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96 Women From Around the World to Compete at Poetry Slam in Clinton Hill

By Alexandra Leon | March 8, 2016 5:36pm | Updated on March 9, 2016 8:18am
 Mahogany L. Browne, an MFA writing candidate, partnered with Women of the World to bring the 2016 Poetry Slam to Pratt Institute.
Mahogany L. Browne, an MFA writing candidate, partnered with Women of the World to bring the 2016 Poetry Slam to Pratt Institute.
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Courtesy Mahogany L. Browne

CLINTON HILL — The world’s best woman slam poets are bringing their verses to Clinton Hill for a four-day poetry festival.

The 2016 Women of the World Poetry Slam, featuring 96 women or gender non-conforming poets from around the world, kicks off Wednesday at Pratt Institute.

The poets will go through several rounds of slam competition before the top 12 performers are chosen for the Final Stage, which takes place at Pratt’s Memorial Hall at 7 p.m. on Saturday. 

The performer who receives the highest score from a panel of audience members will be crowned poetry slam champion. 

“It's really fun and it empowers the audience with a say-so in what they think is the best poetry,” said graduate student and organizer Mahogany L. Browne. “So the variety of voices are celebrated.”

Along with the slam poetry competition, the festival will host several themed slams and open mics that won’t be part of the main competition, including a “Nerd Slam” where poets will be quizzed on nerdy topics and a “Twelve Tribes Open Mic” for poets who identify as Jewish.

Daytime events feature writing workshops on topics like gender and race, as well as panel discussions on publishing and activism.

And a one-woman play titled “Rose Gold” by Zhalarina H. Sanders will explore the experiences of black women and their daughters. 

Browne, an MFA writing candidate at Pratt, partnered with Women of the World to bring the ninth annual poetry festival, which takes place in a different city each year, to Brooklyn as part of her fieldwork residency. 

The festival fits right in at the Pratt campus, where the writing MFA has an activist bent, according to Browne.

“As a part of the performance poetry community for the past 10 years, I felt the mission of the Pratt MFA Writing (& Activism) Program, focusing on literature and how it interacts and serves the community, would allow a symbiotic experience for the theme of the poetry conference and the program's aim,” Browne said.

During the festival, Browne will interview Sarah Kay, a New York native known as the Ted Talk poet, and present a poem on the Final Stage in honor of Giselle Robinson, a beloved Women of the World slam poet who passed away last year.

While tickets to most poetry slam events are sold out, daytime events are still open to the public. The only event without a presale is Wednesday night’s Last Chance Slam, which will cost $10 at the door and will be first-come, first-served.

For a complete schedule and more information, click here.