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2nd Annual Living Word Festival

A Celebration of the Possibilities of Language

Now in its second year, The Living Word Festival is an annual community gathering of artists, educators, presenters and performers who take three days each Fall to focus on literacy education and literary performance.

Developed by Youth Speaks/The Living Word Project in 2001, the Festival serves as an opportunity for authors to network across genres and disparate communities to discover new realities and common ground through literature.

Most importantly, The Living Word Festival challenges writers to re-visit the infinite possibilities and functions for the word, creating an environment that is conducive to artistic growth and ripe for presenting groundbreaking material.

Co-presented by Speak Out, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and KPFA’s Hard Knock Radio, featured performers include Sarah Jones, Janice Mirikitani, Piri Thomas, Chrystos, devorah major, Aya de Leon, Boots Riley (of The Coup).

Events include a performance of “Generations," featuring internationally acclaimed playwright, poet and actor Sarah Jones (“Women Can’t Wait”), panels and workshops on comedic writing and incorporating the spoken word in the contemporary classroom, Art to Inspire: a favorite poem project and an all-ages book party for the Youth Speaks’ 2002 anthology, published by McSweeney’s.

The three-day festival attracts national audiences and attention by showcasing the flavor and vitality of our local artists, infusing performances and presentations with lively intergenerational discussion about the role of creative writing in social transformation.

Opening Night: Generations
Friday, October 18 @ 8 pm, $20, available in advance from the YBCA box office
An Inter-Generational Performance and Public Discussion with Sarah Jones (Surface Transit, Women Can't Wait), Piri Thomas (Down these Mean Streets, Barrio Blues), Janice Mirikitani (2001 SF Poet Laureate) and Chinaka Hodge (Youth Speaks 2001 SLAM CHAMP).
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum, 701 Mission St., SF, 415.978.2787

The Living Word Festival
Saturday, October 19 @ 11 am - 6 pm
  • Teacher's Workshop: Using Spoken Word in Schools (11 am - noon)
  • Under-21 Spoken Word: Workshop series (12 noon - 1 pm)
  • Writing the Passionate Voice: With Ishle Yi Park (12 noon - 1 pm)
  • The 2002 Youth Speaks Anthology Celebration (1 pm - 2:30 pm)
  • Where I'm From ... The Word in the Bay Area (2:30 pm - 3:30 pm)
  • Young Asian Author Showcase with Jason Mateo (3:30 pm - 4:30 pm)
  • Emerging Artist Showcase (5 pm - 6 pm)
Youth Speaks Literary Arts Center, 2169 Folsom St., SF, 415. 255.9035

Aspire to Inspire
Saturday, October 19 @ 8 pm, $10
A favorite poem project. Featuring a roster of emerging writers who will perform the work of poets and writers who have inspired them.
San Francisco Arts Institute, 800 Chesnut St., SF, 415.771.7020

The Next Movement in Spoken Word Theater
Sunday, October 20 @ 8 pm, $15
Aya de Leon, Shawn Taylor, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, James Kass, Beau Sia, Paul Flores, Hanifah Walidah, and Melinda Corazon Foley present excerpts from their new theatrical pieces, illustrating the Bay Area's best in hip hop and spoken word theater.
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum, 701 Mission St., SF, 415.978.2787