Spoken Word Artists Ready to Perform at the Water Rocks! Earth Day Poetry Slam

Poetry event to honor conservation and Earth Day

April 13, 2022, 1:04 pm | Liz Ripley, Jacqueline Comito

AMES, Iowa – The Water Rocks! Earth Day Poetry Slam will kick off at 6 p.m. on April 22 at Alluvial Brewing Co., 3715 West 190th St., Ames. The competition will feature eight spoken word poets vying for cash prizes and bragging rights.

The event is part of the ongoing celebration of Water Rocks!’s 10th anniversary providing water quality and natural resources education for Iowa’s youth. Water Rocks! is an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach conservation and water quality education program for youth.

Microphone.Taking place on Earth Day, the poetry slam aligns with the teaching and outreach goals of Water Rocks! while providing a relevant and entertaining stage for free expression about the earth, water quality, climate change and the world we live in.

“For the past 10 years, Water Rocks! has been successfully using music and the arts to make science and learning about our environment and water quality accessible and relevant to Iowa’s young people,” said Jacqueline Comito, executive director of Water Rocks! at Iowa State University. “We’ve incorporated spoken word poetry into our teaching over the past two years and have found it to be another great way to connect with students and get them engaged and thinking about how they can influence current and future conversations about the earth. The poetry slam is an exciting platform for bringing together unique voices and perspectives on these important topics.”

The poetry slam is the centerpiece of a family-friendly event that begins at 5:30 p.m. and includes:

  • Free food from the Carlos Quesadillas food truck.
  • Free nonalcoholic drinks (patrons may purchase beer).
  • Live music featuring Lawn Chair Fortress, an Ames-based band.
  • Conservation Station Marsh Madness environmental education trailer.

The lineup of competing artists spans a broad range of experience, backgrounds and age, but all have ties to Ames and central Iowa. Competing in the Water Rocks! Earth Day Poetry Slam are:

  • Summer Awad – Palestinian-American poet, playwright, essayist and Iowa State graduate student.
  • DK – Des Moines-based hip-hop influencer and mentor, poet, musician, performer and host of positive hip-hop music events.
  • Richard Frailing – A poet from the salt marshes and cypress swamps of southeastern Virginia who now lives in Ames with his guitars and a boxelder bug infestation.
  • Dan Haug – An Ames native who learned environmental science from Iowa State and the University of Wisconsin and learned polysyllabic rhyming from rapper Gift of Gab.
  • Ellen Sattler – A recent graduate of Iowa State, horticulturist and poet who writes about nature, daily observations or childhood experiences.
  • Adam Sisson – A poet from Colo, Iowa, who enjoys reading, running and building things.
  • Anasia Sturdivant – A spoken word poet originally from Cleveland, Ohio, who found her groove in the poetry world in Ames.
  • Dallas Whitefield –A student at Western Governors University who is active in the Ames and Des Moines poetry scenes and is working on his first poetry collection.

“Spoken word is an intense tool of self-expression, and when poets mix it up in a slam, you see a tremendous melding of styles, words and worlds that magnifies passion and inspiration,” said Kaleb Stevens, emcee for the event and Water Rocks! intern. “In this slam, the focus on our shared world and earth should bring forth some powerful and interesting perspectives for the audience and artists.”

To learn more about the Earth Day Poetry Slam, visit https://www.waterrocks.org/poetry.

Photo credit: Adobestock

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About the Authors: 

Liz Ripley

Iowa Learning Farms and Water Rocks!

515-294-5429