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Our city-wide youth poetry slam offers a public platform for local high school students to showcase their talents on stage. Learn about #Virtualandia, a creative digital platform for poetry and community launched in April 2020 below.

Verselandia! features Portland’s youth poets performing original work at the historic Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Students from local public high schools compete in individual school slams to qualify for this grand slam event. Verselandia! is a powerful community moment to reiterate that young people’s voices matter. Verselandia! 2020 has been postponed until 2021 in light of social distancing ordinances but our team has developed Virtulandia!, a new initiative to continue engaging students.

Introducing… Virtualandia!

Virtualandia! is an opportunity for Portland high school students, and beyond, to take part in a city-wide poetry initiative. Five local slam poets and writers will create video lessons covering the history of slam, as well as writing, editing, performing, and revising poems. Students at partner schools (schools scheduled to participate in Verselandia! and East Side Slam! 2020) will also have the opportunity to give their work to one of the poets or writers and receive individualized feedback. 

We encourage all students to use the hashtag #virtualandia on their own social media accounts if they would like to share their work or document their creative process. Literary Arts will publish a cohesive collection of student work online at the conclusion of the spring 2020 program.

Click here to view the Virtualandia collection of student work.

For inquiries, please contact Interim Director of Youth Programs, Emilly Prado, at emilly@literary-arts.org or Youth Programs Coordinator, Olivia Jones-Hall, at olivia@literary-arts.org.

Video Lessons

Virtualandia video lessons will debut weekly on the Literary Arts YouTube channel and will be added to a dedicated playlist (embedded below). Participants can watch these videos at any time but especially in preparation for submissions to the online collection of multimedia student work.

Our Virtulandia YouTube playlist:


May 1st: History and Intro to (Slam) Poetry video lesson by Brianna Grisby 

May 4th: Writing the Slam Poem video lesson by Mandela Baylis

May 11th: Poetry Performance Basics video lesson by Anis Mojgani

May 18th: Multimedia Recording Tips for Poets video lesson by Arthur Bradford

May 22nd: Revision and Editing Tips video lesson by Julia Gaskill 

June 1st:  Last day to submit to Online Collection of Poetry 

June 5th: Collection of Student Poetry Published

Submission Form

Or use this link: https://bit.ly/2X1O8Cl

Thank you to our #Virtualandia sponsors:


Verselandia! was founded by a group of Portland public high school librarians and educators who ran individual poetry slams at their schools. As the competitions grew, Literary Arts became a partner and the producer of the final event as of 2012. Today, during the last week of April, our annual Verselandia! event draws more than 1,000 people to cheer on youth poets at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

Currently, participating schools include Portland Public high schools as well as Gresham high school and Parkrose high school. While the grand slam is currently at capacity for competitors, we invite regional high school students to attend.

East Side Slam!

The East Side Slam! launched in 2019 as an opportunity for local high school students to participate in the first dedicated slam poetry competition serving East Multnomah County. Poets attending high schools in East Multnomah County, outside of Portland Public Schools, who won the qualifying slams at their high schools made their way to the East Side Slam! finale.

Learn more about the East Side Slam! in this Pamplin Media news article covering the inaugural event.