Tucson Youth Poetry Slam

The young voices of Southern Arizona

Author: Logan Phillips (page 1 of 2)

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! 

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!


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.

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:

2014-2015 Season Kickoff!

Saturday, September 20th!

Our fourth season (!) kicks off in a big way on Saturday, September 20th at Bentley’s. This is the perfect opportunity for new poets to get involved and for experienced poets to bring new work. Poet, director, and performer Marc David Pinate will be in the house!

Hosted by Araceli Montaño (TYPS Program Coordinator) and Logan Phillips (Codirector, Spoken Futures) Sat. 9/20. 5pm workshop, 7pm poetry slam. Open to all. Free (donations accepted). Bentley’s House of Coffee & Tea 1730 E Speedway Blvd.

Please help us spread the word!

  1. Personally invite a poet you know, or just someone who would like to hear some amazing spoken word.
  2. Join the Facebook Event.
  3. Forward this email.
  4. You can download the poster here.
  5. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram.
  6. Join the TYPS Facebook Group.

Not to be missed!

“10 Commandments of Being Mexican” by Jose Martinez

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

« Older posts