Austin Poetry Slam 20 Year Anniversary Celebration

#APS20 – The APS20 Celebration took place from May 12-17, 2015!

Thanks for 20 wonderful years!  Here’s to 20 more!

Austin Poetry Slam Celebrates 20 Years of Competitive Poetry with Five Days Of Performances!

For the past 20 years, the Austin Poetry Slam has entertained thousands of Austinites with a consistently running weekly show featuring slam poetry – a competitive hybrid art form mixing elements of poetry, theater, comedy, and hip-hop performance, with the exact blend varying from performer to performer.

On May 12-17, Austin Poetry Slam (APS) will celebrate 20 years of verbal combat with #APS20, a five-day showcase spread over six nights, bringing Austin slam alumni from across the nation to perform with Austin’s current group of slam performers.


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The Austin Poetry Slam has developed a great number of contributors to Austin’s culture throughout its history. Its alumni include published poets, actors, comedians, musicians, professors, and professional writers and communicators of all stripes; the most familiar names including best-selling author and screenwriter Ernie Cline, hip-hop artist Da’Shade Moonbeam, improv comedy artist Andrew Buck, NYC stand-up comedian Tony Jackson, Austin theater veteran Zell Miller III, published poet and professor Susan Somers-Willett, and notorious singer and washboard player Wammo, best known in Austin as one of the principal Asylum Street Spankers.

#APS20 is being curated and produced by the two individuals who have held the title of Slammaster (in slam parlance, the primary organizer for a local scene) for the Austin slam. Longtime Austin music and arts staple Mike Henry served as Slammaster for its first 15 years before moving to Las Vegas to become part of Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project initiative. Henry passed the torch to APS vet Danny Strack in 2010.

Strack said of the event, “We’re thrilled to be bringing poets from Austin’s past and present together for this huge celebration! It’s a little mind-blowing that this show’s been part of Austin for as long as it has, and how many lives it has changed over the years.”

“Austin sent its first team to the National Poetry Slam in 1995, and immediately established a reputation for having energetic, dynamic performers, living in a city where people understood and appreciated slam,” added Henry. “That reputation has grown over the years. Austin became a place where poets wanted to be – to tour, to learn, and even to live. Austin’s become a better place because of slam.”

Austin’s history with slam extends beyond the weekly show – which has called ten different venues home since debuting at the legendary Electric Lounge. In 1998, 2006, and 2007, Austin hosted the National Poetry Slam, a four-day festival involving teams of poets from across North America, resulting in multiple sold-out shows at The Paramount Theater. In 2014, Austin hosted the Women of the World Poetry Slam, the world’s premier all-female competition.

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Explore the APS 20 Collage Image

There are over 375 separate images and over 400 poets and community members in this image!*



Want to volunteer to help us with this event?
Contact us at austinpoetryslam@gmail.com!

Austins Premiere Showcase of Spoken Word and Slam Poetry