Press Release - Detail
For immediate release Monday, February 27, 2012
CONTACT:  Charla Draper
Public Relations Dept. Head
Birmingham Public Library
Phone: (205) 226-3746

 Word Up! Poetry Series Spotlights Southeast’s Top Talents

Birmingham, Alabama—In an era where it can be challenging to get the attention of high-school students, the “Word Up! Poetry Slam” has garnered both their attention and involvement.  Launched in partnership with high schools in Jefferson County, Word Up! marks its Fifth Anniversary in April 2012.  As the preliminary student competition for gets underway—this competition will occur at participating high schools through the end of March—the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) will host “Word Up! The Art of the Word,” on Tuesday evenings in March at 6:30 p.m. in the Richard Arrington, Jr. Auditorium of the Central Library showcasing the talents of noted poets throughout the Southeast.

“The Art of the Word” series kicks off on March 6 with Atlanta native M. Ayodele Heath, author of “Otherness” (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2010). Heath is a graduate of the MFA program at New England College and is the two-time Southeastern Regional Slam Champion and top-10 finisher at the National Poetry Slam.

The March 13 program features Kevin Young who is regarded as one of the leading poets of his generation. Young’s most recent book, “Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels” (Knopf, 2011), was named one of the best Poetry Books of 2011. Before earning an MFA degree from Brown University, Young studied at Harvard under Seamus Haney, who was often recognized as one of the major poets of the twentieth century.

On March 20, members of the community are invited to share famous favorite poems during “My Favorite Poem.”  Modeled after former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem Project, the program will be moderated by Irene Latham, poetry editor for the “Birmingham Arts Journal” and author of the award-winning poetry collections “The Color of Lost Rooms” (Blue Rooster Press, 2011) and “What Came Before” (Negative Capability Press 2007).

The final program on March 27 features Birmingham resident Elizabeth Hughey, recipient of the prestigious Iowa Poetry Prize for her book “Sunday Houses the Sunday House” (University of Iowa Press, 2006). She earned an MFA degree at the University of Massachusetts, and teaches creative writing at the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

The four-program series promises to be inspiring and entertaining for both teens and adults celebrating the art of the word.  The mission of Birmingham Public Library is to provide the highest quality library service to our citizens for life long learning, cultural enrichment and enjoyment.  This system—with eighteen locations and serving the community for 125 years—is one of the largest library systems in the southeast. For additional information, visit the website at or follow us at

Page Last Modified: 6/15/2021 9:51 AM