Women of the World: Speak in Resistance Part 1

Once a year seventy-two of the fiercest female poets from across the country come together to spill their stories and truth at a competition known as Women of the World Poetry Slam (WOWPS). Each poet is a representative from her home venue, sent out to compete for the prestigious championship title in a series of bouts. This year’s event took place in Austin, Texas, which was organized as a four-day festival that included poetry workshops and themed open mics available for the poetry fanatics and public to enjoy.

After days of poetry, tears, laughter, and scores from the judges, the poets to grace the final stage included, Dominique Christina (2014 WOWPS Champion) , Imani Cezanne (placing second), Denice Frohman (placing third), and Carrie Rudzinski (placing fourth).

Christina and Frohman have joined poetic forces, traveling across the country, visiting venues, universities, and conferences, preaching beautiful in their tour called Sister Outsider. We had the wonderful pleasure of asking Dominique Christina and Denice Frohman a few questions about their experience at WOWPS.

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What does poetry mean to you as a woman?

DOMINIQUE CHRISTINA: It is an act of resistance. A declaration for any marginalized person is an act of resistance. Poetry allows me to insist on myself, over and over again.

Attending the 2014 WOWPS, what was the most exciting thing that happened to you personally, aside from placing in the top four ?

CHRISTINA: My five year old was there. He heard a lot of poems. He saw women being brave. He started reciting his own poetry. That was the most exciting thing, hands down.

What inspired you to participate at WOWPS?

CHRISTINA: The event is about the celebration of women and their stories and their voices. I would say that is pretty inspiring.

What advice can you give to girls/women who would like to perform their poetry but are shy or scared of judgment?

CHRISTINA: Slam is about being “judged.” If you are afraid of that, it is a fear I understand but it cannot be a fear that stops you. Not if you intend to participate. The only way through it is THROUGH it.

In a haiku, can you describe your emotions, feelings, sense of accomplishments gained at the 2014 WOWPS.

Texas. You were kind.
We made worlds with words we did.
Women do this best.

c6130451229c318a-622672_416158091828179_1022969399_oWhat does poetry mean to you as a woman?

DENICE FROHMAN: I think it means the power to control my own narrative and push back at the ideas, perspectives and language that are meant to make me feel less than or less valuable or confined to a certain idea of “woman.” I see the act of getting up on stage in front of a bunch of (mostly) strangers and being unapologetic as an act of resistance and resilience….like yeah, I’m here. Still here. Watch me say what I gotta say. Watch me confront what you don’t want me to confront. Watch me dig into what’s “uncomfortable.” Watch me celebrate. All of that.

Attending the 2014 WOWPS, what was the most exciting thing that happened to you personally, aside from placing in the top four ?

 FROHMAN:Being there and feeling more interested in the non-competitive parts of the competition. This year was different for me for that reason. I was just happy to connect.

What inspired you to participate at WOWPS?

FROHMAN:I had a really good time the last two years so I thought to come back again. WOWPS held a special place in my heart for a lot of reasons. I’m not sure how many more slams I’m going to be doing moving forward, but I knew I wanted to experience this one more time.

What advice can you give to girls/women who would like to perform their poetry but are shy or scared of judgment?

 FROHMAN:Being scared or shy is the very reason why you probably should perform. Those feelings emerge because you have something important to say – something you care about. I was really freaked out the first time I performed. I still get nervous every time, but I understand that what waits for me on stage is something hard to describe. It’s the feeling of owning yourself, your body, your experience, your story. You will find support from people you have never met. You will be able to take all of that worry about what other’s think and channel that into something magical and powerful. Something that you get to drive this time. Not everyone has to perform, but if you want to…do it. I got your back.

In a haiku, can you describe your emotions, feelings, sense of accomplishments gained at the 2014 WOWPS.

Your poem matters.
You don’t have to memorize.
Truth sounds good off an ipad.

 

Poet’s Bios:

Dominique Christina, licensed educator and activist is the author of The Bones, The Breaking, The Balm: A Colored Girl’s Hymnal published by Penmanship Books. Dominique began participating in slam poetry in 2011, she won the National Poetry Slam Championship that year with her team Slam Nuba out of Denver. She has also been NUPIC Champ 2013, Southern Fried Champ 2013, and won the Women of the World Poetry Slam Championship in 2012 and 2014. She is presently the only person to win that award twice.

Denice Frohman is an award-winning poet, lyricist, and educator, whose work explores the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and the “in-betweeness” that exists in us all. She is the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion, 2013 Hispanic Choice Award, and 2012 Leeway Transformation Award recipient. Her work has been featured in the Huffington Post, Upworthy, Buzzfeed, The Apiary, Narrative Northeast and more. Her poem “Dear Straight People” went viral and has over 900,000 views on Youtube. She has performed and taught poetry across the country and internationally, and is one half of the award-winning spoken word duo, Sister Outsider, with Dominique Christina.

You can get more information on their website:http://www.sisteroutsiderpoetry.com

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