#UWFirstDraft is a free, non-censored, open mic & weekly reading series sponsored by Urban Word NYC
. It is open to all teen poets, musicians, MCs, Urban Word alumni, and mentors. We seek to provide a safe space for artistic expression, experimentation and development across all genres. First Draft is not a workshop nor a staged show
. It’s the stepping stone in-between. It is open to artists of all mediums seeking to share their creative energy and unique perspective. All generations of the Urban Word community, past, present and future, are invited to share their voices, ideas and wisdom.
About our curators:
Jon Sands, a curator at large, is a writer known for electric readings, and the author of The New Clean (2011, Write Bloody Publishing). His work has been featured in The New York
Times, published widely in various journals, and anthologized in The Best American Poetry 2014. He starred in the award winning web-series Verse: A Murder Mystery from Rattapallax Films, is the co-founder of Poets in Unexpected Places, and a facilitator with the Dialogue Arts Project. http://jonsands.com/
Soré Agbaje is a 20 year old Nigerian- American, Brooklyn College student. There she majors in Political Science with a minor in Journalism and is the Treasurer and member of the Brooklyn College Slam team. Sore is a 2015 Cambridge Writer’s Fellowship recipient, a Scholastic Silver Key Art and Writing recipient, and the 2014-2015 NYC Poet Ambassador. She is a member of the United Nation’s NGO and artist initiative, “I Sell The Shadow”. She has been blessed to perform in spaces such as the United Nations, Columbia University, NYU, Lincoln Center, the Queens Museum, Apollo Theatre, New York Live Arts and more.
Makayla Posley is a poet and journalist based in the tri-state area. She was a member of Urban Word NYC’s 2015 slam team for Brave New Voices and is co-facilitator of Urban Word’s writing workshop BreakBeat Reporting. She has performed/been featured at venues such as the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe, Apollo Theatre, New York Live Arts, Monmouth Arts Festival, New York University, The Waiting Room, and more. You can also find Makayla’s articles published in places like ForHarriet, Blavity, and Above Average Hip-Hop, where she is a contributor.
José Olivarez, a curator at large, is the son of Mexican immigrants. Originally from Calumet City, IL, he lives in the Bronx. He is a graduate of Harvard University and the Poet-Linc Manager for Lincoln Center Education. His work has also been featured on Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie basketball blog, Chicago Public Radio, and on Mass Poetry’s PoeTry on the T program. His first book, Home Court, is available at http://homecourtpoems.tumblr.com/purchase
Sofía Snow is an artist, educator, and community organizer who has the ability to see where there is lacking, and to create. In 2006, Sofía was titled the Spoken Word Artist of the Year by the Massachusetts Industry Committee Hip Hop Awards. Sofia began teaching writing workshops to her peers at just 16 years old. Sofía has taken her passions (youth work, arts, and social justice) across the US, UK and Caribbean. In 2013, the City of Boston officially resolved February 28th as Sofía Snow Day; Snow was acknowledged as Cosmopolitan Magazine‘s Fun Fearless Female for April 2013. She is currently the Associate Program Director of Urban Word NYC.
About Our Feature:
Born and raised in the Bronx, Crystal Valentine has been writing poetry since she was in the fourth grade. She is currently enrolled at NYU,studying Creative Writing and Adolescent Mental Health Studies. She is a returning member of the NYU poetry slam team, as well as NYU’s current Grand Slam Champ. She is a member of the 2014 Urban Word slam team and is also the 2015 NYC Youth Poetry Laureate. She has performed at renowned locations such as the Lincoln Center, New Amsterdam Theatre, the Apollo Theater, and the Nuyorican’s Poet’s Café. Even more so than in her own poetic talent, Crystal believes in poetry’s ability to instill change in those who embrace it.