By Whitney Hale
(April 23, 2015) — The Kentucky Women Writers Conference is trying something new for the 10th anniversary of its Wild Women of Poetry Slam. This nationally renowned all-women slam will open up its first round of competition to poets residing anywhere in the United States, who may submit a video of their spoken-word performance via the Internet through May 10.
“Live performance is the defining feature of a poetry slam, but we know we’re missing out on so much talent," said Julie Wrinn, conference director. "By moving round one online, we open up possibilities for poets throughout the United States to participate.”
Poets are invited to submit their performances by emailing a video of an original, three-minute slam poem via Youtube or Vimeo link to Artistic Director Bianca Spriggs at email@example.com no later than June 15. Spriggs will select the top 12 submissions, and the 12 first round finalists can be voted on by viewers the week of June 15-22 at www.wizehive.com/contests/2015-wild-women-of-poetry-slam. The top four receiving the most votes will be invited to compete in a live two-round slam during the Kentucky Women Writers Conference. The slam will be held 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Downtown Arts Center in Lexington.
The featured poet and celebrity judge of the Wild Women of Poetry Slam is Jessica Helen Lopez. Spriggs will return as emcee of the event. The winner of the poetry slam will receive the Faith A. Smith Poetry Prize, a $500 cash prize established by poet Frank X Walker in honor of his mother.
The Wild Women of Poetry Slam was founded by Bianca Spriggs and has thrived since 2006 as an opportunity for nationally renowned spoken-word artists to perform in a women-only slam. Formerly known as the Gypsy Poetry Slam, it has taken place in various venues and featured a stellar cast of headliners and winners from throughout the United States. The competition began awarding the Faith A. Smith Poetry Prize in 2011.
Now in its 37th year, the Kentucky Women Writers Conference is an annual event known for bringing notable women writers to Lexington for readings, writing workshops and discussions. A program housed in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, the conference is made possible in part by continued community partnerships, including its primary venue, the Carnegie Center. For more information on the conference, running Sept. 11-12, visit online at www.kentuckywomenwriters.org.