Spoken Word

Bringing together words, rhythms, and a chance for people to express their deepest concerns.

Across Trinidad & Tobago, the spoken word movement brings together words, rhythms, and a chance for people to express their deepest concerns. 

The Bocas Lit Fest, working with the activist 2Cents Movement, is in the vanguard of developing the genre that provides a bridge between the oral tradition and the written word. The headline event is the First Citizens National Poetry Slam, with TT$80,000 for the top three poets.

Our spoken word programmes run year round:

Courts Bocas Secondary Schools “Speak Out” Spoken Word Tour

With over 120 schools visited and 57,200 students reached so far, the Courts Bocas Secondary Schools Speak Out Tour is geared towards promoting art and literacy through actively engaging students in critical thought and explorations of language and creativity. The tour includes free workshops for students that introduce them to writing and performance and offer the opportunity to work closely with the tour’s well-known performance poets, developing newly crafted work.

Raise the Bar: The National Spoken Word Intercol

The exciting championship has blossomed from an individual poet competition to a team event where students now train together in preparation for group poetry performances. Over 100 students participated in the 2016 inaugural run of the group poetry competition, and in 2018 we will see new schools and new student performers face off.

U.WE Speak and USC Speak

The oldest existing open mic in Trinidad and Tobago, U.WE Speak was established at the University of the West Indies campus by Muhammad Muwakil and Nku Davis in 2005 as a space for students to explore societal issues through arts and discussion. Currently, both U.WE Speak and U.SC Speak are produced by the 2 Cents Movement as Bocas Lit Fest youth projects, and remain a compelling part of campus life and a space for creative discourse.

The First Citizens National Poetry Slam

Open to all ages, The First Citizens National Poetry Slam (formerly known as the VERSES Bocas Poetry Slam) is T&T’s national spoken word competition, sponsored by First Citizens in collaboration with the Bocas Lit Fest and The 2 Cents Movement.

The competition takes place over several rounds. The best 32 competitors in the auditions move on to the semi-finals. The climax is the final play-off between the top 12 and defending champion National Poetry Slam Finals, the keenly anticipated closing event of the NGC Bocas Lit Fest.

The 2017 Finals were on Sunday 30 April, 6pm at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA), Frederick Street.

Past winners:

1st Angelo Hart
2nd Charnelle Lucien

1st Crystal Skeete- “Maxi Man Tracking School Gyal
2nd Akile Wallace

1st Idrees Saleem
2nd Brendon O’Brien
3rd Akile Wallace

1st Akile Wallace
2nd Kleon McPherson
3rd Derron Sandy

1st Seth Sylvester
2nd Kyle Hernandez
3rd Idrees Saleem

1st Camryn Bruno
2nd Alexandra Stewart
3rd Idrees Saleem

What is the 2 Cents Movement?

Born out of concern for the increasing apathy among the young, the 2 Cents Movement is a youth-led arts non-profit organization focused on engaging youth on critical issues relevant to their development through creating new spaces of contemporary art and discourse with the goal of them becoming confident, socially responsible citizens.