Day of the Dead Poets Slam

Day of the Dead Poets Slam 2017

       It’s back and bigger and better than ever…it’s Day of the Dead Poets Slam 2017!

 Angela McHugh SkullIn 2014 Day of the Dead Poets Slam was born right here in Rochester Minnesota. Hosted by Rochester Art Ensemble and held at The Creative Salon, a space formerly run by local arts nonprofit C4 for for local artists to meet, network, and serve as a venue for local arts and cultural events. Eight poets competed, with approximately 75 people in attendance.

 Angela McHugh SkullIn 2015 Rochester Art Ensemble co-presented Day of the Dead Poets Slam 2015 with Rochester Art Center (RAC), and more than 160 people gathered in RAC’s Grand Lobby to watch 9 poets compete in this unique arts and culture event.

 Angela McHugh SkullIn 2016 the organizers of Day of the Dead Poets Slam, again with co-presenters at RAC, expanded Day of the Dead Poets Slam to include three days of events where over 1000 attended activities for all members of the family. 

Angela McHugh Skull This year, we at Rochester Art Ensemble are excited to bring you the 4th Annual Day of the Dead Poets Slam, which includes a weekend packed full of activities, events, poetry, and art.
Youth Poetry Showcase

 Angela McHugh Skull Friday, November 3, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM 

Youth Poetry Showcase: “I Remember…”  at Studio 324

Young poets will perform their original poetry inspired by their life, memories, and identity!

 Angela McHugh Skull  Friday, November 3, 8:30 – 10:00 PM

Very Important PachangaVIP! Very Important Pachanga! at Studio 324

Come party and meet the poets and artists! Talk to artists and to learn their inspiration and process, hear some preview performances, and get special Day of the Dead Poets Slam swag, like signed posters and t-shirts.

Suggested Donation: $10
Please pay at the door. Cash, check, or card accepted.

 Angela McHugh Skull Saturday, November 4, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Free Family Day at Rochester Art Center


Children and their families are invited to create traditional Day of the Dead altars, 

Free Family Day Day of the Dead Poets Slam

decorate sugar skulls, and make papel picado, a traditional Mexican craft using brightly colored paper and scissors, ranging from children’s activity to fine art.


 Angela McHugh Skull Saturday, November 4, 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Day of the Dead Poets Slam at Rochester Art Center

Day of the Dead Poets Slam is a combination of a Poetry Slam and Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. A Poetry Slam is is a poetry competition in which three judges, chosen randomly from the audience, give poets scores and decide who will proceed to the next round, and ultimately choose a Grand Champion!

Two women wear calavera style makeup. Photo courtesy of Susannah Magers.

Day of the Dead is a traditional Latino holiday that celebrates and honors the lives of lost loved ones through altars, crafts, parades, and more. Day of the Dead Poets Slam honors late and great poets through the Poetry Slam, where competitors choose a dec

eased poet to represent, and compete in the Poetry Slam as that poet – performing their poems using costumes, props, and calavera style makeup (makeup that looks like a decorated and stylized sugar skull). Poets perform in an environment festooned with Day of the Dead decorations, including altars dedicated to the poets, colorful papel picado, and decorated sugar skulls. Past poets represented in Day of the Dead Poets Slam include Sappho, Langston Hughes, Octavio Paz, Rumi, Maya Angelou, and many more!

Rowdy audience participation is encouraged, by cheering for poems they love, and booing when they disagree with a judge’s score. Audience members are also encouraged to wear calavera style makeup, and come dressed as their favorite dead poet!

You can find a website dedicated to Day of the Dead Poets Slam by clicking here. 


Header photo courtesy of Susannah Magers. 

Legacy Logo ColorThis activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund.