PITTSFIELD -- Some spilled their guts and others chose topics from the price of gas to the curious phenomenon of sexting, but all poets who performed before a packed house in the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts on Tuesday received a raucous ovation.
The spoken word and slam poetry event, part of the city's ongoing WordXWord Festival, saw local teens join forces with visiting artists. It could be called warm-ups for the poetry competition set to continue through the week.
Poet and host Robbie Q. Telfer, of Chicago, set the tone.
"I really think that youth poetry is just as exciting as poetry by adults," Telfer said. "It's even better because it has hope in it. Which is the difference."
Fifteen local teen poets took the stage Tuesday.
The tight-knit group spoke of love, substance abuse, alienation, family and more.
"There is a lot of energy in this room," said performer Grace Grossman, prior to starting. "I almost can't talk."
Another, Caitlin Mayes, lost her first line and got help she needed called out by peers.
"See, they know it even better than me," she said.
New Jersey-based poet Omar Holmon later captivated the crowd with hilarious takes on everything from the trials and tribulations of being a "black nerd," to sexting and a toaster he owns that burns the visage of Jesus onto breakfast.
WordXWord continues through Saturday, with a poetry slam contest preliminaries beginning at 6:30 tonight at yBar. Semifinals finals follow Friday and Saturday, also at 6:30 p.m. at yBar.
Holmon will be taking part in a workshop open to all at 10 a.m. this morning at Dottie's Coffee Lounge.