2019 Slam Poetry Week


Join us for the 5th annual Slam Poetry Week, featuring slam poets George Yamazawa, Jasmine Mans, and Danez Smith, as well as returning slam poet workshop host Michael Mlekoday

Date & Time:

Wednesday, February 27, 2019
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
February 27-March 1st at Various Times


Free and Open to the St. Thomas Community


Various Locations

Please join the Student Diversity and Inclusion Services (SDIS) department for a series of slam poetry workshops and performances as part of its 5th Annual Slam Poetry Week. Events take place Wednesday, February 27 to Friday, March 1, and are sponsored by SDIS, the Diversity Activities Board, the American Culture & Difference minor program, and the English Department.

Students interested in competing in the Slam Poetry Contest on Friday, March 1 need to register with SDIS in ASC 224. Prizes will be awarded as follows: 1st Place ($150) 2nd Place ($100) 3rd Place ($75). Prize awards will be placed on the student's eXpress Account.

  • Poetry Workshop Facilitated by Mike Mlekoday - Wednesday, February 27 at 7 PM in ASC 202
  • Performance by George Yamazawa, Jasmine Mans, and Danez Smith - Thursday, February 28 at 5:30 pm in ASC Woulfe South (Dinner Provided)
  • Slam Poetry Contest Hosted by Mike Mlekoday: Friday, March 1 at 5 PM  in Scooters (Dinner Provided)

A poet and performer from Minneapolis, MN, Mike Mlekoday is a two-time National Poetry Slam Champion. His book, The Dead Eat Everything (2014), was selected as the winner of the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Ninth Letter, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Breakbeat Poets, and other journal and anthologies. A former St. Thomas student, Mlekoday has an MA from Kansas State, an MFA from Indiana, and is currently a doctoral student at UC Santa Barbara. He maintains deep roots in the Twin Cities, including being a co-founder of Button Poetry and performing regularly.

Requested by St. Thomas students for this event, Jasmine Mans is poet, author, performer, and teacher who has been wowing audiences all over the country for a few years now. The author of Chalk Outlines (2012), Mans is the recipient of many poetry awards and scholarships. She recently graduated from University of Wisconsin-Madison (2014), and has been doing her thing ever since. According to her website, “When Mans performs, every stanza is delivered with passion and honesty. In 2012, Jasmine was chosen by Glamour Magazine as one of their Top 10 Most Influential Woman in College. She has also successfully competed in HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Brave New Voice and Knicks Poetry Slam competitions.”

A National Poetry Slam Champion, a Kundiman Fellow, and a Cultural Diplomat for the U.S. Department of State, George Yamazawa is a second generation Japanese-American and Durham, NC native. His music and poetry has been been featured at the Sundance Film Festival, Bonnaroo Music Festival, TV One’s Season 3 of Verses and Flow – and he has performed at over 200 universities domestic and national. An MC with an album that charted at #37 on iTunes top 100 Rap Albums, Yamazawa, “continues to challenge the American perspective of race and culture, poetry and rap, and the phenomena of the human condition.”

Danez Smith is a Black, Queer, Poz writer and performer from St. Paul, MN. Danez is the author of the widely hailed Don’t Call Us Dead (2017), winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection, the Midwest Booksellers’ Choice Award, and a finalist for the National Book Award. Smith is also the author of [insert] boy (2014), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lamda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. They are the recipient of fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, the Montalvo Arts Center, Cave Canem, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Danez’s work has been featured widely including on Buzzfeed, the New York Times, PBS NewsHour, Best American Poetry, Poetry Magazine, and on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Put simply, Danez is one of the hottest, most talented young poets doing it today.

To make an accessibility request, call Disability Resources at (651) 962-6315.