WordFest Invitational Poetry Slam

In partnership with the Word

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Returning to the Festival with a $1000 prize at stake, WordFest brings together a number of the Northeast’s hottest slam poets in heated competition. They’ll perform and be judged on their original compositions. Hear people speak their truth and speak truth to power in this gathering of the region’s best and brightest poets and spoken word artists.

Learn more about the Word:

The Word

Grounded in poetry, rap, and song, The Word is a radically inclusive literary arts movement for New Haven’s young people. The Word partners experienced teaching poets, award-winning spoken word artists, and emcees with creative students and teachers across the city to equip youth to become stronger poets and culture creators.

The Word's youth leaders created WordFest, a series of poetry jams, slams, concerts, panels and workshops to create dialogue among young creatives through the transformative power of the written and spoken word. WordFest returns in 2022 to bring together many of the Northeast's hottest slam poets to compete for a $1000 prize in the WordFest Poetry Slam.

Aaron St. Louis "AJoeSaint"

Aaron St. Louis aka AJoeSaint is a spoken word artist hailing from Springfield, MA. Known for his clever technique, nerdy references and flow, he expounds on manhood, God, life, and self in an effort to understand them all for himself while all in earshot are pulled into the tumultuous, yet beautiful, journey.

Brittana "VersatilePoetiq" Tatum

Brittana VersatilePoetiq Tatum was born at Hartford Hospital. She was raised for nine years in Simsbury, CT and ten years in Avon, CT. She played basketball throughout high school with aspirations of playing in college. She graduated from Avon High School in 2005. In the fall of 2005 she attended University of Hartford as a marketing major. She put away her basketball sneakers and picked up a pen to become a Poet. She graduated from UHART with a Business Administration degree in May of 2009. She has been performing Spoken Word for 10 years and teaching Spoken Word for 8 years. She works for Charter Oak Cultural Center and Arts for Learning Connecticut. She taught Civic Engagement at Two Rivers Middle School to 35 (6th, 7th, and 8th graders) for her first teaching experience. She has also taught at Covenant Prep, Montessori Magnet School, Trinity Academy, YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, Milner elementary, SANDS School, and Albert E. Burr School in Hartford, CT. She has taught Spoken Word through out CT (New Haven, Windham, East Hartford, and Norwich to name a few towns. She performed in front of 20,000 people at The Greater Hartford Jazz Festival in 2019. She hosted the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival in 2019. Her stage name is VersatilePoetiq due to her universal appeal and unique mix of Spoken Word and Rap. She has all her students call her Ms. Versatile.

Grace Figueroa "Poetic Souldier"

Poetic Souldier, born on February 9th, 1990 as Grace Figueroa. A black Puerto Rican descendant whose family moved from place to place constantly. Raised summers on the enchanted island of Puerto Rico and school years in CT. Growing up with a speech impediment and overall traits made experiencing two very different environments difficult. This introvert relied on writing poetry to express herself and the world around her. With years of finding therapeutic ways to overcome these obstacles, exploring the world of writing and finding purpose in the advocacy of protecting others emotionally and physically. It manifests through her word play of self-love and culturally aware pieces. Fast forward, she is an Army Veteran, a mother, a business owner and local labor rights activist. She works in the educational system continuing to inspire. Grace also has a poetry book in the works; although she dreams of creating her own safe space or program that could ultimately impact children and prepare them for the life that traditional schooling couldn’t teach. When she isn’t busy being Wonder Woman she performs Spoken Word Poetry at local Open Mic venues within the tri-state area to decompress. Enjoying the high vibrating atmosphere and company of other amazing creatives.

Harry Rivera "RAH The Poet"

My name is RAH The Poet. I’m from Hartford, Connecticut. I was on the brave new voices youth slam poetry team in 2007. I’m an army veteran and currently a correctional officer. I love traveling, writing and spending time with my family.

Julian Mein "Brother Bear"

I go by the name of Brother Bear. I’m 21 years old and come from Hartford, CT. I have been writing and performing spoken word poetry since my freshman year of college. I found poetry to be an outlet for my voice. I’ve always been the quiet kid, but not when I get on the stage. It’s a way for my experience and my voice to be heard.

Lyrical Faith

Activist and Spoken Word Poet from The Bronx, NY. She is the 3rd ranked Woman Poet in the World as of the 2022 Women of the World Poetry Slam, an inaugural Bronx Poet Laureate finalist, a two-time recipient of the Bronx Council on the Arts BRIO Award, and the 2015 Syracuse University Poet of the Year. She’s a graduate of the Public Relations program at Syracuse University, a Masters degree recipient of the Higher Education & Student Affairs program at NYU, and a current Social Justice Education Doctoral student at UMass Amherst studying the intersections of arts and activism. Through her poetry, Lyrical Faith strives to inspire, educate and advocate for intersectional and institutional issues by merging the arts and activism from a faith-based worldview.

Nadia Sims

Nadia Sims is a black woman first. The CT native and Princeton graduate is a spoken word artist and writer dedicated to a message of grace and mental health awareness. She was featured on NBC’s Color in CT and is gracing stages all over CT. Her first poetry collection “A Soft Place to Land” dropped last July and is available on Kindle and paperback. Her next collect


I am Oso and I’m from Hamden, Connecticut. I have been writing poetry since my junior year of high school and I have been performing at spoken word events since March of last year. Poetry has always been a form of self-care and has helped me become more vocal in expressing how I feel. I have had two opportunities to compete in a poetry slam and I enjoy hearing the different perspectives shared by those in the space. My poems are derived from the various experiences of my life and as long as there is life, there’s always something to write about.

Phillip C. Alexander "Original Gang Poet"

Phillip C. Alexander also known as the Original Gang Poet is an artist born and raised in Bridgeport, CT. He is one of the founders of Gang Poetry, an event created for poets to network and share their art with the world. Phillip has participated in poetry events across the tristate area and is the long standing feature poet at Gang Poetry.

Tchalla Williams

T’challa Williams is author, poet, performer, Executive Co-Founder of the literary organization Hartford’s L.I.T; Chairperson of the Weaver High School’s - School Governance Council; member of the Board of Directors for the Greater Hartford Arts Council; member of YWCA Advocacy Advisory Council; and Poetry Book Moderator for This Browne Girl Reads Book Club. T’challa is committed to her ties in the Hartford community as Zone One leader for the BOE Family Community Engagement Council. Her work and dedication earned her nomination into the Class of 2021, 100 Women of Color. She is a contributing author for the new release, Blessed Not Broken Vol 4, The Power of Letting Go which began pre-sales February 2022. This is her second publication this year after having her poetry included in the Every Kinda Lady & Her Sister Pages Anthology which was released in January 2022. It brings even more excitement about her third book of poetry entitled Vehemence releasing Spring 2022. Ever present and advocating for the rights of the people, you can always find her lending a hand and her voice, working to advance lives forward. Through performance, teaching or leadership T’challa’s heart beats for her city and the arts. A Lover of life, people, and community, T’challa is a walking interpretation of revolutionary love.

Tymani Rain "GoddessTymaniRain"

GoddessTymaniRain is a 24 year old, multifaceted CT artist. She’s currently ranked 17th International Poet of SIPS 2021. A true Leo, her ambitions have always been as bright as the Sun. She was introduced to poetry in the womb, and started reading her first and favorite book, “The Prophet” by Khalil Gibran, at age 3, and creative writing since age 7. Her first stage performance was age 13 at the NuyoRican in Manhattan, NY. She returned again when pregnant with her son in 2018. Since then, she has taken on the world with her lyrics: hosting and performing at WOWPS International in Texas, featuring at Newark, NJ City Hall alongside Mayor Baraka (son of activist Amiri Baraka), The Black Lady Theater in Brooklyn, NY, NXTHVN (next haven)  Showcase/Open Mic in New Haven, CT. She actively partners with InfluenceALife Llc to host, feature, and curate events in the tri-state area, is 4x feature for “The Love Jones Experience” Showcase, and many international virtual platforms. At this point in time if she isn’t traveling or on tour, you can catch her hosting “CT Poetz Realm” Open Mic in Bridgeport, CT every 1st and 4th Wednesday each month.


“I simply script pieces of my soul that choose to posses my pen.  I appreciate anyone that resonates with my verbal vibrations.” – GoddessTymaniRain

Will Allen

Will Allen is New York Spoken word artist, host and curator. Using his platform to give artist a voice and aid community.