Tucson Youth Poetry Slam

The young voices of Southern Arizona

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 6)

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

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! 

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!

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!


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!



In Memory: Rebecca L.

The TYPS family has lost a poet. Spoken Futures and everyone at TYPS sends their condolences and love to Rebecca’s family and friends. Rebecca graduated from Sunnyside High School where she participated in Liberation Lyrics. Let us all count our blessings and be thankful for being able to hear her words she shared.



Tucson Youth Poetry Slam- February 2014- Feat. Amy Briseno!

Don’t know what to do for Valentine’s Day? No worries! Have a belated holiday with loved ones at the one and only Tucson Youth Poetry Slam (bring your date)! We welcome love in the form of poems, snaps, cheers, hugs and coffee! The flawless energy that filled Bentley’s last month will be greater than ever! Our youth will be showing the audience how much we appreciate them, so don’t miss out! Our very own TYPS veteran, Amy Briseno will be featuring for us! Jose M. will be presented as our spotlight poet for winning last months slam! And lets not forget our wonderful music provider – DJ Queue! It’s gonna be a night to remember and it’s all happening next Saturday!


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

POETRY SLAM: 7:00-9:30pm, signup at 6:30
Featured poets: AMY BRISENO!
Spotlight poet: JOSE M!


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Amy Briseno is a veteran of the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam. She started with the TYPS in December of 2010 as an extra credit opportunity and, while she did not even advance into the second round, fell in love with slam and continued to attend for the next three seasons. She has participated in writing programs such as Nuestra Voz, an after school writing program focusing on social justice, and has taught workshops along with other Spoken Futures staff including Sarah Gonzales, Alexia Vazquez and Enrique Garcia. In June 2012 she was awarded the Pima Business & Arts Council’s “Lumie” award for ‘Emerging Artist’ and has been featured in multiple media outlets such as the Arizona Daily Star and on Arizona Illustrated for her work with the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam and Spoken Futures!

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

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.


During the “month of love”, we are coming back with another great slam! Hosted by our very own Araceli Montano and Zack Taylor, with a feature from TYPS alumni Amy Briseno! Sp

Join us on February 15, 2014 for a wonderful slam. As always: Workshop at 5:00, Community Meeting at 6:00, Slam at 7:00. Don’t miss it!

Here is a video of one of Amy’s performances!


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