043033 UC Ingalls Mental Health Awareness Month Ad Reoirter
SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Stagg High School students are ‘slammed’ by creative force

burke and students photo 10 4

Photo by Kelly White

Kevin Burke, a native of Chicago’s South Side, performs a poetry slam for English students on Monday at Stagg High School in Palos Hills.

By Kelly White

Renowned poetry slam artist Kevin Burke stole the attention of Stagg High School’s students on Monday with his clever wit and quick thinking.

Burke, a native of Chicago’s South Side, performed a live poetry slam for English students of all grade levels throughout the day at the high school, 8015 W. 111th St., Palos Hills.

Slam poetry, or competitive poetry, is the competitive art of performance poetry. It puts a dual emphasis on writing and performance, encouraging poets to focus on what they’re saying and how they’re saying it.

“If anything, I hope the students realize that poetry is alive and well, and that it is more than just work written ages ago,” Burke said. “That while there is value in the classics, there is work being made right now that is so vibrant and relevant.”

Stagg high school students found value in the non-traditional poetry approach, including Mary Gogola, 14.

“It’s a lot of fun learning about different styles of poetry,” said Gogola, of Palos Hills.

“It was really moving in a way that wasn’t just emotional, but really powerful and needed,” said Ashley Nanoz 17, of Palos Hills.

Aside from studying poetry in English courses, Stagg High School also has a poetry club and students are able to compete in their own poetry competitions.

“This is a wonderful learning experience for our students,” said Sandra Mech, division chair of English and Music at Stagg High School. “We like to encourage students to think outside of the box.”

“The slam poetry performance is an awesome opportunity for students to experience the power of the spoken word,” said Chris Wendelin, English teacher at Stagg High School. “As English teachers, we try to make classics relevant and essays applicable to the real world, but in one afternoon, Kevin Burke makes self-expression through reading and writing extremely cool. Kids’ jaws drop and it’s always something they keep talking about for the rest of the year. I love witnessing kids fall in love with poetry on the spot.”

Burke, a San Antonio, Texas firefighter, does not allow himself to be classified by just one category. A former punk rock artist, his honesty on stage and his voice rooted in hip-hop rhythm and punk-rock passion have led him to excel in the poetry world.

He began writing as a young child, anything from short stories, creative non-fiction to songs. However, it wasn’t until he entered college that he became interested in poetry.

“Up until that point, all the poetry I had been exposed to was either decades or centuries old, or felt like it was inaccessible,” Burke said. “It came off as so pretentious. It wasn’t until college when I started getting more into underground hip-hop and learned that a lot of the emcees I liked had been slam poets before making music. It was poetry that was approachable while still being well crafted, and most important to me, it felt honest. Ever since then, I’ve been writing and performing poetry pretty much nonstop. The art and the community surrounding it have helped me through some of the toughest times in my life.”

After graduating from the University of Iowa, Burke moved to Austin, Texas in 2009. It was there he really dug his roots as a slam poet, and he has accomplished many things to prove just that. He competed in the National Poetry Slam as a member of the Austin Poetry Slam Team, and toured nationally with poets Zachary Caballero and “Good Ghost” Bill Moran. He has also worked with Grammy winning vocal ensemble Conspirare, Derrick Brown, Anis Mojgani, and Christian O’Keefe Aptowicz.

His accomplishments do not stop there. He is also the president and founder of poetry press Timber Mouse Publishing. He has four published chapbooks, has had self-written poetry published in major publications, and has an album of poetry and music available called, “This is Ramshackle Freedom.”

“While on the surface it may not seem as though slam poetry directly connects to the more classic texts we study in my classes, I love bringing my students because it gives them the chance to see language and poetry used in a way that is immediately accessible, relevant, and fun,” said Sheli Thoss, English teacher at Stagg High School.

Students agreed.

“This was my first time hearing a live poetry reading,” said Leah Camacho, 14, of Palos Hills. “It gave me an entire new look on poetry.”

“It both related to a high school audience, but didn’t in a good way,” said Samantha Fitzpatrick, 16, of Palos Park. “Most speakers that come in feel like they need to act or talk like a teenager, but he was able to relate to us by talking about a tough time through his poems.”

Local News

reporter coffee with a cop1 5-26

Coffee with a Cop in Palos Park

Palos Park police are again asking residents to join them for a cup of joe at “Coffee With A Cop” at the Plush Horse, 12301 S. 86th Avenue. On May 12, residents were encouraged to bring their public safety concerns and stop by for a cup of coffee and to chat with officers Kevin Green…

Orland Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady talks with a recruiter at last fall’s job fair. (File photo)

Orland Township to host summer job fair June 7

From staff reports Orland Township will host its Summer Job Fair on Tuesday, June 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Orland Township Activity Center, 14807 S. Ravinia Avenue, Orland Park. The fair is open to all members of the public, and attendance is highly encouraged. Nearly 30 companies will be attending, representing…

John Kosmowski

Feds indict Summit police chief, building inspector

Indictment says they shared a bribe over liquor license for the Mars Bar A federal grand jury this week indicted Summit Police Chief John Kosmowski and building inspector Bill Mundy with sharing a bribe from a business owner in 2017 to facilitate the transfer of a liquor license for the Mars Bar. The indictment returned…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound May 25, 2022

regional orland memorial day 2022 preview

Orland Park to add 7 names during Memorial Day ceremony

The Orland Park community is invited to join the village this Memorial Day in remembrance of those who have given their lives for our country. The ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, May 30, at the village’s memorial, Ara Pace – Place of Peace, located outside of Village Hall at 14700 S.…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Girls Soccer: De La Salle tops Bremen for program’s first regional title

By Steve Millar Correspondent De La Salle coach Carlos Nunez has seen his teams come up a bit short in the postseason repeatedly over the years. The Meteors had never won a regional championship in girls soccer. Until this year, that is. “I’ve been in every single one that we’ve lost in,” Nunez said. “We’ve…

Mallory Pugh, middle, moves the ball during the preseason. She played her first NWSL game Sunday and had two goals and an assist. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pro soccer report: Pugh tallies twice return in Red Stars’ win over Orlando

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Mallory Pugh gave a sample of what could be a big 2022 season when she scored four goals in the exhibition Challenge Cup series. But the Red Stars scoring threat missed the first two games of the NWSL season with an injury, and the team split decisions against Louisville and…

Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 8.23.03 AM

New ward map OKed

Reflects Madigan’s power By Tim Hadac The City Council this week approved a new ward map that, among other things, will see all of Clearing and most of Garfield Ridge shifted to the 13th Ward. Midway International Airport also would shift from the 23rd Ward to the 13th. Monday’s 43-7 vote means the issue will…

Sandburg's Jeremy Johnson, the hero of a semifinal win over Homewood-Flossmoor, legs out a hit in a 6-3 loss to Lockport on Saturday at Ozinga Field. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup: Sandburg takes 2nd at Bajenski tourney

By Jeff Vorva Staff writer The Sandburg baseball team has had more downs than ups this season. But the Eagles finished the regular season on a strong note with a run to second place at the Steven M. Bajenski Memorial Tournament, which wrapped up May 21 at Ozinga Field in Crestwood. To get to the…

Sandburg's 3200 meter relay team of (left to right) Sean Marquardt Declan Tunney, Trent Anderson and Brock Rice ran the third-best time in the nation Thursday at Lockport and finished in second place. Photo courtesy of Sandburg High School.

Track Postseason Report: Sandburg boys 3200 relay records nation’s third-best time in 2022

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer How good was the competition in the boys track Class 3A Lockport Sectional in the 3200 meter relay? Sandburg’s relay team of Brock Rice, Declan Tunney, Trent Anderson and Sean Marquardt ran a time of 7:42.42, which tied for the third-best time in the nation in 2022. And that was…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
reporter coffee with a cop1 5-26

Coffee with a Cop in Palos Park

Palos Park police are again asking residents to join them for a cup of joe at “Coffee With A Cop” at the Plush Horse, 12301 S. 86th Avenue. On May 12, residents were encouraged to bring their public safety concerns and stop by for a cup of coffee and to chat with officers Kevin Green…

Orland Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady talks with a recruiter at last fall’s job fair. (File photo)

Orland Township to host summer job fair June 7

From staff reports Orland Township will host its Summer Job Fair on Tuesday, June 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Orland Township Activity Center, 14807 S. Ravinia Avenue, Orland Park. The fair is open to all members of the public, and attendance is highly encouraged. Nearly 30 companies will be attending, representing…

John Kosmowski

Feds indict Summit police chief, building inspector

Indictment says they shared a bribe over liquor license for the Mars Bar A federal grand jury this week indicted Summit Police Chief John Kosmowski and building inspector Bill Mundy with sharing a bribe from a business owner in 2017 to facilitate the transfer of a liquor license for the Mars Bar. The indictment returned…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound May 25, 2022

regional orland memorial day 2022 preview

Orland Park to add 7 names during Memorial Day ceremony

The Orland Park community is invited to join the village this Memorial Day in remembrance of those who have given their lives for our country. The ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, May 30, at the village’s memorial, Ara Pace – Place of Peace, located outside of Village Hall at 14700 S.…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Girls Soccer: De La Salle tops Bremen for program’s first regional title

By Steve Millar Correspondent De La Salle coach Carlos Nunez has seen his teams come up a bit short in the postseason repeatedly over the years. The Meteors had never won a regional championship in girls soccer. Until this year, that is. “I’ve been in every single one that we’ve lost in,” Nunez said. “We’ve…

Mallory Pugh, middle, moves the ball during the preseason. She played her first NWSL game Sunday and had two goals and an assist. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pro soccer report: Pugh tallies twice return in Red Stars’ win over Orlando

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Mallory Pugh gave a sample of what could be a big 2022 season when she scored four goals in the exhibition Challenge Cup series. But the Red Stars scoring threat missed the first two games of the NWSL season with an injury, and the team split decisions against Louisville and…

Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 8.23.03 AM

New ward map OKed

Reflects Madigan’s power By Tim Hadac The City Council this week approved a new ward map that, among other things, will see all of Clearing and most of Garfield Ridge shifted to the 13th Ward. Midway International Airport also would shift from the 23rd Ward to the 13th. Monday’s 43-7 vote means the issue will…

Sandburg's Jeremy Johnson, the hero of a semifinal win over Homewood-Flossmoor, legs out a hit in a 6-3 loss to Lockport on Saturday at Ozinga Field. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup: Sandburg takes 2nd at Bajenski tourney

By Jeff Vorva Staff writer The Sandburg baseball team has had more downs than ups this season. But the Eagles finished the regular season on a strong note with a run to second place at the Steven M. Bajenski Memorial Tournament, which wrapped up May 21 at Ozinga Field in Crestwood. To get to the…

Sandburg's 3200 meter relay team of (left to right) Sean Marquardt Declan Tunney, Trent Anderson and Brock Rice ran the third-best time in the nation Thursday at Lockport and finished in second place. Photo courtesy of Sandburg High School.

Track Postseason Report: Sandburg boys 3200 relay records nation’s third-best time in 2022

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer How good was the competition in the boys track Class 3A Lockport Sectional in the 3200 meter relay? Sandburg’s relay team of Brock Rice, Declan Tunney, Trent Anderson and Sean Marquardt ran a time of 7:42.42, which tied for the third-best time in the nation in 2022. And that was…

DVN McDonalds 7701 Harlem House Ad
CRR NH Father Sons Home Improvement House Ad