POSTED Wed. Jun 5, 2013
Southern Fried starts today
Adam Karlin
Written by ADAM KARLIN

The 21st Annual Southern Fried Poetry Slam hits New Orleans from today until June 8. Dozens of poets will take to stages across the city and compete in slam poetry and spoken word sessions; in addition, poets will host free writing and performance workshops that are open to the community. Special workshops have been designed for aspiring writers. We talked with festival organizer, poet and New Orleans native Kataalyst Alcindor about what’s going on.

What’s happening over the next four days?

The Southern Fried Poetry Slam is the second largest poetry festival in the world. It was founded in 1993 by Allan Wolf and a group of other Southern poets who shared a common desire to celebrate and promote the region’s rich cultural heritage. Since its inception it’s been heralded in The Huffington Post as 5 (More) Slams You Should Know About.

“Our mission is three pronged: To serve the community through educational theatrical and literary programs; to nurture, support and showcase regional, national and international writers as well as actors, musicians, and other artists; to honor the creative genius of the South as a spiritual home. The Slam is coming to New Orleans for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.”

Why is this important for the community?

“The goal of the festival is to attract an eager audience as well as galvanize city communities, to make those communities more aware of the history of competitive literacy throughout the region. Beyond the competition, we make an effort to get every registered member of our festival to donate a portion of their time to community service in the hosting city. This year’s community service aspect will be associated with Poetry In Motion Care Bears, a Mississippi-based charity geared toward community outreach at local children’s hospitals.”

Can you speak to the role of poetry, words and language in your life?

“When I was a child I used to turn the volume down on the TV just so I could read the captions. My brother hated it, but I was so enthralled with combinations of words, and they just never stopped astounding me. The way people would use them to describe things or tell stories always amazes me. It’s like home recipes. I remember hearing my first accent outside of Louisiana. It was beautiful to my ears. Then when poetry came along. It was seeing a beautiful woman in a red dress – I couldn’t look away for anything. The craftsmanship of creating a cloud of images consumed my well being. Not only has poetry become a never ending romance with literacy, it is now my own personal therapy.”

Can you speak to the way New Orleans has nurtured those gifts in you?

“The community of New Orleans has shown me many different facets of life. It has provided both joy and pain for me to reflect on. I’ve learned that for every side of a story, there is another one. And I’ve learned that the spirit of New Orleans can not be defeated. It will always bounce back, despite the numerous setbacks and encounters it endures. This city has taught me never to quit and always revel in your life, until that life is no more. It’s characters will always be something I can take with me wherever I go.”

For a complete schedule of events, go here. Buy tickets for the Southern Fried Poetry Slam here#.

Images courtesy of Southern Fried Poetry Slam and Ride Hamilton


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    • The Arts Council of New Orleans
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    • PRC
    • NOMA
    • The Historic New Orleans Collection
    • Southern Food
    • Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities
    The Arts Council of New Orleans

    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


    WWNO, the NPR member station for New Orleans, serves southeast Louisiana and parts of southwest Mississippi by broadcasting balanced news, thought provoking analysis, classical music, jazz and other musical styles, intelligent entertainment, and unique local content. We broadcast on 89.9 FM, and KTLN 90.5 FM in the Houma-Thibodaux area as a public service of the University of New Orleans. All of WWNO’s programs, including its growing local news coverage, are available online at


    WWOZ 90.7 FM is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station offering listener-supported, volunteer-programmed community radio. WWOZ covers many events live in and around the city and across the United States, and broadcasts live from the famed New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival annually. WWOZ’s mission is to be the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans culture and musical heritage.


    Preservation Resource Center (PRC) has been preserving, restoring, and revitalizing New Orleans’ historic architecture and neighborhoods since 1974. Throughout its history, PRC has acted as an advocacy agent on a local, regional, and national scale, spreading the word about the city’s rich architectural heritage and the economic importance of preserving this heritage. PRC also takes a hands-on approach to preservation, with a history of successfully restoring over 1,400 properties. The center strengthens and revitalizes New Orleans in a way that is forward-looking and sustainable, yet sensitive to the city’s past and its heritage.


    As a nexus for the arts in New Orleans, NOMA is committed to preserving, interpreting, and enriching its collections and renowned sculpture garden; offering innovative experiences for learning and interpretation; and uniting, inspiring, and engaging diverse communities and cultures.

    The Historic New Orleans Collection

    The Historic New Orleans Collection (THNOC) is a museum, research center, and publisher dedicated to preserving the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Its holdings comprise more than one million items from more than three centuries, documenting moments both major and minor. Its four exhibition spaces–the Williams Gallery, the Louisiana History Galleries, the Boyd Cruise Gallery, and the Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for Louisiana Art–faithfully depict the multicultural stories of the region, from permanent displays exploring the evolution of Louisiana to rotating exhibitions showcasing history and fine art.

    Southern Food

    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

    Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities to all Louisianans.

    The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ mission is to provide all Louisianans with access to and an appreciation of their own rich, shared and diverse historical, literary and cultural heritage through grant-supported outreach programs, family literacy and adult reading initiatives, teacher professional development institutes, publications, film and radio documentaries, museum exhibitions, cultural tourism, public lectures, library projects, and other public humanities programming.



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