Chillin' Wit'...Siduri Beckman, Philadelphia Youth Poet Laureate

STEPHANIE AARONSON / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Poet laureate Siduri Beckman , 15, picked up Richard the Lionheart from The Last Word Bookshop yesterday.
STEPHANIE AARONSON / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Poet laureate Siduri Beckman , 15, picked up Richard the Lionheart from The Last Word Bookshop yesterday.
Posted: July 02, 2013

LIKE MANY TEENAGE girls, Siduri Beckman, 15, considers her life to be very stressful: As the city's first youth poet laureate, there are lots of poetry events; she's also a peer counselor at Masterman, as well as a member of the school's choir, a musical group, the track team and the cross country team.

Even during the summer, her agenda is pretty full. Last week, after a brief vacation with her family in Cape May, Siduri traveled to a school-funding rally in Harrisburg to read "A Word from the Cripples," her poem about the frustrations of students in the city's public schools.

"I'm, like, really stressed out, though, and whenever I do go to sleep I have all these stress dreams, and I wake up really early 'cause I have this damn internal alarm clock, and it's like I go to sleep and wake up and it's 6 o'clock," she says, eating gelato yesterday at Capogiro in University City as rain falls outside.

Despite her obligations, her conversation is punctuated by constant laughter, revealing her braces and a great sense of humor.

Siduri has lived in various parts of the country, traveling for her parents' careers, and her family has spent two brief stints in Germany. She says she spends a lot of time with her dad and shares her mother's work ethic, which she describes as "work until you drop and you're bleeding and you keep going anyway and you're, like, crawling through the mud."

As the youth poet laureate, Siduri says she enjoys working with mentor Sonia Sanchez and promoting poetry, but she admits she has had to learn to say no when events are too far away or conflicting. "I feel really awkward when I have to say no," she says.

During her downtime, Siduri loves to read books and watch movies. On this rainy day, she stops by The Last Word Bookshop on 40th Street to buy a book for her trip next weekend to join the Outward Bound Youth Leadership Corps at the Delaware Water Gap. Her selection, Richard the Lionheart by historian John Gillingham, is not exactly light reading, but Siduri says she'll probably finish it in three days.

- Solomon Leach



Chillin' Wit' is a regular feature of the


Daily News that spotlights a name in the news away from the job.

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