's tendency to write about that which is hardest to talk about.

Emiliano Bourgois-Chacon: Writing About Disability (05:14)

Youth poet Emiliano Bourgois-Chacon writes moving and candid poetry about living with cerebral palsy.

Brave New Voices: Day Two (02:59)

Competitors perform on day two of the Brave New Voices slam poetry competition in San Francisco. Scores for group performances are revealed. Abiodun Oyewole, discusses the need for sharing one's writing with a community of writers.

Meilani Clay: Poem About Her Father (02:40)

Youth poet Meilani Clay performs and contextualizes a poem she wrote about her father's death and her anger surrounding the memory of him.

Brave New Voices: Day Three (02:38)

Competitors prepare for the highly attended Brave New Voices Grand Slam Finals in San Francisco.

Emiliano Bourgois-Chacon: Poem About His Mother (01:58)

San Francisco's Youth Poet Laureate, Emiliano Bourgois-Chacon, takes the stage at the Brave New Voices Grand Slam Finals. He performs a poem about his mother.

Brave New Voices: Grand Slam Finals (02:12)

Excerpts from the Brave New Voices Grand Slam Finals give a sampling of the competitors' pieces and of the excitement in the audience. The Artistic Director comments on the power of young people to create change, and one group of young men performs a piece about feminism.

Experiencing Brave New Voices (03:17)

Poet Saul Williams comments on the power of poetry and beauty to heal. Emiliano Bourgois-Chacon describes the feeling of connection he experiences with other poets, and one girl from New York performs a powerful piece about racist language.

Brave New Voices: Awards Ceremony (01:56)

At the Brave New Voices poetry slam in San Francisco, youth poets gather on stage at the awards ceremony to celebrate their work and vision.

Yosimar Reyes: Growth & Rebirth (03:37)

Youth poet Yosimar Reyes describes the way his writing has evolved since attending the Brave New Voices competition. He explores previously untapped subject matter and works to reestablish his identity.

Yosimar Reyes: Poem About Identity & Voice (02:10)

Youth poet Yosimar Reyes performs a poem about the intersecting challenges of homosexuality and immigrant identity.

Credits: 2nd Verse: The Rebirth of Poetry (01:07)

Credits: 2nd Verse: The Rebirth of Poetry

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2nd Verse: The Rebirth of Poetry

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Set in and around Oakland and San Francisco, this film examines urban teen life in the Bay Area through the rising popularity of poetry and spoken word. Youth performers include Emiliano Bourgois-Chacon, San Francisco’s Youth Poet Laureate, who reveals what it’s like to live with a physical disability; Meilani Clay, who voices her political and personal beliefs regarding race, body image, and family; San Francisco Youth Speaks slam champion Shannon Matesky; Yosimar Reyes, who explores the immigrant experience and personal challenges of race and sexuality; and George Watsky, who expresses his concerns about equality and privilege. Adult performers are also featured, including Marc Bamuthi Joseph, James Kass, Aya de Leon, Abiodun Oyewole, Raquel Topete, Saul Williams, and Ruben Zamora. “Adults will be gratified to see young people deriving enormous power from words, but the film’s greatest impact will be on middle and high school students,” says KQED Public Media for Northern California. (62 minutes)

Length: 63 minutes

Item#: BVL52176

ISBN: 978-1-61753-177-4

Copyright date: ©2007

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

“ inspirational crowd-pleaser in the mode of docs like Spellbound and Mad Hot Ballroom.  Variety


Jury Prize, Best Documentary, San Francisco Independent Film Festival


Best Film, International Documentary, London Independent Film Festival


Audience Award, Best Documentary, Santa Cruz Film Festival


Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.