• ZenChristian

WeSpoke + SoFried2017



Two weeks ago, I traveled to Louisville, Kentucky with my slam team Wespoke and the second Tampa team, the Misfits to Southern Fried. Southern Fried is a regional poetry slam/family reunion. Last year was my first year Sofried and it was held in Greensboro, North Carolina. I went to support my boyfriend Curtis who was a part of the Wespoke team that year. Since I wasn’t going as a competitor, I volunteered which basically entailed score keeping and time keeping during the poetry bouts. Volunteering was a great experience for me because I got to know the technical side of poetry slams. The only down side was being unable to roam around freely. If I was needed to score or time keep, then I couldn’t support Curtis in his bouts. This year we were both competing but it worked out because our teams were competing either before or after the other sow e were able to make it to each of the other’s performances. This year being a competitor, was humbling and inspiring. I’m a rookie in the poetry scene and getting to be on a team with such amazing talented poets is an honor.

Sofired 2017 was a crazy week for my team. The first night we finished the bout in 4th place, missing first by .3. It was shocking and hard to hear but we didn’t let it ruin our time in Kentucky. We knew that night that there was no way for us to make finals but the show ain’t over until it’s over right? The next day two days we bounced back, taking first in our bouts! I don’t think I’ve ever been so hungry to prove a point to myself, that I give up before the fight is over, even if I’m losing. I’m more than proud of my team and the work we put in. I performed poems that week that were heavy on my heart. I was in 5 group pieces, and wrote to all but 1 so it was a great feeling getting to perform them and finally see them on stage. We ended up going from 26th place the first night, to 18th the second, and 12th on the third. Out of 32 teams, I’d say that’s not too shabby. I’m on a team with 4 other people who in only 3-4 months have become my family.


No one knew I could spit until I slammed for the first time in November 2016 at Wepoke’s show (every second Saturday @ the bunker in Ybor). Since that day we’ve all slowly built friendships and connections with each other. I can’t believe all that I’ve been able to accomplish since then. I owe it all to my team, my boyfriend, and my poetry community for encouraging me to do this. I’m very grateful to my team for supporting me and being patient as I found my footing in the world of spoken word, slam, and performance poetry. They named me MVP and rookie of the year which I accepted with pride. I knew I was the rookie going into this slam season and when I made the team, I was that more determined to rise to the challenge of teammates with such experienced poets. These past 3-4 months with all of them has been more than I could have asked for. Southern Fried may have come to an end but our journey isn’t over yet. In August 7th to the 14th, Wespoke will be traveling to Denver, Colorado to compete at Nationals. This will be my first time and I’m super excited that I get to take my indie! We’ve got the rest of June and July to prepare and I can’t wait. WeSpoke. WeSpit. Fireeeee

#wespoke #peacencurlz #byzenchristian #poetrynotthepresidency #sofried2017

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"I write poems in case I ever disappear"

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