Beginning today, students from eligible Portland metro area high schools* can submit their entries to #Virtualandia! 2021, our online youth poetry slam championship event. A re-imagining of the popular, in-person annual Verselandia! and East Side Slam! events, #Virtualandia is a source of connection, creativity, and inspiration in the distance learning environment. The virtual space has also allowed this year to be Literary Arts’ biggest youth poetry slam yet, with 19 invited schools.
As part of the #Virtualandia! programming, we are hosting free online slam poetry workshops and 1:1 coaching. One of the facilitators, Alex Dang, was an entrant in the first Verselandia! event Literary Arts produced in 2012. A graduate of Cleveland High School, Alex remembers Verselandia! as “one of the first moments in my life in which I felt fully confident and validated by my own artistic integrity and, quite frankly, in myself as a person.” Although students this year are learning in an online environment, “it’s providing new avenues to reconnect with the craft of writing,” says Dang. “It’s [important] to be in a community and in a space for writers, physical or virtual.”
#Virtualandia! 2021 is an exciting opportunity for eligible students* to take part in a dynamic virtual slam poetry competition. Students will will compete for multiple prizes including the title of #Virtualandia Grand Slam Champion and a corresponding $1,000 visa gift card. The first 50 entries will also receive a $15 Powell’s gift card. Students have until midnight on Wednesday, March 31 to upload their videos, which will be reviewed and judged by a diverse group of artists and fans with a pulse on the literary scene. Ten poets qualify to advance and to the Grand Slam Championship event on April 29, 2021, which will be emceed by Oregon’s Poet Laureate, Anis Mojgani. This championship event will also be held virtually and is open to the community. Tickets for this energetic and inspiring event are available here.
* 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.