Alysia Harris

This 19-year-old linguistics major at the University of Pennsylvania studies Arabic and Russian. Alysia is a feminist and a Republican who started her poetry career as a little girl writing about My Little Pony. Alysia fell in love with poetry in the fifth grade, and as a strongly Christian teenager who didn't drink or smoke, she stood out at Virginia's prestigious St. Stephen's St. Agnes high school. Her dad was a ranger in the Army's Special Forces, so Alysia learned early on how to defend herself.

She describes the Philly team's win at Brave New Voices 2007 as "complete unity." "We had just won and 400 people get on stage and surround us in a circle," she says. "We were like 'Philly poets are the craziest!' I was just overwhelmed and crying because I had never seen that much genuine appreciation and happiness."

Regarding her peers, Alysia says, "I definitely think my generation is not what people think. They don't give us enough credit. Everyone I know is politically involved or has an opinion about what's going on. People really want change, really want something different to happen. For me, spoken word is really essential to that."

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