Tucson Youth Poetry Slam

The young voices of Southern Arizona

Category: Slam Reviews (page 2 of 3)

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!)

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!


Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, February 2014- Review

No poet was lonely the day after Valentine’s Day—they had TYPS!

Last weekend, we once again gathered at Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea for the February slam. Our workshop was led by our feature, TYPS alumni Amy Briseno! Amy incorporated visual art into the work when she had the poets draw self-portraits—without looking in a mirror or at the camera in their phone. Then, she showed us how to write love letters to ourselves on our bad days, giving us all one giant confidence booster. During her feature showcase, Amy shared incredibly moving poems on the school system in Los Angeles and living in Tucson, as well as 20 love letters to herself (written right after her 21st birthday)!

During the slam, we had 10 competing poets, with three first timers. We also had special sorbets from elementary school-aged guests Margot and Tucson, and Amy’s mother Eloisa! DJ Queue once again joined us to share awesome tunes in between poems, too! January Slam winner Jose M. joined the stage for his second spotlight performance this season, sharing with us some incredibly wise advice for poets.

We all had an amazing time, and as always, it could not have been possible without Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea, as well as our volunteer videographer, time keeper, and score keeper! And of course, a big thank you to our audience, who took part in our first ever Valentine exchange between the poets and the crowd!

Congrats to this month’s winners!

Overall slam:

  1. Zoe K.
  2. Lydia H.
  3. Gabi G.

First timer’s slam:

  1. Kameo H.

Check out these videos from our winner and feature!

And an announcement! TYPS officially has an Instagram! You can find our super cool pics at @TucsonYouthPoetrySlam!

Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, January 2014- Review


We have officially rung in the New Year with buckets and buckets of poetry!

On January 18th, we gathered at the lovely Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea for the first slam of the year. We had 13 competing poets grace the stage, 7 of which were first timers! (woop woop!)  We were also lucky to have our very own DJ Queue come back, with even more great beats– and this time, they came from vinyls!

This month, our feature was Aaron Johnson, the owner of Lawn Gnome Books and Publishing in Phoenix, a proud lefthander, and a harmonica player– who can beatbox at the same time! During the workshop, Aaron showed us how to write a “Million Dollar Haiku” and Fishbowl Poetry, and also shared some tips on how we can beatbox. During his feature performance, Aaron shared beautiful yet hysterical love and coming-of-age poems, and then came back in the second round to perform an extremely moving poem on Alzheimer’s.

As the winner of last month’s slam, Lydia H. was able to come right before Round 3 and read a new poem! You can see it here.

This was a great way to start off the year, and we are so lucky to have the support we do! As always, special thanks to Bentley’s for staying up late for us, as well as our volunteer time and score keepers, and videographers! Shouts out to our lovely hosts Araceli and Alexia, as well as our wonderful audience!

Congratultions to this month’s winners!

Overall slam:

1. Jose M.
2. Estefania G.
3. Maria G.

First timers’ slam:

1. Zoe K.

Check out these videos from our  feature and winner!

Tucson Youth Poetry Slam, October 2013- Review

The Tucson Youth Poetry Slam packed the house… AGAIN!

Our October slam was on the 19th, and this month, we had some very special guests. Our feature poet, Maya Asher, led a workshop for over 20 youths that combined poetry with storytelling. During her performance, she shared three extraordinary poems with us, that touched on topics such as how special rain is here in the desert, mental illness, and the magic that little kids can share with us.

The winner of the September slam, Kiya D., was welcomed back to the stage for the first ever Spotlight feature! You can see her performance here.

Lastly, our friends at Scholarships AZ brought their guest speaker up to the mic. Julio Navarette, an undocumented high school teacher, is also a writer and poet from San Jose, CA. He performed a gorgeous poem about his grandfather and his opinion on what it means to be a man.

Thanks to all of our incredible poets!

The energy you all brought this month was mind-blowing. Big shout-outs to Douglas High School, who drove all the way to Tucson with 20 poets!

As always, we thank everyone who participated, with an especially huge thank you to Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea!


Congratulations to this month’s winners!


Overall slam:

1. Jose M.

2. Lydia H.

3. Estefania G.


First-timers’ slam:

1. Emma A.

UP NEXT! You picked it: November 16 will be the GREEN SLAM. Wear as much green as possible; afterwards, we’ll be taking a group photo!

Check out these videos of our winner and feature!

TYPS Season Kickoff: Review

The Tucson Youth Poetry Slam’s fourth season has OFFICIALLY BEGUN!

 With a new season comes new twists and new talent!

Our season kickoff on Saturday, September 21st was packed with over 100 people in the audience and 20 poets on the mic! Over half of our poets were first time slammers at the TYPS!

Some came out from the poetry clubs at Sunnyside and Pueblo, others just heard about TYPS through the grapevine but no matter where they came from, these youth poets BROUGHT IT. Poets spoke about love, loss, what it means to be living in Tucson and we even had a little bit of hip-hop!

 Our featured poet for September was Hakim Bellamy, ABQ’s first ever poet laureate! Hakim shed absolute wisdom with poems that kept us snapping until our fingers hurt. Before the slam, he led a workshop that gave two poets pieces they used to compete!

 A special thank you to Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea for staying open late for us! Thanks to everyone who came and witnessed one of TYPS’s biggest events!

Congratulations to our winners of the overall slam, and the first-time slammers’ competition!

Overall slam:

1st place: Kiya D. (a first-timer at TYPS!)

2nd place: Jesus G. (another first-timer!)

3rd place: Jose M.

Highest scoring first-timers:

1st place: Jorge

2nd place: Estefania

Our next slam is October 19th! Check out our videos on YouTube here: Tucson Youth Slam. Here are two videos: one of Hakim and one of Kiya.


Much love.

July 2013 Technology Slam Review

This Saturday, for the first time in TYPS history, we had a technology-themed poetry slam! Inspired by our friend Leon De La Rosa’s doctoral research at the University of Arizona which is looking at the incorporation of internet memes in popular culture as an art form, similar to slam.

During the slam we had a projection screen to add visuals to poems throughout the night. Although only 4 poets signed up to compete, the poets went all three rounds, meaning: the fire was present! Also, our hosts, Zack Taylor and Araceli Montaño did an excellent job in keeping the night hype, doing their famous poem “Boybands” with sufficiently provoking boy band imagery.

Shouts out to Lydia Havens, who not only slammed all three rounds with videos she had recorded herself, but slammed some of her best work yet!

Altogether, it was a successful technology slam, we are even thinking of doing another technology themed again soon.

Slam Review – June – Story Telling Slam!

Our story telling slam was a huge success and we have ALL OF YOU TO THANK!

This was our FIRST story telling slam and a lot of you had some great stories to share with us all! Our crowd was on top of all things audience-y and a great job from our hosts Enrique G. and first-time host Megan D.!

Our workshop also led by our hosts was all about story telling. Instead of focusing on poetry, poets focused on the structure of all storytelling: Intro, conflict, resolution. They then wrote their own stories based on any event or moment they chose!

A lot of great stories were spit including some cool down look backs about ice rinks by Sheila D. and even a record breaking number of stories in one round by Wanya S.!

A huge congrats to June’s winners:

  1. Kendal Z.
  2. Misha T.
  3. Christopher K.

Don’t forget this month is our first ever TECHNOLOGY SLAM! Which means don’t forget to email us your links to whatever you plan to use for your performance! You can use slideshows, videos (with OR without music/sound), or even just backgrounds for effect. And if you missed our story telling slam catch up on some of the vids on our YouTube!


Slam Review – May 2013 – Cover Slam!

Thank you all for making our first Summer Slam amazing! It was great to hear all of you perform both work that was and wasn’t yours in our first TYPS cover slam this summer!

The TYPS youth Amy B. and first time host Lydia H. ran the workshop that also revolved around our Cover Slam theme using poetry from Climbing Poetree and Sierra DeMulder! During the slam it was nothing but cover love as poets covered poetry not only from poets such as Andrea Gibson but also covered each other like Chris K. Covering our very own Caitlynn Weymann!

We also had a shout out from someone who’s first day stationed in Tucson came for some coffee and stayed for the poetry! Goes to show the impact youth and poetry can make even when facing trouble in our community.

A huge congrats to our winners for this month!

  1. Zack T.
  2. Enrique G.
  3. Megan D.

Don’t forget next month we’re having our first Story Telling Slam! What’s the difference you ask? Good question! Look for more details on the June Storytelling Slam event page, coming soon! Hope to see everybody there!

Slam Review – March 2013 – Feat. Zami Tinashe!

Last night was the greatest closing slam of the three seasons the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam has had. NO LIE. Y’all brought it, y’all rocked it, y’all are amazing! Poem after poem, breath after breath, it was enticing and exciting to see the newcomers perform for the first time. I hope I speak for those of us who will no longer be eligible to compete anymore, last night gives us hope and continuation of the TYPS through new eyes and new voices.

Special shout outs to our beautiful co-hosts Amy B. and Araceli M., to our amazing score keeper Alexia, Wanya D., and our videographer. Also big thank you and shout out to our amazing feature Zami Tinashe, who not only served us with wisdom during our workshop but shed truth during his set. AMAZING AMAZING, I TELL YOU, AMAZING!!!

Not to mention, this was the first slam entirely operated by youth though out the whole night! AND, Pueblo High had its largest attendance and most poets spitting on the mic! THIS MADE ME TEAR UP! Props to the keedz y’all!

Congrats to our placing poets!

1st Place: Misha T.
2nd Place: Yulissa H.
3rd Place: Lydia H.

Remember next month: April 20th is our Championship, the biggest event of the season!
Sign up here and get your poems ready; old or new!

All things of love and peace.

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