Tucson Youth Poetry Slam

The young voices of Southern Arizona

Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, July 2014- Review

July Summer Slam Packed!

For the July Summer Slam, TYPS held its first ever Costume Slam! Check out the videos to see all the amazing and creative costumes and the poetry that went along with it.  If you missed it, here is a rundown of the night:

Hosts Alexia V. and Gabi G. led an amazing writing workshop, followed by a community meeting where poets talk about how they are involved in the community and help to make decisions for upcoming slams. Then Alexia and Gabi led us into an evening full of energy and creativity!

The July slam had 10 competing poets, half of which were first timers! Poets were able to gain an extra half a point on their scores if they were in costume. Whether a poet was reading a persona poem, or just something they were working on at the time, they brought Bentley’s an out-of-this-world energy!

Big thank you’s to our volunteers: videographer, timekeeper, and scorekeeper, as well as TYPS Coordinator Araceli for both live-tweeting AND DJ-ing! As always, we are incredibly thankful to our venue, Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea, for staying open late for us and being lovely as ever.

Congrats to this month’s winners!

Overall slam:

1. Lydia H.
2. Zoe K.
3. Eva S.

First timer’s slam:

1. Leena G.

Our very last summer slam of 2014 will be AUGUST 16TH! The theme will be: DUET SLAM, as suggested in our community meeting! Come with a partner to spit some poems with, OR come by yourself and we’ll pair you up with someone!

Enjoy this video from our July Slam winner!

TYPS 2014 Summer Slams Begin!

Get ready for a Summer full of hot poems! Our Summer slams are from May-August, which are the months before our official season kick-off in September! During the summer, we incorporate different themes into the slams to get your creative side out and try something new! Also, we will have new hosts every month to welcome onto the stage! So, without further ado, here are the dates and themes for the TYPS 2014 Summer Slams!

May 17th – Cover Slam!

June 21st – Laugh/Humor Slam!

July 19th – Costume/Cosplay Slam!

August 16th – Duo / duet slam!

The themes are different than what you’re used to, but will be different and fun to work with! They will each be explained in further detail once the event information is posted every month! I hope you guys are excited, cause the staff at Spoken Futures sure is!


“10 Commandments of Being Mexican” by Jose Martinez

Poem performed at the 2014 Tucson Youth Poetry Slam All-City Championship

Tucson Youth Poetry Slam- Fourth Annual All City Championships- Review


It’s the only word to accurately describe the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam’s All City Championships. What a great way to end the 2013-14 season! We couldn’t have had such a spectacular season without YOU, our supporters.

The 4th Annual Championship took place Saturday, April 26th at the Gallagher Theatre at the University of Arizona. Eleven youth poets took the mic and over 150 audience members cheered them on. Poets educated us on everything from war, heritage, growing up, first loves, plane crashes, being tall to drug addiction and religion vs. science. Add into the mix Enrique reading

from his book, Tortoise Boy Says and the incredible featured poet, Yosimar Reyes from San Jose with poems about growing up undocumented and ideas of revolutionary love—the power of poetry never stopped!

The Championships were full of new and exciting additions as well. We had our first group of guest judges who are 5 deeply talented members of the Tucson community. Many thanks to Leilani Clark, Marc David Piñate, Tyler Meier, Maria Moore and Ana Rodriguez for keeping the judging on point!

Also new was the Spark Plug Award given to a community member who goes above and beyond their support of Spoken Futures and youth voice. This year’s award recipient was Mr. Kurt Fischer, a long time supporter of TYPS programming at Sunnyside High School!

Thank you from the bottom and top of our hearts to everyone who slammed, who supported, who bought t-shirts/books and made donations and all our volunteers who make an event like this possible. We are moved by your generosity.

To our Spoken Futures Staff—we are beyond proud of your accomplishments! Big props to Ara, Zack, Enrique, Alexia, Lydia and Jose for your countless hours of volunteer work.

Finally…..drum roll please…..your Tucson Youth Poetry Slam 4th Annual Championship poets!

  1. Jose M. (1st place)
  2. Eva S.
  3. Estefania G.
  4. Jackie F.
  5. Lydia H. (2nd place)
  6. Zoe K.
  7. Jesus G.
  8. Antonio H.
  9. Valerie V. (3rd place)
  10. Gabi G.
  11. Maria G.

See you at the summer slams!

 —Sarah and Logan

(with contributions from Lydia, resident TYPS blogger!)

The TYPS as reported by the Fronteras Desk at KJZZ

Eva S. Foto: Frida Espinoza Cárdenas

Eva S. Foto: Frida Espinoza Cárdenas

Hear the full story online here!

Teens Tackle Tough Topics At Tucson Poetry Slam
By  Jude Joffe-Block
April 30, 2014

TUCSON — There’s a trend catching on with teenagers in Southern Arizona that is making their English teachers happy. Poetry — spoken word poetry — has a growing following in high schools.

Eleven teenagers recently competed in Tucson’s youth poetry slam championship. The contenders included a broad-shouldered 18-year-old named Jose Manuel Martinez.

“This is not your everyday poetry,” Jose said. “It is a lot more fun. It is active. It is crowd involving. You get up there and you get hyped.”

Jose has been participating in monthly workshops and slams put on by the Tucson nonprofit organization Spoken Futures.

The organization’s events are open to kids ages nine to 19. Some 90 young poets, coming from 15 schools, participated in Spoken Futures slams during the last year, according to organizers.

Today is the culmination. The championship slam.

“I used to be in so many sports, and then now I don’t do sports,” Jose said. “But I get the same adrenaline up here on the mic.”

About 150 people filled an auditorium on the University of Arizona’s campus to watch the competition. Five judges in the front row scored each poem on a 10-point scale.


2014 Tucson Youth Poetry Slam All-City Championship!


2014 Tucson Youth Poetry Slam All-City Championship
Saturday, April 26th 2014
1:30-4pm FREE

Gallagher Theater
University of Arizona Student Union Memorial Center
1303 E University Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85719

Southern Arizona’s most engaging youth poets return to the big stage for the 2014 Tucson Youth Poetry Slam Championship on Saturday, April 26th at 1:30pm at the University of Arizona’s Gallagher Theater. Now in its fourth year, the Championship is a thrilling showcase of youth voice and is the largest spoken word contest of its kind in Tucson. This event is free to attend and will also feature a special performance by poet Yosimar Reyes of San Jose, CA. Who will be Tucson’s 2014 All-City Champion? Come find out!


We’ve worked hard to make the Championship FREE, but you should still bring money! We’ll be accepting donations (cash, check, credit card) and donations can be made tax-deductible if needed!

We will also have our limited edition 2014 TYPS Tshirt for sale ($15 – $20), as well as the new book from Spoken Futures Press, Tortoise Boy Speaks by Enrique García ($10 – $12).


Yosimar Reyes

Our featured poet, Yosimar Reyes, is in Tucson for the very first time all the way from San Jose, CA!

Yosimar Reyes; “for colored boys that speak softly” from Corduroy Media on Vimeo.

From the Mountains of Guerrero, Mexico comes nationally acclaimed poet, Yosimar Reyes. Based out of San Jose, CA his style has been described as “a brave and vulnerable voice that shines light on the issues affecting Queer Immigrant Youth and the many disenfranchised communities in the U.S and throughout the world.”

Yosimar’s distinct style has managed to get him to perform and give lectures on stages and classrooms all over the United States (always representing East Side San Jose and his beautiful Mexico).

He holds the title for the 2005 as well as the 2006 South Bay teen Grand SLAM Champion, has been featured in the Documentary 2nd Verse: the Rebirth of Poetry. (2ndversefilm.com) And published in Mariposas: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry (Floricanto Press) His words have open up concerts for Carlos Santana in his latest endeavor Architects of a New Dawn (Aoand.com)

At the age of 19 Yosimar is self-published his chapbook For Colored Boys Who speaks softly… and his currently working on his second publication.

When he is not rocking the stage with his Diva attitude you catch Yosimar waiting for the bus and sharing PALABRA with his Abuelita always breaking it down hood and speaking from a community spirit.

He currently lives in East Side San Jose


Park at the 2nd St. Garage––Free!

Gallagher Theater

Poet registration opens 3/15 and closes 4/19 11:59pm.
Registration is open to all poets who have competed in a TYPS Monthly during the 2013-2014 season. REGISTER HERERegistration is now closed.

For more information, write: info@TucsonYouthPoetrySlam.org

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

Made possible in part by UA Gender & Women Studies, UA Cultural Centers, the Tucson Pima Arts Council, the Crossroads Collaborative, Casa Libre en la Solana, Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea and broad community support.

Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, April 2014- Review

And that is (almost) a wrap. On Saturday, we had our very last slam of the season before the Championships, and now, it is immensely clear that the TYPS knows how to bring down a coffee house!

This month, we were joined by the lovely Amy Juan, our feature who came to us from Sells, Arizona. During the workshop, Amy performed a beautiful traditional Tohono O’odham song, and got us writing about the music that is important to us. In her feature, she shared poems about growing up on a reservation near the border of Mexico that left us breathless.

In the slam itself, we had 16 poets, which included four first-timers! The final round came down to only two poets, in a showdown that brought tons of energy. DJ Jira Sol came back to share even more awesome tunes between performances, and our friend and supporter Leon De la Rosa was able to share two poems with us in “farewell”, as he prepares to return back home to Mexico.

We had an absolutely amazing season, and it would not have been possible without Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea, who have stayed open late for us since the very beginning. We must also thank those who have volunteered to be timekeeper, scorekeeper, and videographer at each slam (a special shout out to Samantha Keeter, who has been timekeeper for us at every slam since January!). And of course, we must thank YOU, our audience, our supporters, who make TYPS possible!

Congratulations to this month’s winners!

Overall slam:

  1. Eva S.
  2. Jose M.

First-timer’s slam:

  1. Jhenitza R.


REMINDER: This Saturday, April 26, is our Fourth Annual Championships! It is an afternoon you do NOT want to miss, with 15 young poets signed up to participate, and our feature, Yosmiar Reyes, who is coming to us all the way from California! This all goes down at 1:30 at the Gallagher Theatre at the University of Arizona (1303 E University Blvd.), and you NEED to get there early. It’s going to be packed!

Check out this video from our feature!


2014 TYPS All-City Championship – Poets

It’s official! The following poets are the 2014 TYPS Championship Poets who will be competing in the All-City Championship on Saturday April 26th at the Gallagher Theater in the UA Student Union!

These are Southern Arizona’s youth spoken word poets taking their art to the next level, don’t miss them.

  1. Eva S
  2. Lydia H
  3. Zoe K
  4. Emma A
  5. Jose M
  6. Estefania G
  7. Gabrielle G
  8. Jesus G
  9. Antonio H
  10. Maria G
  11. Jeremy A
  12. Valerie V
  13. Odalys C
  14. Rudy P
  15. Jacqueline F

In addition to performing in Saturday’s Championship, these poets will be participating in a week of workshops, VIP readings, a dinner, and more! Poets: check your email for details!

Tucson Youth Poetry Slam- April 2014- Feat. Amy Juan!

THIS IS IT! Spring is our most exciting time of the TYPS season! Our last slam before the championships on April 26th! Poets, don’t miss out on practicing your poems! Audience, don’t miss out on some mind-blowing poetry! This month we have an amazing feature from Sells, Arizona repping the Tohono O’odham Nation, Amy Juan, who you do not wanna miss! Back for her second time as a DJ, be ready for the jams provided by DJ Jirasol! Everything is just around the corner! Get excited and don’t miss out!

Reminder: Sign-ups for the TYPS Championships will close after the slam on April 19th! Limited spots are available, so sign up ASAP!


SLAM WORKSHOP & Volunteer Meeting: 5:00-6:30pm
Taught by: Amy Juan

POETRY SLAM: 7:00-9:30pm, signup at 6:30
Featured poets: AMY JUAN!

At BENTLEY’S 1730 E Speedway
near the UofA, across from McDonald’s, extra parking behind the building and in the UA lot on Cherry & Speedway.

A little about our feature:


Amy Juan is a daughter of the Tohono O’odham Hemajkam, a lover of the stars and traditional O’odham
music. Her community involvement began in the feast houses baking bread with her grandma and currently exists in O’odham Rights and Sovereignty in resistance to Border Militarization, Traditional Foods, and Culture and Language revitalization. She has featured poetry in the Tohono O’odham Nation Cultural Center and Museum, Tribal College Journal and throughout her community in which she shares experiences on “The Rez”, the O’odham way of life and messages of empowerment.

For more information: info@TucsonYouthPoetrySlam.org

The Tucson Youth Poetry Slam (TYPS) is made possible in part by generous support from: Bentley’s House of Coffee & Tea, The Crossroads Collaborative, Womens Foundation of Southern Arizona & UNIDAS, Tucson Pima Arts Council.


Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, March 2014- Review

The TYPS 2013-14 season is coming down to the wire. Saturday, March 15was the penultimate slam before the championships, and it is easy to say now: this slam is ON FIRE!

At 5:00, poets were given an incredible workshop by the one and only Carlos Contreras, who came to us all the way from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Carlos had us working with lines from our favorite songs, then had us create an “exquisite corpse”—a type of poem that is created by different lines of different poems, by different people. During his feature, he was joined by special guest Hakim Bellamy, who you may remember as our September feature! Hakim and Carlos shared fantastic pieces, about topics that varied from the Vietnam War to a fear of time (fact: that’s called chronomentrophobia).

Our eight competing poets brought the house down, as did our first time DJ, Jirasol! February slam winner Zoe K. graced the stage once again with a poem about the incredibly unfamiliar ocean, which you can see here.

As our season begins to wrap up, we must, as always, thank Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea for housing our slam, as well as our volunteer timekeeper, scorekeeper, and videographer. And of course, the entire Tucson Youth Poetry Slam could not be possible without our audience and supporters! Thank you so very much!

Congrats to this month’s winners!

Overall slam:

  1. Kendall Z.
  2. Jose M.
  3. Jackie F.


Please remember that April 19 is the LAST SLAM to participate in that qualifies you for our championships! Also, you can find out how to sign up for the championships here.


Check out videos from our winner and features!



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