Tucson Youth Poetry Slam

The young voices of Southern Arizona

Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, September 2015- Review

By Eva Sierra and Lydia Havens

September 19th was our 2015 – 2016 Tucson Youth Poetry Slam season kick-off!

Much like last year, it was a hit!

The crowd filled up Bently’s and before we knew it, half of the crowd was standing. We made over $500 in donations–which we are so thankful for!

The night started off with a workshop led by Tomas Stanton, co-founder of Phoenix’s youth slam, Phonetic Spit. Tomas had the poets write about abstract concepts (love, hate, privilege, fear, etc.) in their work. Many poets shared their work with the entire group, and soon enough, everybody was pumped!

The enthusiasm was then fueled by the community meeting! After a rather social ice breaker, Spoken Futures staff introduced a number of new concepts for this 6th season of TYPS. (Six seasons!) First are the new guidelines and safety statement that were created to keep TYPS a safe space. You can read those here.

Second, is the new point system? Whaaaaat? Just about every other slam has a point system of sorts so we applied that method to TYPS. This is used to determine who qualifies for the championships and it is based on slamming, placing, volunteering, and participating in community events! You can learn all about that here.

At 6:55, fifteen poets (many first timers) made their way outside of Bentley’s to go over slam rules and unite for the all-important TYPS High-Five. Poets spilled blood and literal tears in a night on feminism, culture, love, and everything inbetween. Nights like this are a reminder that youth voice is a staple in our communities.

Overall the slam was an incredible, enlightening, and full of love. Audience members actively approached poets with appreciation for their works. We would like to express our absolute gratitude to Bentley’s House of Coffee and tea for staying open late for us and making this possible. We would also like to thank our volunteers and of course all of those in attendance. Your donations are appreciated and your support is what keeps this youth space growing.

Congratulations to this month’s winners!

Overall slam:

  1. Ty
  2. Jenni
  3. Bianca L.

First timer’s slam:

  1. Brittany B.

Our next slam will be on Saturday, October 17th! Same time, same place. Hope to see you there! In the meantime, check out this video from our winner!

Summer Review!

Oh no! Our website systems were under maintenance for a while! Here’s an update about what went down for the summer at TYPS!

We have finished our summer slams! *cue trumpets*
This month we had some themes that broke some rules. We had the cover slam in May where competitors were able to plagiarize famous poets, rappers, and each other. In June we the costume slam. Usually poets aren’t allowed to use props or slam poems about a persona while dressed as that persona. We had youth slam in costume about being a ghost, a TARDIS, and our host, Araceli, dressed up as Sailor Mars! Our July slam theme was the identity slam. We heard the empowering voices of gender, queer, and racial identities. Our last summer slam, August, had the theme of music! Usually we do not allow music to be played while poets slam, but we threw that out last month. Poets slammed to the stylings of Taylor Swift instrumentals, See You Again by Wiz Khalifa, and even more.

These summer slam were a total success. Usually we don’t get a lot of participants over the summer but we had a lot of slammers, audience members, and even donations. Huge thank you to everyone who supported us this summer. We can’t wait to get started with our SIXTH season. Our kickoff is going to be our biggest yet. (I can’t believe we’ve been doing this for six years already!) This season we are going to introduce a lot of changes including a point system, guidelines, and sign ups. Please watch our blog and the rest of our social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) to get the latest updates!

We can’t wait for an amazing 6th season!

2015-2016 Season!

Here comes our sixth season! Please read the full rules & info, including our new Community Guidelines & Safety Statement and Season Points System!

Sept 19 • Oct 17 • Nov 21 • Dec 12 (2nd Saturday) • Jan 16 • Feb 20 • Mar 16
2016 ALL-CITY CHAMPIONSHIP: Saturday April 16, location TBA


Announcing the Season Points System!

Our biggest event of the entire year is the TYPS Season Championship, coming April 2016. This year, in order to qualify to perform at the Championship, we have a new Season Points System. For every time you place in the slam, 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

  • Placing First in a TYPS Monthly:………………………………3 points
  • Placing Second:……………………………………………………..2 pts
  • Placing Third:…………………………………………………………1 pt
  • Placing First as a First Timer: ……………………………..1 pt
  • Performing as Spotlight Point (winner of prev slam):………1 pt
  • Volunteering at a TYPS Monthly:………………………………1 pt
  • Participating in a 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!

Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, May 2015 (Cover Slam)- Review

May Slam review by special guest blogger Zack Taylor


May was the Cover Slam which means the summer has officially started!  During the summer we give you a chance to break rules and poets were able to plagiarize and perform other poets works! We had poets recite the works of Megan Falley, Kendrick Lamar, and Beck Cooper!


Prior to the slam, the hosts, Eva and myself, ran a workshop about perspectives of celebrities, book characters, TV personalities, super heroes, and even alter egos to get everyone prepared for June’s Cosplay Slam.


DJ Dirtyverbs kicked off the night right with some cumbia hip hop remixes and the slam was on! We had a total of ten poets signed up with five first-timers. Eva, our host and new reigning TYPS champ, was our spotlight feature and covered poems by even yours truly!


Remember, we love first timers but we need second timers to keep coming as well! We are so pleased to have so many first timers every month but without second timers (and third timers, and fourth, and so on) TYPS wouldn’t continue grow. We need all of you!


I would like to give a big thank you to our volunteers; DJ Dirtyverbs, Araceli, Jose, Sarah, Maya, Eva, the judges, and the baristas at Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea.



1st Alex K.

2nd Cecilia

3rd Carmela


Highest Scoring First Timer:

Sarah P.

The next summer slams:

-June 20th: Cosplay slam
-July 18th: Identity slam (we’ll cover this in the June workshop)
-August 15th: Music slam

See you soon!

Tucson Youth Poetry Slam All City Championships 2015- Review

In case you missed it:

The TYPS Championships was MIND-BLOWING!

Nine of Southern Arizona’s best youth poets took the stage at Gallagher Theater on April 18th in front of over 160 people. They tackled rough topics such as Ferguson, education cuts, beauty standards, having children, illnesses, and religion, all while blowing the audience out of the water!

The theater was full of snaps and cheers for two and a half hours, drawing in passers-by and welcoming them in. We also had TWO special guest poets this year— Troy Osaki from Seattle opened us up, along with our feature, Mercedez Holtry from Albuquerque! They were absolutely amazing, and we are so glad they were able to be a part of this.

Continuing the tradition from last year, we were able to give the annual Sparkplug award to long-time TYPS supporter Adela Lincona, who gave us a moving speech about letting your voice be heard through poetry and social justice. We must say it again: thank you, Adela!

This could not have been possible without so many people, including our guest judges, Marc David Pinate, Terè Fowler Chapman, Amy Briseño, Mari Herraras, and Martina Dawley. We also had so many wonderful volunteers, including Jira-soul, our guest DJ; Enrique, our scorekeeper; Zami, our score reader; José, our timekeeper; Jason, our videographer; and Derrick, our photographer. Thank you’s are also in order to our two beautiful hosts, Zack and Araceli! We are also so grateful for every poet who participated— you are the beautiful backbone of TYPS! And finally, thank you to YOU, our audience and support system. You helped make all of this possible!

Congratulations to this year’s winners!

1st place: Eva S.

2nd Place: Lydia H.

3rd Place: Louie V.

Also, congratulations to this year’s participants!

Mackenzie S.

Paola V.

Zoe K.

Nichole S.

Rainna M.

Ames S.

We had an awesome time at our very first summer slam on May 16th! We’ll have a review up of that soon, written by a guest blogger! Until next time…

2015 Summer Slams are here!

After a successful FIFTH SEASON, the infamous Summer Slams return! Every summer we throw out the rules (well, some of them!) and switch things up with new hosts and themes for each slam. Here’s the schedule for this summer:

  • May 16th – Cover Slam!
    Compete using poems written by someone else! Or your own as usual!
  • June 20th – Cos Play Slam!
    Dress up as a character from your poem! Or write a poem for a character from anime or your favorite movie! Or any other character you want. Costumes == allowed.
  • July 18th –  What It Means to Be _______!
    Our identity slam! Tell the story of who you are & where you come from. What It Means to Be Chicano! What It Means to Be LGBTQI! What It Means to Be a Nerd! What It Means to Be a Tucsonan! Etc!
  • August 15th – Music Slam! Hosted by Zoe & TBA
    Bring your music for your poem! Rap! Sing! Sound effects? Sure! Bring sound ready to go on your phone & we’ll plug it in.

As always, slams are every 3rd Saturday of the month at Bentley’s House of Coffee & Tea on Speedway. Workshops start at 5pm and the slams start at 7pm and end around 9pm. Unless noted above, all other info is the same.

Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, March 2015- Review

by Guest Blogger Eva S.! 

The Tucson Youth Poetry Slam had an amazing last slam of the season! The excited poets and audience left an impression appropriate for our 5th season!

Our 5:00 PM workshop was lead by Spoken Future’s very own: Sarah Gonzales! Poets used their creative minds to create very different poems and stories on a very common topic—shoes. Personifying footwear and using satire our workshop participants used humor and wit to illustrate issues like social class and feeling left out. Also, a reminder that workshop participants do get first dibs on the slam!

Because the TYPS mic has been poppin’ lately, we had to make cuts to our sign up list in order to keep our three-round slams. Everyone in the workshop was guaranteed a spot and cuts were made to those signing up after. Another reason to go to the workshop!

Poets blew the audience away, leaving everyone’s snapping fingers sore and the word “PREACH” echoing in everyone’s ears. Our feature poet Chezale brought a totally different vibe to the mic that night! Everyone was taken back by her hip hop number, including a song from her new album “MAVMUZIK.”

The slam was definitely a wonderful way to celebrate World Poetry Day and we’d like to thank everyone involved. A huge thank you to Bentley’s for being our place to be every third Saturday. Thank you to our beautiful hosts Araceli and Apple. And as always thank you for our volunteers; DJ Jirasol, videographer, timekeeper, and scorekeeper.

Don’t forget our all-city championships are next month! We want this to be our biggest championships EVER! April 18th (third Saturday) from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM at the Gallagher Theatre at the University of Arizona Student Union (1303 E. University Blvd — parking in 2nd St Garage). Check out youth and special performance by Alburquerque’s Mercedez Holtry. As always it is free! Also, if you are a poet who has slammed during the 2014 – 2015 season be sure to sign up here:
Congratulations to this month’s winners!

First Place: Mackenzie

Second Place: Itzel

Third Place: Eva


Highest scoring first timer: Alondra!

See you all at the championships!

Announcing the 2015 Tucson Youth Poetry Slam Championship!


Saturday, April 18th 2015
1:00-4:00pm 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 2015 Tucson Youth Poetry Slam Championship on Saturday, April 18th at 1:00pm at the University of Arizona’s Gallagher Theater. Now in its fifth 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 Mercedez Holtry of Albuquerque, NM. Who will be Tucson’s 2015 All-City Champion? Come find out! Details are at www.TucsonYouthPoetrySlam.org

Poet registration opens 3/21 and closes 4/12 10:00pm. Registration is open to all poets who have competed in a TYPS Monthly during the 2014-2015 season.

Register at: http://goo.gl/forms/ALQlw9YwiX
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 Common Ground Alliance, the UA Crossroads Collaborative, Casa Libre en la Solana, Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea, UA Poetry Center, ASUA Diversity and broad community support.

Register for the 2015 TYPS Championship

Poets: we want you to perform in the Championship!


Poets interested in competing in the 2015 Tucson Youth Poetry Slam Championship are asked to have competed in at least one regular monthly slam this season. If that’s you, please:

  1. first read the participant guidelines HERE
  2. then fill out the registration form HERE

You will receive an email once your slot in the Championship is confirmed.

Registration DEADLINE: Wed. 4/12 10pm

Confirmed poets:

1. Eva S.
2. Cristian T.
3. Nichole S.
4. Zoe K.
5. Ames S.
6. Lydia H.
7. Lucy B.
8. Louie V.
9. Raianna M.
10. Mackenzie S.
11. Itzel P.
12. Valerie V.
13. Hayleigh R.
14. Evangeline E.
15. Paola V.

Wait List:

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