Noah St. John is the antithesis of the archetypal awkward teenager. A sophomore at Berkeley High, he exudes a quiet confidence and has a magnetic stage presence.

Last year he won the 2011 Bay Area Youth Speaks Teen Poetry Slam after performing “Strawberry Blonde,” a piece about his crush on a girl in school, and NPR broadcasts him reading his pieces.

In a profile published in the Chronicle yesterday, St. John said: “For me, it’s about communicating with the audience, not so much getting caught up in the rhythm or sound of your own poem.”

In the video above, he performs a spoken word piece about capoeira in the first round of the poetry slam he went to win. Watch out for the almost nonchalant body flips.

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...