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Youth Programs

2023 East Side Slam

For the first time since 2019, Literary Arts presented the East Side Slam on Wednesday, April 12, 2023 at the Adrienne C. Nelson High School library.

The East Side Slam is an opportunity for schools in east Multnomah and Clackamas County to participate in Verselandia! Youth Poetry Slam Championship, providing a space for a qualifier for the championship. Traditionally high schools hold their own qualifying slams for the Verselandia! championship, however in an effort to expand participation from east County schools, the East Side Slam cohort was created. The first and second place winners from East Side Slam advance to the Verselandia! championship, and the third place poet becomes the calibration (sometimes called sacrificial) poet to warm up the audience and judges at the championship slam.

This year, seven student poets from Gresham, Parkrose, and Nelson high schools participated in the East Side Slam competition. The event was hosted by poet Christopher Diaz.

The event was, as one attendee described it, “profound, moving, and awe-inspiring. These young people have amazing talent.”

Winners advancing to the Verselandia! Youth Poetry Slam Championship were:

  • First Place: Kennedy Phillips, Parkrose High School
  • Second Place: Imanuel Rehana, Parkrose High School
  • Third Place: Cindy Tang, Nelson High School
The winners for the 2023 East Side Slam, with host Christopher Diaz
Former Literary Arts board member and newly confirmed United States district judge of the United States District Court for the District of Oregon, Justice Adrienne C. Nelson was one of attendees of the slam at her namesake high school! Pictured here congratulating Parkrose students.

The event would not have been possible without the support of the following educators: Allison Ackerman who hosted at Nelson High, Joshua Bott and Stuart Levy from Parkrose High, and Alethea Work from Gresham High. Thank you as well to our judges Katie Borak, Allegra Lopez, Meaghan Loraas, Kaitlyn Roberts, and Alberto Sveum, as well as timekeepers Jules Ohman and april joseph, and finally math assistants Julia Gaskill and Olivia Jones-Hall.

Don’t miss the championship event on April 27 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall!

Hear excerpts from the 2022 Verselandia! Youth Poetry Grand Slam Championship on our radio show and podcast The Archive Project.

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