Poetry Slam Champ: YaKuZa Moon Claims Citywide Title [POEMS]

“The three poems I did tonight came from a very personal place.”

Martha Dawson

With poems about Navajo reservation life and the events of Detroit in 1967, 17-year-old YaKuZa Moon won the 2017 Detroit Youth Poetry Grand Slam Thursday.

He and four other students — Wes, Ashley Rae, LaShawn, and Damon — will represent Detroit at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival in San Francisco this summer. They’re all part of InsideOut Literary Arts Citywide Poets program.

The key to YaKuZa’s win? “Practicing, practicing, practicing,” he says.

The Detroit slam, held at Trinosophes, included 12 young poets who had qualified through two previous competitions. Some of them dropped by WDET earlier this week to share their work.

Listen to YaKuZa talk about competing in the Detroit Youth Poetry Slam competition.

Sandra Svoboda/WDET


Language Advisory

Sandra Svoboda/WDET

Martha Dawson

Listen to YaKuZa’s final poem.


Listen to Wes’s final poem.


Listen to LaShawn’s final poem.


Listen to Ashley Rae’s final poem.


Listen to Damon’s final poem.


Listen to Eldric’s final poem.


Listen to Imani’s final poem.


Listen to A’Janae’s final poem.




  • Sandra Svoboda
    Recovering Bankruptcy Reporter/Blogger looking forward to chronicling regional revitalization on-air, digitally and through community engagement.