Spotlight: Jay Ward
Jay Ward is the 2018 National Poetry Slam Champion as part of SlamCharlotte. He has been featured on Button Poetry,
See him live at Coffee Underground as part of the Say What Sunday poetry night on February 17. Learn more about Jay Ward below!
The night will also feature an open mic for local poets.
Jay Ward is a poet and teaching artist from Charlotte, NC. There is an honest and raw energy released to the audience when his page meets the stage; a story aching to be heard, a salve searching for hearts. Jay is currently ranked 14th in the world for slam poetry and Charlotte's 2016 Poet of the Year. He is also a Program Director for BreatheInk, where he facilitates writing and performance workshops and coaches youth poets attending Brave New Voices each year. He has released two full length cd's of poetry, published the book Life Power Soul in 2009, and is certified to lead writing groups and workshops by Amherst Writer's and Artists. In addition he has appeared on Fox News, opened for Angie Stone and Georgia Me, featured in many venues throughout the southeast and taught at numerous schools and universities.
His love affair with poetry began with hip hop; the culture, the rhymes, the metaphor set to melody. He was always writing, reciting, practicing in the mirror with his 'microphone' (aka hair brush, afro pick, can of afro sheen, etc). After joining a writing group, he focused exclusively on poetry and spoken word. In 2010 he began performing in Charlotte and entered the world of slam poetry.
As a slam poet, Jay has won many competitions and has qualified to represent Charlotte twice at the Individual World Poetry Slam. He has also enjoyed the opportunity to pass on the knowledge and skills he's acquired by coaching youth poets who qualified to attend the international poetry festival and competition, Brave New Voices.
On the page, he has been published in Four Magazine, ConcreteGeneration.com, and has been selected for an upcoming anthology by New Dawn Unlimited. His first collection, Life Power Soul, received Honorable Mention in the 2010 Self Published Book of the Year Awards.
Away from stage and page, one of Jay's passions is teaching. In addition to facilitating workshops bi-weekly for BreatheInk and various schools, he has been requested to speak at UNC-Charlotte, Hofstra University and the National Council for Black Studies 40th Anniversary Conference. He enjoys talking to educators not only about why poetry is important and should be taught in the schools, but also practical steps of how this can be done in a way where the teachers aren't intimidated and the students are empowered and eager to learn.
Poetry is art. The role of an artist is to take the world around them, translate it, and hand it back to the people. The role of an artist is not to be the fire but to be the spark. The only constraint to the artist is the size of his audience, you, the fuel. Jay Ward would love to be your catalyst.