#UWFirstDraft is a FREE, non-censored, open mic & weekly reading series sponsored by Urban Word NYC. It is open to all teen poets, musicians, MCs, Urban Word alumni, and mentors. We seek to provide a safe space for artistic expression, experimentation and development across all genres. First Draft is not a workshop nor a staged show. It's the stepping stone in-between. It is open to artists of all mediums seeking to share their creative energy and unique perspective. All generations of the Urban Word community, past, present and future, are invited to share their voices, ideas and wisdom.
About Our Feature:
Dena Igusti is an Indonesian-Muslim poet based in Queens, New York. She is currently the co-founder of Short Line!, an organization dedicated to connecting artists to their communities, to each other, to resources, and to themselves. She is a 2018 Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador and 2017 Federal Hall Fellow
Her work has been featured in Thread, Quail Bell Magazine, and more. Her blood consists of one part dollar pizza and two parts Arizona
About our curators:
Jeffrey Ravon LeGrande is a young aspiring artist, poet, and athlete. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Spanish Harlem he found passion for his art and sports at an early age. He attends Art and Design High School and is an eager learner. Through the experiences of leadership programs, art internships, and community based sports/programs he yearns for the safety, creative exploration, and happiness of others and himself. In the future he sees himself as an educator, athlete, poet, artist and advocate.
James Larkin (aka DJ Cuddles) is a poet and performer from the Tri-State area who is currently attending St. John’s University where he is studying English. He was a member of the 2015 ConneticWord Slam team which competed in BNV in Atlanta, Georgia and was also a member of the 2015-2016 Urban Word NYC Youth Leadership Board. He has performed in spaces such as the Bushnell, Apollo Theater, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, The Emelin Theater, Summer Stage, has run workshops with ConneticWord, and is the co-founder of the first ever St. John's slam team. When he isn’t writing or performing you can probably find James running his fingers through his luxurious hair.
About the founders:
Jon Sands is a writer known for electric readings, and the author of The New Clean (2011, Write Bloody Publishing). He founded First Draft along with the Urban Word NYC Youth Board. His work has been featured in The New York Times, published widely in various journals, and anthologized in The Best American Poetry 2014. He starred in the award winning web-series Verse: A M**der Mystery from Rattapallax Films, is the co-founder of Poets in Unexpected Places, and a facilitator with the Dialogue Arts Project. http://jonsands.com