SAY WORD! 2012 Youth Poetry Festival Press Release

Media Contact: Sha Cage

Media Advisory
2 April 2012

Annual Say Word! Youth Poetry Festival


Middle School and High School poets will perform original works alongside Twin Cities luminaries Villa Rosa (Maria Isa and Muja Messiah), Truthmaze, DJ Stage One, Crescent Moon (of Kill the Vultures), DJ Elsewhere and others in a fiery day of poetry, spoken word and hip hop at the annual Say Word! Youth Poetry Festival presented by the MN Spoken Word Association in collaboration with Plan-It-Hennepin. The event is the first of its kind in the state and aims to impact literacy across Minnesota while putting Youth on the Map! Don’t miss Finals on Saturday April 21, 2012 at the New Century Theater at 615 Hennepin Avenue, in downtown Minneapolis (3:00-5:00pm for Middle school and 7:00-9:00pm for High School Finals). Tickets are only $2 and can be reserved online in advance.



For more information see

The festival features 16 teams and reaches more than 200 Minnesota youth, and also includes dance ciphers, workshops, guest hosts, spotlight performances around this year’s theme ‘The Exchange’. This is the second year of the festival, which is anchored in a partnership with Plan-It-Hennepin, whose mission is to recreate Hennepin Avenue into a walkable and unified cultural corridor. Say Word! encourages poets to think creatively about the theme ‘The Exchange’ as it relates to Hennepin Avenue, and Minneapolis as a whole. For the festival, poets between the ages of 12 and 18 form teams of 4-8 members, and compete in a series of slams for the title of the 2012 Say Word! Champions. Slams are competitions of three-minute poems scored by a panel of judges with no musical instruments or accompaniment, and instead allow language, theme, style and performance to take center stage.

Some of the preliminary competitions, along with workshops, will also be held at the historic Cowles Center in downtown Minneapolis during the day on April 21, 2012. Tickets to preliminaries can also be reserved online. Slams are known to be Olympic style poetry competitions, but the MN Spoken Word Association (MNSWA) takes the focus off the competition, creating an atmosphere of celebration and puts the emphasis on the poetry, writing and literacy as empowerment.

“This is our way of continuing to creating space for and inspire Minnesota youth and alsodevelop an avenue where educators, schools, organizations and community leaders canstand behind youth in the community, and help support youth artists and leaders,” says Sha Cage, MNSWA’s Artistic Director.


MN Spoken Word Association is one of the premier spoken word organizations in the country. Founded by spoken word artists, it has worked to help build the spoken word community and to elevate the art form through its mission, programming, and education programs on the tradition. Plan-It Hennepin’s mission is to recreate Hennepin Avenue into a walkable and unified cultural corridor stretching from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden to the Mississippi Riverfront. This is a one-year creative place making project to envision a more connected and lively future for Hennepin Avenue from the Mississippi River to the Walker Art Center.

Filed Under: EventsFeaturedSay WordYouth Amplified


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