Write Here | Write Now | Speak Loud!

Teen Spoken Word Festival

May 3rd – 5th, 2024 | Seaport, MA

Mass Poetry History

In 2021, Mass Poetry became an arts-partner-in-residence at GrubStreet’s Center for Creative Writing in Boston’s Seaport. The following year, we received multi-year funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s YouthReach program to launch a teen spoken word program. This funding allowed us to launch Spoken Word at Mass Poetry (SW@MP), our weekly spoken word program led by Anthony Febo.

Festival History

The Write Here | Write Now | Speak Loud! Teen Spoken Word Festival would not be possible without the lineage of past poetry festivals held in Boston. In 2012, The Massachusetts Literary Education and Performance Collective (Mass LEAP) brought Louder Than A Bomb Festival, founded in Chicago, to Massachusetts. LTABMA provided the youth of MA a stage to speak and be heard for 7 years. During a 2019 festival hiatus, Mass LEAP spent time talking with program participants, volunteers, and their board of directors to imagine the future of the festival and its place in the state’s youth arts culture. From there, Wicked Loud was born.

Wicked Loud was set to debut in March of 2020, but something else debuted in March of 2020: the pandemic quarantine. Unfortunately, Wicked Loud was not given the opportunity to fully flourish the way the organizers had planned. We pay homage to the organizing team, the youth and mentors whose experiences shaped the mission of what Wicked Loud could have been. In no way are we trying to replace or recycle the love and work that went into Wicked Loud; instead, we hope to foster a new generation of youth poets stepping onto the stage and into themselves. We welcome LTABMA alum to be the ambassadors of what’s to come. With the creation of the Write Here | Write Now | Speak Loud! Teen Spoken Word Festival, we hope to breathe new life into the youth poetry scene in Boston and across the state of Massachusetts.

Festival Guidelines


This festival will have far more than competition. We will be hosting a wide variety of workshops, open mics, panels, and activities for young folks to engage with their creativity and connect with one another. These activities will be led by local artists, also offering insight into how a young person can continue to create throughout their lives. We want to celebrate all forms of creativity and their relationship to poetry — dance, music, theater — highlighting that poetry does not exist only in a book or on a page; it exists everywhere in the world if you have the zest to accept it. We’ll also have games and socials and opportunities to connect in a non-structured format.

Breathe-In / Breathe-Out

This is our version of team check-ins before and after the slams. It is an opportunity for poets to connect and take a group inhale with each other before and after entering into a competitive space. This is also a time for poets to check in with their coaches, and an opportunity for festival participants and volunteers to get themselves situated into the space. We want to know who you are and how you are!

Team “clap-for-everyone”

 Write Here | Write Now | Speak Loud! fosters unity, presence, and authenticity. Rooted in love, we are here to encourage a diverse group of young people to tell their truth in a supportive environment. “Team clap for everyone” is a long standing tradition in slam poetry meant to encourage good sportsmanship. Regardless of the scores or the competition above all we want our teens to walk away feeling a sense of camaraderie and visibility amongst each other.

Cool-down stations

To prioritize holistic health and well-being of participants, we will offer cool-down spaces to take a pause, breathe, regroup, and relax. Cool down spaces will be available throughout the duration of the Festival. These spaces are dreamt up by the creative minds of Mass Poetry’s Teen Council. In these cool-down spaces, we will offer a series of calming options including meditation, coloring, water, or talking to a festival volunteer.

Content Warnings

During a slam or open mic, you might hear some heavy things. We all have our own stories and sometimes these stories get heavy. Please do what you have to do to take care of yourself. If you find yourself wanting to take some space, we encourage you to utilize our cool-down spaces or do whatever feels right to you. Just know that we do have space available to process, reflect and talk to someone if you’d like.

During the slam, if you want to give a content warning you are more than welcome to do so; you will not be penalized if you don’t. For more information on how to give a content warning, check out this link.

No Hate Speech

Mass Poetry defines Hate Speech as abusive or threatening speech (including writing) expressing prejudice against a particular group, especially on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability, social class, etc. None of that is acceptable at our festival. Anyone can report a case of hate speech (coaches, audience members, performers, etc.), and Mass Poetry will have organizing members evaluate reported incidents on a case by case basis.

Everyone has a responsibility towards themselves, their teams, and all poets to be respectful and help to create a “safe(r) space” for everyone. Hate speech is a direct breach of community guidelines and standards. Confirmed cases of hate speech may result in the expulsion of said individual from the competition and or festival.

Note on “safe spaces:” It is our belief that there are inherently no safe spaces because no one can ever guarantee a “safe space” for every individual that enters the Festival; however, what we can guarantee is a safer space or brave space, where individuals may discuss discomfort should it arise. If you express discomfort during the festival we will make it our duty and business to respond accordingly.


Volunteer support makes this Festival possible. From the grace of their hearts, volunteers offer their time and their energy to support creative expression and ask for nothing in return. We want to thank our volunteers for their kind hearted care, willingness to show up and be present in this work. If you run into a volunteer, do not be afraid to say hello and offer a warm welcome. Without our volunteers, there would not be a festival. Please show a culture of love to each volunteer.