Slam Poetry & DJs

w/ the Neutral Zone

Thursday, June 28 @ 5pm
The Annex

The Neutral Zone presents its best and brightest spoken word poets from the Ann Arbor Teen Poetry Slam Finals. These youth poets scored the highest and now bring their verbal virtuosity to Top of the Park.

Professional poets Mariama J. Lockington and Yalie Kamara feature after the youth team as part of Neutral Zone’s VOLUME Summer Institute for Writers. This nationally acclaimed week-long institute brings professional performance poets and prose writers to the Neutral Zone to teach teens interested in developing writing skills and connecting to the local literary arts scene.







Mariama J. Lockington is a writer, nonprofit educator, and transracial adoptee who calls many places home. Her poetry chapbook The Lucky Daughter is now available from Damaged Goods Press, and her middle grade novel-in-verse QUESTIONS I HAVE FOR BLACK GIRLS LIKE ME is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus, and Giroux for Young Readers in 2019. Her essay “What A Black Woman Wishes her Adoptive White Parents Knew” trended on Buzzfeed News Reader in August 2016. She is a Bread Loaf Scholar, Voices of Our Nation Arts Alumni, a Literary Death Match Champion, and she earned her Masters in Education from Lesley University and her MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Mariama lives in Lexington, KY with her partner and their dapple-haired dachshund, Henry. When she is not writing or teaching, you’ll find Mariama singing karaoke, watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or re-reading her favorite book, Sula by Toni Morrison.

Yalie Kamara is a Sierra Leonean-American writer and native of Oakland, California. Prior to becoming an MFA candidate at Indiana University, she worked in the field of social justice specializing in educational access and arts facilitation. She was a finalist for the 2017 Brunel International African Poetry Prize and a 2017 National Book Critics Circle Emerging Critics Fellow. She is also a Callaloo Fellow in poetry. Yalie’s poetry and fiction have either appeared or will be published in Vinyl Poetry and Prose, Pop-Up Magazine, The Blueshift Journal, Puerto del Sol and Amazon: Day One. She is the author of two collections of poetry, When The Living Sing (Ledge Mule Press, 2017) and the forthcoming collection, A Brief Biography of My Name (Akashic Books/African Poetry Book Fund, 2018), which is a part of the New-Generation African Poets: A Chapbook Box Set (Tano) series. She has lived in France, Brazil + US, and has a particularly soft spot for Oakland, Washington DC, and Paris.

The night’s soundtrack will be provided by DJ Boost and DJ Rose.

DJ Boost is a heavy electronic music producer and DJ from Ann Arbor, and is currently a junior at Pioneer High School.  He has been working in the electronic music field since he was 14, and has played many events at the Neutral Zone including the annual Live On Washington festival.  His beats can make your feet move and your face melt, sometimes at the same time. His biggest inspirations include Rage Against The Machine, Pendulum, Skrillex, Excision, and other similar artists.

DJ Rose has been DJing since 2016. She loves mixing different genres and playing at different types of events. Based in Ann Arbor, she’ll do her best to fit the description that you need…with her own flair, of course.

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