Poet laureates reign across the country, representing different cities and states like kings and queens of the written word. Often, they’re college professors with knee-deep resumes. Not so in Oakland, where being a professor would actually disqualify you: Oakland’s poet laureate has always been a high school student.
This year, Tova Ricardo earned the title of Oakland Youth Poet Laureate. From a young age, she was taught never to censor herself. That attitude caught the judges' attention. Now that she’s Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, she wants to show the rest of Oakland’s young literary community that they shouldn’t be afraid to speak out, either.
Some live performances are poetic -- and some aren’t. Imagine the most embarrassing moment of your life. (Really, the most humiliating thing that’s ever happened to you.) Now imagine standing on a stage in front of hundreds of strangers and telling them in detail about that time. That’s the concept behind "Mortified."
It’s a kind of tell-all performance art taking place in clubs across the U.S., where real people volunteer – in fact, they compete, and actually audition – to read from their personal, private childhood diaries. KALW's Ben Trefny stopped spoke with "Mortified"'s Bay Area producer, Scott Lifton, at the Make Out Room in San Francisco.