It's Coming!

Day of the Dead Poets Slam 2016

SKULL_16In 2014 Day of the Dead Poets Slam was born right here in Rochester, Minnesota. Hosted by Rochester Art Ensemble and held at The Creative Salon, a space formerly run by local arts nonprofit C4 for for local artists to meet, network, and serve as a venue for local arts and cultural events. Eight poets competed, with approximately 75 people in attendance.

SKULL_16In 2015 Rochester Art Ensemble co-presented Day of the Dead Poets Slam 2015 with Rochester Art Center (RAC), and more than 160 people gathered in RAC’s Grand Lobby to watch 9 poets compete in this unique arts and culture event.

SKULL_16In 2016 the organizers of Day of the Dead Poets Slam, again with co-presenters at RAC, intend to make this event the best it’s ever been – three days of events that will include activities for all members of the family.



This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts & cultural heritage fund.

Day of the Dead Poets Slam header
It’s back and bigger and better than ever…it’s Day of the Dead Poets Slam 2016!

All activities listed below will take place in the Grand Lobby of Rochester Art Center.

SKULL_16Thursday, November 3, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Youth Poetry Showcase: “My Story, My Voice”

Young poets will perform their original poetry inspired by their life and identity!

 SKULL_16Friday, November 4, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

VIP! Very Important Pachanga! Come party and meet the poets and artists! Talk to artists and to learn their inspiration and process, hear some preview performances, and get special Day of the Dead Poets Slam swag, like signed posters and t-shirts.

Karla Giguere standing next to the altar she created and installed for Day of the Dead Poets Slam 2015.
Karla Giguere standing next to the altar she created and installed for Day of the Dead Poets Slam 2015.

SKULL_16Saturday, November 5, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Papel Picado
An example of traditional papel picado.

Free Family Day at Rochester Art Center

Children and their families are invited to create traditional Day of the Dead altars, decorate sugar skulls, and make papel picado, a traditional Mexican craft using brightly colored paper and scissors, ranging in its scope from children’s activity to fine art.



SKULL_16Saturday, November 5, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Day of the Dead Poets Slam

Day of the Dead Poets Slam is a combination of a Poetry Slam and Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. A Poetry Slam is is a poetry competition in which three judges, chosen randomly from the audience, give poets scores and decide who will proceed to the next round, and ultimately choose a Grand Champion! Day of the Dead is a traditional Latino holiday that celebrates and honors the lives of lost loved ones through altars, crafts, parades, and more.

Laurel performing as Sappho, 2015. Day of the Dead Poets Slam honors late and great poets through the Poetry Slam, where competitors choose a deceased poet to represent, and compete in the Poetry Slam as that poet – performing their poems using costumes, props, and calavera style makeup (makeup that looks like a decorated and stylized sugar skull). Poets perform in an environment festooned with Day of the Dead decorations, including altars dedicated to the poets, colorful papel picado, and decorated sugar skulls. Past poets represented in Day of the Dead Poets Slam include Sappho, Langston Hughes, Octavio Paz, Rumi, Maya Angelou, and many more!

Rowdy audience participation is encouraged, by cheering for poems they love, and booing when they disagree with a judge’s score. Audience members are also encouraged to wear calavera style makeup, and come dressed as their favorite dead poet!

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 7.53.43 PM Like what you see? We still need help reaching our financial goal! Click the “Donate” button to become a contributor today and you will be helping Rochester grow this unique arts and cultural event! 

This event is a production of the Rochester Art Ensemble, and co-presented with the Rochester Art Center. 

For more information please contact:

Danny Solis | 505–459–3574 |   McKay Bram | rochesterartensemble@gmail.com |

Rochester Art Center |  www.rochesterartcenter.org |