History of Day of the Dead Poets Slam

Day of the Dead Poets Slam, 2014
McKay Bram helping with face-painting. Photo courtesy of Richard Bram.

The first Day of the Dead Poets Slam was Nov 1st, 2014, at C4’s The Creative Salon. This event, created by Danny Solis and McKay Bram, combined elements of Dia de los Muertos and the Poetry Slam to create a hybrid theme slam and celebration, Day of the Dead Poets Slam. During the day, kids and their families were invited to help contribute to community altars, make crafts, write letters to their deceased loved ones, and getting their faces painted in calavera style makeup. In addition to the community altar, artists and poets made an altar dedicated to the poets who would be represented later that evening in the Poetry Slam.

Poets' Altar
An altar dedicated to the poets for Day of the Dead Poets Slam 2014. Photo courtesy of McKay Bram.
Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath performing in Day of the Dead Poets Slam 2014. Photo courtesy of McKay Bram.

In the evening, 8 poets competed in Day of the Dead Poets Slam. Competitors used costumes, props, and calavera style makeup to become their favorite dead poet for the night, bringing their poetry to life in the Slam. Poets competing in the Slam included Sylvia Plath, Walt Whitman, Rumi, Francisco de Quevedo, Garcia Lorca, Anne Sexton, Maya Angelou, and Kathy Acker, with Maya Angelou coming in 2nd, and Walt Whitman in 1st.  National Poetry Slam Champion Danny Solis was emcee, and poets performed to a packed venue!

To see more pictures, go to Day of the Dead Poets Slam 2014 Photo Gallery. 

Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman performing in Day of the Dead Poets Slam 2014. Photo courtesy of McKay Bram.

After many people from the community told us how much they loved Day of the Dead Poets Slam, Danny and McKay decided to organize the event again. Day of the Dead Poets Slam 2015 was co-presented with the Rochester Art Center, and held in the Grand Lobby. More people were invited to work on the event, creating a Production Team that included original Directors Danny Solis and Mckay Bram, plus Amarama Vernocke, Eleanor Robit, Jeffery Jurewicz, and Crystal Reynolds. This event couldn’t have happened without them!

Sappho
Sappho performing at Day of the Dead Poets Slam 2015. Photo courtesy of McKay Bram.

The Production Team worked hard to create altars for the poets, large window displays, papel picado, and other decorations for the Grand Lobby. A local artist, Karla Giguere, again created an altar she designed especially for the event.  Day of the Dead Poets Slam 2015 had 9 competing poets, who performed for an audience of more than 160 people! Poets included Anne Sexton, Langston Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Sappho, Octavio Paz, Maggie Estep, Dorothy Parker, Allen Ginsberg, and Adrienne Rich, with Sylvia Plath coming in 2nd, and Langston Hughes emerging as the Day of the Dead Poets Slam 2015 Champion!

Click here to see more photos from Day of the Dead Poets Slam 2015. 

Audience!
A shot of the audience in the Grand Lobby at Day of the Dead Poets Slam 2015. Photo courtesy of McKay Bram.