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​The 2019 Citywide Middle School Poetry Jam featured 5th through 8th grade New Haven Public School students sharing their original poetry, spoken word, and rap. Some young authors, in collaboration with the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, took inspiration from New Haven’s 2019 NEA Big Read book, Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, to create poems about identity and change. The evening began with a bilingual performance by New Haven Academy sophomore Alan Veloz, included a brilliant guest appearance by Dee TruePoetry, and ended with a bilingual poem created collectively by the performers and audience.

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