Wild Women of Poetry Slam

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

Curtain call for the Wild Women of Poetry at #KWWC2018: (left to right) Eliza Sayers, Promise Kayembe, Amelia Loeffler, Kyla Lacy, Native Child Brown, E'mon Lauren, TSmilez, Patricia Frazier, and headliner Safia Elhillo. Congratulations to Kyla Lacy, winner of the Faith A. Smith Poetry Prize ($500) and to runner-up Patricia Frazier. Congrats also to headliner Safia Elhillo, who later won the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships for writers between the ages of 21 and 31 from the Poetry Foundation (a prize of $25,800). 

 

The 2018 Wild Women of Poetry Slam took place on Saturday, September 15, 2018, 7:30 p.m., featuring Safia Elhillo as headliner and celebrity judge, TSmilez as emcee, and this line-up of local and national spoken word artists:

E’mon Lauren Black of Chicago

Patricia Frazier of Chicago

Promise Kayembe of Lexington, KY and a junior at Lafayette High School

Kyla Lacey of Atlanta

Amelia Loeffler of Lexington, KY and a junior at Lafayette High School

Kelly "Native Child" Mays of Detroit

Eliza Sayers of Lexington, KY and a Senior at Lafayette High School

These poets competed for the Faith A. Smith Poetry Prize. The Faith A. Smith Poetry Prize, established in 2011 by Kentucky poet Frank X Walker in honor of his mother, is awarded to the winner of Wild Women of Poetry Slam. It carries a $500 cash award, and an existing prize of $200 is awarded to the runner-up, making the slam one of the most generous in the country, also furnishing a small stipend, a travel reimbursement, and conference passes to every competitor. 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 Slam Coordinator sara.volpi@wku.edu.

Frank X Walker co-founded the Affrilachian Poets, is former Poet Laureate of Kentucky, and a Professor of English at the University of Kentucky. “I wanted to support the Gypsy Slam because anywhere there are women speaking with that much courage and conviction, it reminds me of my mother. 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.”

Curtain call for the Wild Women of Poetry at #KWWC2017: (left to right) headliner Olivia Gatwood, slammers Raych Jackson, Native Child Brown, Shay Alexi, Christina Boyd, Talicha J. and Lyric Leslie, with emcee Tyneka TSmilez McDaniel. Congrats to Talicha J. for winning the Faith A. Smith Poetry Prize and to first runner-up Raych Jackson. Huge thanks to our amazing sold-out audience of diverse people who appreciate spoken word.

 

2017

The Wild Women of Poetry Slam featured Oliva Gatwood and took place at the Downtown Arts Center on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, 7:30 p.m., with emcee TSmilez, and a line-up of 6 spoken word artists from across the United States:

  1. Shay Alexi
  2. Christina Boyd
  3. Raych Jackson
  4. Talicha Johnson
  5. Joan "Lyric" Leslie
  6. Native Child Brown (aka Kelly Mays)