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CAPA Announces Winners of First-Ever Poetry Slam Competition

Posted: January 25, 2019

On Wednesday, January 23, the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA), in partnership with The Columbus Foundation, held its first-ever Poetry Slam competition, crowning Playon Patrick in the youth category (18 and under) and Tyiesha Radford Shorts in the adult category (19+). Each was awarded a pair of tickets to attend the Broadway musical HAMILTON during its Columbus engagement.

Currently a junior at Fort Hayes High School, Patrick is 16 years old and began writing poetry in his freshman year after joining the school’s poetry team. He took first place in the youth category for a performance of his original work, “Color Scheme,” which asks, “How does a black boy in America leave behind a lasting legacy?”

Writing and performing poetry since her senior year of high school, Tyiesha Radford Shorts won the adult category with her performance of “Nomenclature,” an original piece that explores the racialized and gendered experience of social practices that impact identity. While Radford Shorts has previously performed poetry, this was her first competition.

Participants ranged in age from 10-60+, and experience levels varied from first-timers to more seasoned poets. To compete, participants were required to attend at least one of four free, CAPA-hosted spoken word workshops held in January, but no prior poetry or spoken word experience was necessary. Each of the 25 competitors (13 youth, 12 adult) wrote an original poem inspired by themes from the Broadway musical HAMILTON—such as overcoming obstacles, being an agent of positive change, and/or creating a legacy—and performed it at the Poetry Slam before community attendees and a panel of judges.

This event was made possible through the additional support of Nationwide and the AEP Foundation, with special support provided by Huntington Bank.

Additional youth competitors included Anthony Rogers, Addison Byler, Tomas Miriti Pacheco, Liv Tigner, Jeremiah Brown, Anais Fernandez, Elena Fetters, Natalie Esquivel, Ella Holtsberry, Jenna Keiffer, Faith Fullen, and Genevieve VanDixhorn.

Additional adult competitors included Ria Grieff, Ogonna Ononye, Amanda Holman, Patrice Barnes, Susann Moeller, Lam Bui, Jami Jackson, Curtis Walker, Jaehla Meacham, Marquita Byars, and Bailey Cunningham.

The youth category was judged by Dr. Sidney Jones, Kim Leddy, and Chiquita Mullins-Lee. The adult category was judged by Steve Abbott, Kim Brazwell, and Scott Woods.

The spoken word workshops were facilitated by teaching artists and poets Barbara Fant and William Evans who also moderated the Poetry Slam competition.