Wild Women of Poetry Slam

Wild Women of Poetry 2020 Showcase

This year's performers are:

  • Berry
  • Jessica Diaz
  • On’dria Gibson
  • Danni Quintos
  • Amanda Johnston
  • Marissa Davis
  • Alondra Uribe
  • Meher Manda


Faith A. Smith Poetry Prize

Curtain call for the 2019 Wild Women of Poetry Slam!!! Congrats to MoPoetry Phillips (2nd from left) for winning the top honor, the $500 Faith A. Smith Poetry Prize, and to Tanyqua Oliver (far right) for earning $200 as runner up. Angelica Miller debuted as emcee (3rd from right), and Franny Choi (2nd from right) performed as headliner and celebrity judge. Photo credit: Anna Poteet

This year's slam featured headliner and celebrity judge Franny Choi and emcee Angelica Miller. In this spoken word competition with audience judging, six poets from around the country vied for the $500 Faith A. Smith Poetry Prize:

  • AJ Addae
  • Taryn Markle
  • Morgan Moore
  • Tanyqua Oliver
  • Gwen Pearce
  • Moneeca Phillips

Saturday, Sept. 21, 7:30–9:00 p.m., Pam Miller Downtown Arts Center, 141 East Main St. Open mic at 7 p.m. by advance sign-ups, email amiller@carnegielex.org. Free admission



Curtain call for the Wild Women of Poetry at #KyWomenWriters2018: (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.

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:

  • Shay Alexi
  • Christina Boyd
  • Raych Jackson
  • Talicha Johnson
  • Joan "Lyric" Leslie
  • Native Child Brown (aka Kelly Mays)