P11 Poetry

Calling all high school poets, now is the time to shine! Lost Voices Empire LLC presents in collaboration with the Fayetteville Arts Council and Cumberland County Schools, the First Annual High School Poetry Slam on Nov. 18th from noon to 2 p.m. at The Stadium Event Center, located at 421 Maiden Lane.

Special guest judges include Poetic Zae, Alexis Lawson, Suavethepoet, Nick Courmon and Jeremiah I’Shod. Tickets for the event are donation-based, give what you can.

This project is supported by a mini grant from the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County and, in part, by contributions from the City of Fayetteville, Cumberland County and other community partners. The event is sponsored by MUG Photography and The Insurance Lady.

Bringing young poets together from across the county, the High School Poetry Slam is setting the stage to bring the brightest, newest talent to a big stage for an epic competition.

Poetry slams are a unique poetic experience, bringing a competitive element to a time-honored art form. Poets will perform original poems and judges will score each one based on the poem and performance. In the end, only one poet remains as the champion.

Andre Sansbury, CEO of Lost Voices Empire LLC and one of the judges, explains the slam setup.

“15 High School Students from Cumberland County Schools verbalizing their best poems, judged by 5 national poets, over 3 rounds until a winner is crowned,” he said.


Poets are asked to follow slam rules:

1. Material must be an original piece of work.
2. You do not have to memorize your poem. Phones and paper can be used during the slam.
3. Poets get 3 minutes to perform one poem with a 3-second grace period.
4. Poets will lose .5 points for each minute they go over given time
5. Poets may not use props, instruments or music while performing
6. The poem cannot include any hateful and/or offensive language to any person/persons.
7. The poet receives scores of 10 from 5 randomly selected judges.

The high and low scores are dropped and the middle three are added together, giving the poet a total score out of 30.


MC for the night is Soe the Monk with an opening performance by judge Jeremiah I’Shod. Intermission entertainment will be none other than Poetic Zae, the 5th-ranking poet in the nation. Closing out the evening will be best-selling author and multi-published poet, Sauvethepoet.

Registration ended October 22nd, and is officially full, a sign to Sansbury that this will continue to be an annual event.

“Judging by the sign ups and buy in already, I see this event becoming an annual opportunity for students to display their talents and vocalize their emotions through spoken word, something me and my organization actually teach in Schools through a program called ‘Purpose through Poetry’."

This program is currently in place at Ramsey High, Pine Forest, and Douglas Byrd and is supported by the Fayetteville Arts Council,” said Sansbury.

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