In May, teenagers from across Portland descended on The Wonder Ballroom to cheer on their friends at the second annual Verselandia poetry slam. OPB’s digital producer, Ifanyi Bell, attended the event. He says:
It’s one of those events where for maybe three, or four (or maybe more) kids, their participation in this poetry event likely altered the trajectory of their lives.
In 2004, a teacher-librarian at Madison High School ran the area’s first high school poetry slam. That grew into this event that involves schools from across Portland and is supported by Literary Arts, Portland Monthly Magazine and Wieden & Kennedy.
The top five winners from Verselandia win the chance to perform live at Wieden & Kennedy, and be interviewed on Think Out Loud (among other prizes). We spoke with this year’s winners just after the contest, in early May.
- 1st Place: Micah Fletcher, Madison High
- 2nd Place: Ke’Shayla Brown, Metropolitan Learning Center
- 3rd Place: Jess Faunt, Cleveland High
- 4th Place: Sydney Oliver, Grant High
- 5th Place: Lauren Steele, Jefferson High
Have you ever attended — or performed at — a poetry slam? If you had three minutes to slam on a topic, what would it be?