Poet laureate Carol Muske-Dukes and the award-winning teen poetry troupe, the GetLit! Players, will kick off the first annual “Poetry Slam” Wednesday, February 10th at Santa Monica High School.

Sponsored by the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation, the event featuring performances of spoken word and classical poetry is scheduled at 7 p.m. in the Humanities Center Theatre at the high school, 601 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica.

Poetry Slam also features the artistry of high school student poets as well as surprise guest artists.

In honor of poetry month at Santa Monica High School, English Department chair Jennifer Pust said she encouraged her colleague and fellow English teacher, Pete Barazza, to start a program in his classroom during lunch on Fridays for students interested in expanding their performance and writing skills through poetry. The program is similar to the concept from the film “Dead Poets Society,” starring Robin Williams, she notes.

“We’re really excited about the opportunity to reignite enthusiasm for poetry,” Pust said of the Poetry Slam. “If we can make poetry cool, we’re in good shape. This isn’t a dead art form, and it’s not restricted to people of a certain race or culture or economic class.”

Pust added that it is an honor for students to have the chance to perform their poetry and to read and hear the work of the state’s poet laureate as well as the GetLit! Players as they “bring literature to life.”

Muske-Dukes, a professor of English at USC, is the noted author of seven books of poetry, most recently Sparrow, a National Book Award finalist published by Random House in 2003. She has performed with the GetLit! Players, whose mission is to increase teen literacy through classical poetry as well as spoken word.

The event is part of ED LIVE!, a series that benefits the Education Foundation and features events to engage and entertain the community.

Poetry Slam tickets are available on a first come, first served basis at a cost of $10 for students and seniors and $20 for adults. Seating is limited.

To purchase tickets, (310) 396-4557.

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