Asheville Wordslam: Middle school poets have something to say



Poetry is cool—just ask the young spoken word poets who will weave metaphors, imagery, slant rhymes and their personal truths into your heart at the 8th annual Asheville Wordslam, Friday April 29, 6:30-8:30pm at the Dr. Wesley Grant, Southside center, 285 Livingston Street. Reigning champion Francine Delaney New School For Children will be challenged by Asheville Middle School, Erwin Middle School, Owen Middle School and Odyssey School teams. All are hoping to take home the coveted “solid gold” Asheville Wordslam team trophy and win passes to compete in the Spring LEAF Youth Poetry Slam on Saturday May 14th.


“Asheville Wordslam is all about building a community where youth voices are respected,”says Janet Hurley, co-founder of sponsoring non-profit, Asheville Writers in the Schools and Community. “It’s what started the youth spoken word poetry movement in Western North Carolina and we are committed to holding the stage for younger poets who might not otherwise be heard.”


The poetry competition will be part of Asheville Writers in the School’s Stand Against Racism ( in collaboration with the YWCA)  and attendees will be invited to participate in creating a community poem during the event. “Don’t worry,” Hurley says. “We’re just asking folks to contribute a line on paper—no performance necessary!”


Asheville Wordslam host, Devin Jones,was part of the Asheville Middle School winning team in 2013  and has continued his passion for poetry, competing last summer in Brave New Voices, the largest youth spoken word competition in the world. Another member of that AMS 2013 winning team, Davon Dunbar, is the coach for this year’s AMS team.


The Asheville Wordslam event is made possible through a coalition of community partners, including Asheville Writers in the Schools and Community, LEAF in Schools and Streets, and the Dr. Wesley Grant, Southside Center. The event is free, open to the public and family friendly.  For more information, visit

About Thomas Calder
Thomas Calder received his MFA in Fiction from the University of Houston's Creative Writing Program. He has worked with several publications, including Gulf Coast and the Collagist.

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