• October 21, 2021
          October 28, 2021
          BIPOC Reading Series- October
          November 8, 2021
          Portland Book Festival Virtual Event Pass: November 8–12
          November 8, 2021
          TAP@PBF: Change with John Freeman
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Youth Programs

#Virtualandia! 2021 Schedule of Events

Literary Arts is pleased to announce that our popular Youth Poetry Slam Competitions Verselandia! and East Side Slam! are combining forces to take place again this year, and reimagined as an online event: #Virtualandia

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our Youth Programs team quickly pivoted to develop #Virtualandia! 2020, a platform for creative expression, in collaboration with our community partners.

Translating the #Virtualandia! event to a safe, online competition has taken many months of careful planning, beginning with event visioning sessions with our Youth Programs Advisory Council in October 2020. We’re thrilled to showcase our full calendar of events. Just like our other slam poetry programs, #Virtualandia 2021 is a powerful community moment to come together and celebrate how much young people’s voices matter.

#Virtualandia! 2021 is an exciting opportunity for students from eligible* Portland metro area high schools to take part in a dynamic virtual slam poetry competition for the chance to win prizes including the title of #Virtualandia slam champion and corresponding $1,000 visa gift card.

Up to 300 youth poets will submit original work via video by midnight Wednesday, March 31 to be reviewed and judged by a diverse group of artists and fans with a pulse on the literary scene. Ten poets will be selected to advance and qualify for our April 29, 2021 grand slam event.

*Eligible schools: Alliance, Benson, Centennial, Cleveland, David Douglas, Grant, Gresham, Fir Ridge, Franklin, Ida B Wells-Barnett, Jefferson, Lincoln, Madison, Many Nations Academy, Metropolitan Learning Center, Open School, Parkrose, Reynolds, Roosevelt


Student handbook: tinyurl.com/virtualandia-handbook-21

Workshop and Q&A sign ups: tinyurl.com/virtualandia-workshops-21

1:1 Feedback sign ups: tinyurl.com/virtualandia-feedback-21

#Virtualandia competition registration: tinyurl.com/virtualandia-registration-21

Ticket link: literary-arts.org/event/virtualandia-2021/

Contact Emilly Prado, Director of Youth Programs, for inquiries about workshops and feedback sessions at emilly@literary-arts.org. Contact Olivia Jones-Hall, Youth Programs Manager, for competition rule inquiries at olivia@literary-arts.org.



March 19 — Submissions open, 12 p.m. 

March 31 — Submissions close, 11:59 p.m.

April 13 — Notification of placement

April 16 — Studio recording of final poems, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

April 17 — Studio recording of final poems, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

April 29 — Virtualandia live-streamed championship event

M A R C H 

workshops + submission round

3:30 to 4:30
3:30 to 4:30
Feedback Session
4:30 – 5:30 
Feedback Session
3:30 to 4:30
12 P.M.
Feedback Session
11:59 P.M.

A P R I L 

competition advancement, filming, + final event

Contestants notified of results
Studio Filming
4-8 P.M.
Studio Filming
10 A – 6 P
5:30 P.M.


Click here to sign up for our workshops and Q&A session. Click here to sign up for 1:1 feedback/coaching sessions.

Feedback sessions are 15-minute slots during which one of the facilitators will talk with you one-on-one about your poem, and help you create the best version of it. You can ask about word choice, rhythm, performance, topic, whatever you choose! Be sure to secure your spot in advance by clicking the link above.

Workshop: Pop Culture Poems! | Julia Gaskill

Wednesday, March 3 | 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. 

This workshop will take a look at the ways poetry and pop culture intersect. We will practice inhabiting the voices of fictional characters, historical figures, and celebrities when tackling important themes in the work we create – from the likes of Mario to Frida Kahlo, Beyonce to Jon Snow. Led by Julia Gaskill, this workshop will experiment with using pop culture in writing, particularly in slam poetry, and will also do a quick rundown on how to write a slam poem.

Q&A: All About Slam! | Jacque Dixon, Olivia Jones-Hall, and Jordan Wolmut

Monday, March 8 | 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. 

Learn about the slam poetry process, #Virtualandia, and ask any questions you have whether it’s about form, performance tips, or inspiration sources. This Q&A session will be led by local experts in slam poetry—Jacque Dixon, an educator and coach for our Brave New Voices team, and Jordan Wolmut, 2019 Verselandia! grand slam champion and Brave New Voices poet. Olivia Jones-Hall, Youth Programs Manager, will also be in the Google Meet to answer any logistical questions about submission, prizes, competition rules, or otherwise. This event has passed but you can see a recording of the Q&A here: https://youtu.be/pb5hpeOpjBo

Workshop: From the Page to the Stage! | Alex Dang

Wednesday, March 10 | 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. 

You’ve got the words, so how do you say them? This workshop will provide the author different methods for how to bring out the best performance out of themself and their poem.  We’ll read and discuss a few poems, practice some fresh techniques together, and have plenty of time for questions. This event has passed but you can see a recording of the workshop here: https://youtu.be/DRv8r3U6EYA

Feedback Session #1! | Jacque Dixon and Julia Gaskill

Friday, March 12 | 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. 

Get 1:1 support from slam experts during 15-20 minute sessions whether you need support with writing, revision, performance, or anything else.  Sign up here.

Workshop: Performance that Pops! | Jacque Dixon and Jolly Wrapper

Monday, March 15 | 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. 

Refine your performance chops in anticipation of #Virtualandia! and more at this workshop co-led by two amazing slam poets—Jacque Dixon, an educator and coach for our Brave New Voices team, and Jolly Wrapper, third place Verselandia! 2018 winner and Brave New Voices poet. Topics may include projecting your voice with confidence, extending metaphors, transitioning themes, memorization tips, body language, and anything in between.

Feedback Session #2! | Alex Dang and Jacque Dixon

Thursday, March 18 | 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. 

Get 1:1 support from slam experts during 15-20 minute sessions whether you need support with writing, revision, performance, or anything else. Sign up here.

Feedback Session #3! | Alex Dang and Julia Gaskill

Tuesday, March 30 | 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. 

Get 1:1 support from slam experts during 15-20 minute sessions whether you need support with writing, revision, performance, or anything else. Sign up here.


Alex Dang (he/him)

Born and raised in Portland Oregon, Alex Dang started performing poetry at 17 and hasn’t slowed down since. He was on the Portland Poetry Slam nationals team in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, making him the only Asian-American poet in Portland’s history to be on the team four years in a row. Alex earned his way to become the Eugene Poetry Grand Slam Champion in 2014, 2015, and again in 2017. He has been a TEDx speaker for both University of Oregon and Reno, Nevada. His work has been featured on HuffingtonPost, UpWorthy, and EverydayFeminism, and has been viewed over 2 million times on YouTube. A proud graduate of Cleveland High School, Alex has performed in over 50 cities, 30 states, 7 countries, and wants to know what your favorite food is.

Jacque Dixon (she/her)

Jacque Dixon is an educator, writer and activist residing in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about ending the school to prison pipeline and using creative expression as a way to engage youth in standing up for social and racial justice. As a songwriter and hip-hop artist, Jacque was a founding member of Rose Bent, Portland’s favorite female hip-hop group. With over 15 years of teaching experience, she’s used her love for community and the spoken word to collaborate with organizations like Literary Arts, Up & Over, Spit/WRITE and Portland Parks & Recreation to provide supportive spaces for young creatives to thrive. Jacque is the head coach of Poetland, a local teen slam poetry team. In 2019, under Jacque’s guidance and mentorship, Poetland advanced to quarterfinals at the Brave New Voices International Slam Poetry Festival, in competition with over 50 teams from around the world. 

Julia Gaskill (she/her)

Julia Gaskill is a professional daydreamer hailing from Portland, Oregon. Her poetry examines the tightrope we sometimes walk of feeling our voices censored and also being unabashedly ourselves. Her poems touch on everyday misogyny, parental loss, praise of femininity, mental unrest, found healing, and her deep love of being a geek. Julia has competed multiple times on national stages with her work, and she has been the featured reader on poetry mics all across this country. Her work has been published on FreezeRay Poetry, NAILED, Ink&Nebula, Rising Phoenix Review, Knight’s Library Magazine, and more, and videos of her poetry have been featured on both Write About Now and SlamFind. Her poem ‘i will not beg for scraps’ was nominated for Best of the Net in 2015. Julia is the author of four chapbooks, runs the mic Slamlandia, and co-founded the Bigfoot Regional Poetry Slam in 2019. Find Julia at facebook.com/jgaskpoetry

Jolly Wrapper (he/him)

Jolly Wrapper is a Portland-based musical performer, spoken word poet and visual artist. His work often draws inspiration from personal experiences, interests, people, systems, and social injustices, which he has encountered and observed throughout his life. Although not confined to any one particular genre of music, his most popular songs usually consist of Hip-Hop Rap and Bedroom-Pop. 
He’s established as a Portland Poet, and as an up and coming artist in the Portland rap scene, having performed all over Portland and in Houston, Las Vegas, and at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.  Aside from performing poetry and making music, he also loves filming music videos, photography, producing beats, drawing, painting, designing and sewing custom clothes, writing and illustrating children’s books, mentoring youth, and facilitating social justice events. He also enjoys metal detecting, collecting coins, polishing rocks, and his favorite snack is cilantro! His biggest strengths are being creative and problem-solving. Through art and self-expression, he will change the world. Support him and he’ll support you! Check out his music on all platforms @Jolly Wrapper. When asked how he’s feeling he hit us with his famous catchphrase, “I’m Feelin’ Jolly!”

Jordan Wolmut (she/her)

Bio coming soon!


Click here for the #Virtualandia student handbook 
for how students from eligible high schools can enter the competition. Poets can sign up here for free slam poetry workshops, Q&As, and feedback sessions to prepare for the competition.


Ten poets will be selected to advance and qualify for our April 29, 2021 grand slam championship event. These ten students will have their poems professionally recorded and aired during the grand slam event to be scored by five judges in the typical Verselandia! tradition to identify a top five and our next grand slam champion. Tickets for this exciting and inspiring event are offered on a sliding scale basis. 

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