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Registration for 2014 Conference Available

Registration for the 2014 conference is now available. You can register here. Hope to see you in September!

1619: Echoes of Diaspora Spoken Word Invitational

The first annual 1619: Echoes of Diaspora* contest challenges both high school and undergraduate students to frame the varied experiences of dislocation utilizing their unique skills. Three works from high school students and three from undergraduate students will be selected as award winning with the expectation that they will be performed by their authors at the 1619: The Making of America Third Annual Conference. Secondary School and Undergraduate College students will perform the winning submissions during the afternoon programs on Thursday, September 18, 2014 at Hampton University and Friday, September 19, 2014 at Norfolk State University.

Submission Requirements:

1. Invitational is open to all students in grades 8-12 and undergraduate college students.

2. All poems submitted must coincide with the theme, BEING AMERICAN: WHAT IS YOUR TRUE IDENTITY?

3. Aside from poetry entries consistent with the theme, poems should not include any profanity and will be judged based on adherence to theme, creativity, and complexity of ideas.

4. All poems should have a header that includes the title of the poem and must be 3 minutes or less in performance length.

5. All poems should be original and unpublished works. Plagiarism is prohibited, and any student who plagiarizes will immediately be disqualified.

6. There will be two brackets of competition for the Invitational:
a. Secondary Level
b. College Level

7. Five submissions from each of the two categories will be invited to perform their prescreened poems during the 4:30 p.m. programs on September 18, 2014 at Hampton University and September 19, 2014 at Norfolk State University during the 1619: The Making of America conference.

8. Submissions must be received electronically no later THAN 5 P.M. ON FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2014.
a. Submissions by students in Secondary School must include the names and contact information of their parents.

9. Students will be notified whether their entries were selected by Monday, September 15, 2014.

To Submit Entries, please email your poem using Times New Roman font and 12 point font size in a Word document to Sheldon Collins: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


*The Diaspora is defined as the scattering of populations with common origin in a smaller geographic area. It has come to refer particularly to historical mass dispersions of an involuntary nature, such as the African Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the expulsion of Jews from Judea and the forced relocation of Native Americans from their ancestral lands. The residual effects of these diffusions have been chronicled in forms of literature and oral histories throughout the ages but very seldom tackled by poets and spoken word artists.