Tucson Youth Poetry Slam

The young voices of Southern Arizona

Thank you for all your support!

December 2019

Dear Community,

Thank you for all your support!

After 10 years of dedication to youth centered arts and social justice work, Spoken Futures is ending our organization this winter 2019 and will be moving out of La Pilita Cultural Center.

We estimate over 10,000 young people participated in our programs over the years. From the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, Liberation Lyrics after school program, Nuestra Voz after school program, Queer Youth Arts Showcase, Spoken Futures Press and countless student performances in community events across the Southwest. Youth from all over Arizona built a community together to survive, learn, educate, resist, empower and dare to speak their stories into a microphone.

The work transformed us. In the last decade of organizing, facilitating and fighting – we’ve learned the value of showing up for young voices, the arts, and justice in our communities. Some deeply learned lessons along the way include:

  • Youth in Tucson need more youth run youth spaces!
  • Youth can, did, and will continue to hold it the fuck down
  • We can be family, we can fuck up, and we can still be family
  • Art as resistance is necessary
  • Gentrification is exhausting (and violent)
  • No matter how enjoyable and important the work is; it is still work that takes mental, emotional, and financial resources
  • Femmes of color do a lot of unseen labor
  • Toxic masculinity creates barriers to meaningful forward movement
  • Tucson needs better mental health resources
  • We had to embrace change, flexibility, and leaning into impermanence 
  • You gotta laugh!
  • People need to believe they should pay artists for their work
  • Beautiful things happen when we come together
  • We don’t need a whole ass organization to stay connected 
  • Adults need to do better

The work never ends! So many youth, including the youth and adult organizers involved in Spoken Futures continue to do work around creative expression and social justice today. The work continues even as the cycle of our organization comes to an end. Spoken Futures would have never been possible without the love and support of the Tucson community and the youth, especially young people from all our programs in South Tucson. 

With deepest gratitude, thank you. 

Thank you to everyone in general TO Folx who have held it down for us TO people who held space for us (& shared it) TO Everyone who has shared a story (on or off the mic) TO Youth (and their supporters) TO TYPS first timers (and their support) TO Bentley’s & co. (incubator) TO Folx who felt safe enough in our space to share queer art and poetry TO Educators (sometimes teachers); librarians, features TO Those who showed up, disappeared, and returned (those who didn’t return as well) TO Everyone who thanked a poet TO all the kids (shy, pensive, loud, unapologetic, brave) TO Folx who dug deep (spoke on racism, transphobia, police violence and more) TO Those who were down to try new endeavors with us (QYAS) (those who allowed us to develop/process) TO Anyone who rolled through the sacred space that is La Pilita.

Con mucho carinx, 

Spoken Futures Staff

2018-2019 TYPS Season


2018-2019 SEASON: Youth! Voice! Equity! Power!

Every 3rd Saturday of the month. 5pm slam workshop, 7pm poetry slam. Sign-up at 6:30.
Oct 20 • Nov 17 • Dec 8 (2nd Saturday) • Jan 19 • Feb 16 • Mar 16


Every slam features a workshop & special performance by a nationally-recognized spoken word artist! Check the website for upcoming features. www.TucsonYouthPoetrySlam.org


In Barrio Viejo at 420 S Main Ave, just south of the Tucson Convention Center. Parking is available along Main Ave, Simpson St and Meyer Ave. Please be careful to check parking signs and not block driveways.

The TYPS is always free, but suggested donation is $5 for youth, $10 or more for adults.


1. Poems must be poets’ own creation. 2. Three minute time limit per poem. 3. No music other than what you can make with your mouth / body. 4. No props or costumes.

There is no censorship at the TYPS. Yes, that means you can drop the f-bomb. No, it doesn’t mean you should. Use your words wisely & for great impact. No hate speech will be tolerated (i.e. no specific threats or defamation of a person or a group). The TYPS builds community!

The TYPS competition is open to all poets, aged 18 or younger as of 9/15/2018. Poems can be memorized or performed on page (paper works better than digital). ALL STYLES and LANGUAGES WELCOME! Hip-hop / stand up / traditional poetry / etc. Come to the workshop. We’ll teach you to rock the mic.

Five judges are selected from the crowd, each judge scores each poem on a scale of 0.0 – 10.0 taking into consideration both content and delivery. We drop the high score and the low score, adding together the middle three, giving each poem a final score from 0.0 – 30.0.

There are three rounds. All poets perform in the first round. Usually only the top 6 poets advance to the second round, so spit your best work first. We cut to three poets for the final round.

Remember: the point isn’t the points; the point is the poetry!

Admiration and recognition in your community!
Special prize for first-time poets!


Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube: TucsonYouthSlam

the TYPS is a program of Spoken Futures, Inc.

2017-2018 Season!

2017-2018 Season Kickoff 9/16 at Bentley’s! 

7th Annual TYPS Championships at Spoken Futures Showcase!

The TYPS Championships is going to be part of an even bigger festival called the Spoken Futures Showcase in which Spoken Futures Inc. will be showcasing all of our programs such as TYPS, Liberation Lyrics, Kaleidoscope, and published books from Spoken Futures Press!

Our showcase will be located in the Gallagher Theater of the UA Student Union – a 300 seat venue! We’re expecting it to be packed with our biggest audience yet! If there is any event that you don’t want to miss, it’s definitely this one!

Completely free! But we do suggest bringing cash for donations and merch! We do accept credit cards as well!

SATURDAY April 15th!

Showcase: 1:00-3:30pm
Hosted by: ARACELI M. and EVA S!

1303 East University Boulevard, Tucson, AZ 85719
At the University of Arizona Student Union (Food Court) in Gallagher Theatre! The closest parking garage will be the 2nd Street Garage and all parking is FREE on weekends!
Tucson Youth Poetry Slam is a program of Spoken Futures, Inc.!

Check out the Facebook event here! RSVP on the event page and share!

For more information contact co-directors:
Logan Phillips: lphillips@tucsonyouthpoetryslam.org
Sarah Gonzales: sgonzales@tucsonyouthpoetryslam.org

Spoken Futures Press Releases a New Book!

Presenting the fourth publication by Spoken Futures Press: the debut poetry collection of Araceli Montaño and Alexia Vazquez!

Hustlin’ Hermanas embraces the lives of two Xicanas navigating day-to-day spaces as chingonas from Southside Tucson – showcasing what the hustle looks like! Their voices speak to queerness, feminism, navigating borders, undocumented status, language, youth, fuerza and so much more.

Alexia and Araceli will perform poems from the book, plus special guest poets, music, dancing, and a night for community!

FREE & ALL AGES! Hustlin’ Hermanas will be available to purchase!
This event will take place at La Pilita Cultural Center, 420 S. Main Ave.
We will also be accepting donations!

“A woman who writes has power, and a woman with power is feared.” -Gloria Anzaldúa

Alexia and Araceli are both TYPS alumni that competed in slams and performed at various community events until they aged out. After that, they both began working with Spoken Futures as teaching artists and continue to hold down spaces for youth!

It’s Been A While!

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since we’ve made any updates on our website here including slams, slam reviews and other announcements or events! We at Spoken Futures have been working really hard to make sure our programming is on par for all of our youth participants and community members! March and April are busy months for the organization as a whole and there’s a ton of exciting stuff going on so keep an eye out here and on our Facebook page!

Here’s a list of just a few upcoming events, links, and people you can contact should you have any further questions!

Liberation Lyrics
Saturday, February 25th/March 25th (Every 4th Saturday after TYPS)
3-5pm at La Pilita (420 S. Main)
An innovative social justice program which uses spoken word poetry as a tool to help participants better recognize and understand the systems at work in their communities! We hold a workshop to dialogue and write about the way how our life experiences are part of a greater context!
Contact: Erik Loya, kevlove50@gmail.com

Queer Youth Art Showcase (QYAS)
Saturday, March 4th
5pm at La Pilita (420 S. Main)
At this event we’ll have a queer youth writing and performance workshop, a queer youth open mic AND a drag show! All participants are queer youth under 21! Find out more at the Facebook event here!
Contact: Zack Taylor, kscope.az@gmail.com

TYPS Showcase @ The Tucson Festival of Books
Saturday, March 11
1pm at the SBS Tent located on the UA Mall
Every year we’re asked to perform for TFOB, but it just gets bigger and better every year! This event is always great fun and a way to showcase you poetry in a setting outside of Bentley’s Coffee House! Join the Facebook event here!
We still have slots open for this event, all youth poets who participate will receive a small stipend and points toward their overall season score! (If you need a refresher on the score system, find that post here!)
Contact: Eva Sierra, sierra.eva97@gmail.com or Araceli Montaño, amontano@tucsonyouthpoetryslam.com

TYPS Monthly
Saturday, March 18 
5pm workshop, 7pm slam!
You know the drill! We’ll post more about the slam once it gets closer, but if you have any questions regarding the TYPS at all, please contact Eva or Araceli (emails are above).

Like our Spoken Futures page and programs here:

Spoken Futures
website: http://www.spokenfutures.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SpokenFutures/


Kaleidoscope: https://www.facebook.com/kscopeaz/


Thank you all and hope to see you real soon at all of our upcoming events! We appreciate you so much and just know that these programs would be nowhere without the work our youth put in! Go team!

PS. If you would like to get involved with any of the programs above, please reach out! All of our staff members started off as “just” poets once too, and have done amazing things like travel, organize, teach, plan, and learn plenty of skills that are bound to help their future goals! We look forward to hearing from ya’ll! 

2016-2017 TYPS Season Kickoff 9/17/2016!


Our SEVENTH season (!) kicks off in a on Saturday, September 17th at Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea!

We’re excited to be back and see all of the lovely faces of poets, family, volunteers, friends and our community! It’s going to be our biggest season yet! (And we say that every year!) You will not want to miss out!

Reminder: The TYPS is always free, but we recommend you bring some funds for coffee and donations (suggested $5)!

P.S. It’s Arizona Football season and there will be a home game going on! Our advice is to arrive as early as possible, carpool, take the streetcar (Sunlink!) or walk some distance! We don’t wanna miss your faces!

P.S.S. We have been having more slammers than we have room to accommodate, which is a good problem to have because it means TYPS is hot! But, just keep in mind we will absolutely be limiting to 15 poets for each slam and we have a specific system for these spots. We will explain more at the slam, but don’t be late!

It all goes down soon!

SATURDAY September 17th!
SLAM WORKSHOP & Volunteer Meeting: 5:00-6:30pm
POETRY SLAM: 7:00-9:30pm, signup at 6:30
Hosted by: EVA S and LOGAN PHILLIPS!

At BENTLEY’S 1730 E Speedway

Near the UofA, across from Mcdonalds! Extra parking behind the building and in the UA lot on Cherry & Speedway.

Tucson Youth Poetry Slam is a program of Spoken Futures, Inc.!



TYPS Season Point System, 2016-2017

Our biggest event of the entire year is the TYPS Season Championship, coming April 2017. In order to qualify to perform at the Championship, we use the Season Points System. For every time you participate in the slam or some outside events, you score Season Points. The 15 poets with the highest number of points from the whole season will be invited to compete in the Season Championship in April.

This is how you earn Season Points, 2016-2017:

  • Competing in a TYPS Monthly: 1 point
  • Placing First in a TYPS Monthly: 3 points
  • Placing Second: 2 pts
  • Placing Third: 1 pt
  • Highest Scoring First Timer: 1 pt
  • Performing as Spotlight Point (winner of previous slam): 1 pt
  • Volunteering at a TYPS Monthly: 1 pt
  • Participating in a Spoken Futures community event (outside of TYPS Monthly): 1 pt

The Spoken Futures Staff will keep track of the Season Points System, and will have your total number of Season Points upon request at a Monthly slam. We also hope to keep a running tally here on the website. More info on that soon!
Please let us know if you have any questions!

Save the date! 2016 TYPS All-City Championship 4/16!


2016 Tucson Youth Poetry Slam All-City Championship!

Saturday, April 16, 2016. Gallagher Theater, UA Student Union.

Be there!

More information on sign-ups for TYPS poets coming soon!

TYPS Showcase at 2016 Tucson Festival of Books!

Come hear a special performance by TYPS poets at the Tucson Festival of Books! 2:30pm Saturday 3/12 SBS tent. Youth voice on blast in Tucson!


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