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Creating space - and healthy competition - for spoken word

A few years ago Jandeltha Rae was dealing with writer’s block and personal issues that made it hard for her to write and perform. So instead, she created “‘Till the Last Word” as a central organization to host poetry slams with monetary prizes.

“My initiative with the last word was to fund artistry, and to give back to the community in some way, shape, or form if I wasn't in a position to be able to perform myself,” she said.

Rae hopes that creating this space will push others to also hold spaces for poetry slams. She says she wants there to be healthy competition that encourages spoken word artists to grow. She says too often spoken word is taken for granted as an art form.

“Writing is one of the oldest talents and oldest skills there is,” Rae said. “And I think what makes spoken word poetry so significant is that you don't have music backing, you don't have a band behind you. It's just words, and it's a powerful thing.”

Rae wants ‘Till the Last Word to become an epicenter and resource for artists. She says establishing spaces for the community will make it accessible for people to learn and share their crafts and ideas.

“We take in words every single day, no matter if it's you reading somebody's caption, or you're reading an article, you know, whatever it is, words are very powerful. And I want to be as intentional as possible with my gift to reach as many people who are willing to hear.”

‘Till the Last Word is co-hosting a poetry slam Saturday, July 16 at Black Table Arts Co-op in Minneapolis.


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