September 15-16, 2017
Lexington, Kentucky

Wild Women of Poetry Slam

Wild Women of Poetry Slam / Faith A. Smith Poetry Prize

We're thrilled to announce that in 2016 the Wild Women of Poetry Slam returns to Carrick Theatre at Transylvania University on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, 7:30 p.m., with headliner and celebrity judge Melissa Lozada-Oliva, emcee Sara Volpi, and a line-up of six spoken word artists from across the United States, names tba. These poets will compete for the $500 Faith A. Smith Poetry Prize, and a runner-up prize of $300, and will be selected by judges recruited from the audience that night. The event is free admission,and an open mic at 7 p.m. will precede the competition. To sign up for the open mic, please contact


Congratulations to Lisa Marie of Covington, KY, winner of the 2015 Faith A. Poetry Prize ($500). Christina Boyd of Durham, NC was awarded $300 as first runner-up, and Jordan Roberts received a gift basket of books for her third place finish. In 2015 we marked the ten-year anniversary of the Wild Woman of Poetry Slam and the final year of slam founder and artistic director Bianca Spriggs's tenure in that role. You can read Bianca's farewell message on Facebook here. You can view photos from the 2013 slam here. See winners, celebrity judges, and venues from the past ten years here.


The Wild Women of Poetry Slam has thrived since 2006 as an opportunity for nationally renowned spoken-word artists to perform in a women-only slam. Formerly known as the Gypsy Poetry Slam, it has taken place in various venues and featured a stellar cast of headliners and winners from throughout the United States. We began awarding the Faith A. Smith Poetry Prize in 2011, a $500 prize established by Frank X Walker in honor of his mother.  The 2013-2014 Kentucky Poet Laureate, co-founder of the Affrilachian Poets, and associate professor of English at the University of Kentucky, Walker explained, “I wanted to support the Slam because anywhere there are women speaking with that much courage and conviction, it reminds me of my mother,” said Walker. “She was a multi-disciplinary artist who celebrated creativity and social justice, and it’s easy for me to imagine all the energy she and her fellow female Pentecostal ministers exhibited from the pulpit being redirected at a poetry slam that features women. She was always ahead of her time. She used to say that she was raising me to be a minister until she came to one of my poetry readings and decided that she had accomplished her goal.”