2014 IWPS Champion Porsha O, Tells Her Story

Porsha O’s voice delivers a sound that can only be described as a kind of “choir-drum beat” so loud you are taken by her words for three minutes at a time. Whether you get to experience her presence live or through your laptop screen, you can’t help but nod your head and snap your fingers in agreement with her testimony.

As Porsha O’s success as a poet and performer continues to rise beyond expectations, we asked Porsha O to tell us her story leading  her to the 2014 IWPS Champion title.


I am from Chicago’s most southern side–born and bred. In April 2005, junior year of High School, one of my teacher’s invited me, or rather forced me, to attend a Louder Than A Bomb, youth slam poetry competition. Reluctantly I went, sat in the back and fell in love. The stories, the words, the rhythm, the crowd. I wanted to do this, whatever this thing that Louder than a bomb was. And so, summer of 2005, I wrote my first “slam poem.” It was horrible. Sometimes I recite it just for laughs. We had a “walk-on” poetry team at my High school, so I was able to join despite the lack of elaborate metaphors and rhyme schemes. I wrote a new poem and performed it at Louder Than A Bomb in April 2006. Writing and then reading my thoughts, opinions out loud, to a room full of people changed my life.

I graduated, enrolled in the University of Illinois two hours south of Chicago and performed on campus for four years. I was known as the “poet on campus.” I wrote, I performed, but never slammed. In Summer of 2010, I moved to Boston, serendipitously. I went to the Lizard Lounge to slam. I won my first individual slam competition and continued to go back every Sunday for two years straight.

In 2012, I participated in Women of the World Poetry Slam in Denver, Colorado. It was amazing. It was beautiful. It was spiritual. I learned to love my voice and my power. It was lovely and thought provoking and instrumental. I think people and who lives their lives as a woman should attend. I came in second place out of seventy-two inspiring women and my mind was blown. I learned to believe in myself. I decided to go back in 2013. I was beautifully distracted, as I was competing in the same city my immediate family resides in. I cooked for my family, shopped with my family, and spent eons of hours entertaining my nieces and nephews. I did not practice. There, I learned the value of practicing a disciplined art. I came in 4th place.

In March, 2014, I decided to simply attend the Women of the World Poetry Slam, as oppose to compete in it. I wanted to watch, be inspired, and take some time to write, read, and listen. There, I learned to keep going, to try, to speak. I was going through what felt like a writers’ block at the time. I couldn’t write, I didn’t like anything I managed to write, and when somehow when I did produce something resembling a poem, I was insecure of it. I was afraid of what people might think.

In October 2014, I tried another national competition, IWPS. I heard, through other poets at WOWPS, women were needed, wanted, and welcomed at IWPS, so I flew to Phoenix. I never imagined I would fly out, trophy-in-hand as validation, as the Individual World Poetry Slam Champion. I am everyone I’ve ever looked up to. Jesus. Talk about a dream.

Porsha O’s Future Goals Include: To write more, to read more. To flourish as a Dyke Goddess, Professional Poet. College professor , Mother, Wife w/ a wife. To become a Magical Creature.

This video is provided by Button Poetry: http://buttonpoetry.com
For more amazing videos check out Button Poetry’s YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=button+poetry



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