Ken Arkind and Minor Disturbance rep Denver in HBO's Brave New Voices

Categories: Poetry

ken arkind.jpg
This is what Ken Arkind's "brave voice" looks like.
Young poets from Denver's slam poetry scene have taken their words and images far beyond the confines of the city. The HBO special Brave New Voices premiered this week and featured performances from Minor Disturbance, Denver's very own youth Slam Team led by Ken Arkind. The special, co-produced by hip-hop maven Russell Simmons and featuring hosts Rosario Dawson and Common, follows the 2010 National Slam Team championships in L.A.

Arkind, who was in New York last week for the formal premiere, said the Denver team's appearance alongside crews from New York, Albuquerque and California's Bay Area was a major accomplishment for the local scene.

"I think its important for Denver," Arkind said via e-mail. "It could bring a lot of hope to some of the young folks in Denver. The truth is that the Denver team made Slam history in a way that no adult team ever has."

For all of the local significance of the special, which will run on HBO through next month, there doesn't seem to be an overwhelming amount of support from the network brass. Arkind, who helped lead the Minor Disturbance team to a fourth-place slot in the global competition earlier this year, said promotion from HBO for the special has been somewhat lacking.

"[The producers] were talking about how HBO really isn't doing much hype for it," Arkind said from New York last week after attending the red carpet premiere. "I'm getting some insight. There doesn't seem to be a lot of press for it. HBO isn't really backing it up."

Be that as it may, HBO has posted poems from Jose Guerro, Eli Lynch, Dominique Sample, Kyle Sutherland, Libby Howard and Elizabeth Cheever on the special's website.

Here's a sample of the Denver team's HBO input. The poem "Sweatshop" was written by Jose Guerro and Eli Lynch.

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