2019 Presenters

Sierra DeMulder

Sierra DeMulder is an internationally touring performance poet, educator, mental health advocate, and two-time National Poetry Slam champion. She is the co-founder of the Slam Camp, an annual summer writing camp for high school students, and a four-time published author (The Bones BelowNew Shoes on a Dead Horse, We Slept HereToday Means Amen). She is the co-host of the relationship advice podcast Just Break Up and lives in Minneapolis with her dog, Opal.

 

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Kevin Coval – Kevin is a poet and community builder. As the artistic director of Young Chicago Authors, founder of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival, and professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago—where he teaches hip-hop aesthetics—he’s mentored thousands of young writers, artists, and musicians. He is the author and editor of 10 books, including The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop and Schtick, and co-author of the play, This is Modern Art. His work has appeared in Poetry MagazineThe Drunken BoatChicago Tribune, CNN, Fake Shore DriveHuffington Post, and four seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. Coval’s forthcoming collection, A People’s History of Chicago dropped in April 2017 on Haymarket Books.

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Mary Fons

 

Mary Fons is a writer, quilter, editor and lecturer with experience creating original content across a variety of media. She’s lived in New York City and in Washington, D.C., but she belongs in Chicago and is never leaving.

 

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jamila-woods

Poet and vocalist Jamila Woods was raised in Chicago, IL and graduated from Brown University, where she earned a BA in Africana Studies and Theatre & Performance Studies. Influenced by Lucille Clifton and Gwendolyn Brooks, much of her writing explores blackness, womanhood & the city of Chicago.  Her poetry is included in the anthologies The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (2015), Courage: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls (2014), and The UnCommon Core: Contemporary Poems for Learning & Living (2013). Her work with her band, M&O (fka Milo & Otis) has been featured by OkayplayerSpin, JET and Ebony Magazine. Jamila is currently the Associate Artistic Director of non-profit youth organization Young Chicago Authors, where she helps organize Louder Than A Bomb (the largest poetry festival in the world), designs curriculum for Chicago Public Schools, and teaches poetry to young people throughout the city.

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nate-marshallNate Marshall is from the South Side of Chicago. His first book, Wild Hundreds (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. He is a coeditor of The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (2015). His rap album, Grown, is due out in 2015 with his group Daily Lyrical Product. He is a visiting assistant professor at Wabash College. He earned his MFA at the University of Michigan, where he served as a Zell postgraduate fellow. He is a founding member of the poetry collective Dark Noise. A Cave Canem fellow, his work has appeared in PoetryIndiana ReviewThe New Republic, and elsewhere. He was the star of the award winning full-length documentary Louder Than a Bomb and has been featured on the HBO original series Brave New Voices. Marshall received the 2014 Hurston/Wright Founding Members Award for College Writers and the 2013 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award. In 2015, he was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation.

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Jessica HopperJessica is a music critic and the author of The First Collection of Criticism By A Living Female Rock Critic. She was formerly the Editorial Director at MTV News, and an editor at Pitchfork and Rookie. Her essays have appeared in Best Music Writing for 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010, and 2011. Her book The Girls’ Guide to Rocking was named one of 2009’s Notable Books For Young Readers by the American Library Association.

 

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Sen Morimoto is a multi-instrumentalist producer, composer, and songwriter from Kyoto, Japan. He moved to Massachusetts at a young age and began a life-long study of jazz saxophone. Horn in hand, Morimoto cut his teeth as a songwriter in the DIY hip-hop community of Western Massachusetts. He eventually moved to Chicago where he refined his sound while maintaining a consistent presence in the music culture by producing and collaborating with artists including Joseph Chilliams (Pivot Gang), KAINA, Qari, and Nnamdi Ogbonnaya. Morimoto’s powerful grasp of jazz composition, pop songwriting, and hip-hop styling are fully articulated as the extraordinary sound of an unrivaled talent on Cannonball!, an LP that he wrote, recorded, and mixed by himself.

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