The Rain City Poetry Slam community is beyond pleased to announce our first ever Rain City Teaching Fellows, who will lead the Spoken Word Project mentoring opportunity youth in collaboration with Renton Academy. We received a number of qualified applicants, and Renton Academy, who made the final decision, was excited to select Roma Raye and Robert Lashley, two pillars of the Western Washington poetry community, and devoted educators and citizens.
Roma Raye is a featured, touring national poet and represented our sister slam Seattle Poetry Slam on their 2012 National Poetry Slam (NPS) team in Charlotte, NC. In addition to her artistic accomplishments, Roma in an English and American Literature teacher, a special education and integrated learning specialist, and has previously served her community as a behavioral intervention specialist and counselor.
Robert Lashley’s book “The Homeboy Songs,” is a complex homage to the black community of Tacoma, WA. Robert is a survivor of the Hilltop gang wars of the early ’90s. He plans to bring his neo-classical lyric style into the classroom as the Renton Academy youth work to find their own voices.
We are also excited to announce that national stage poets Brian McCracken and Ben Yisrael were selected by the Renton Academy to lead a special performance workshop for the students. McCracken is the founder of Olympia People’s Mic in Olympia, WA, and has served on three NPS teams in the past three years; Yisrael has been a representative on eight NPS teams and was slam master of Mic Check in College Station, TX. Both have extensive experience as educators. The poets will develop and lead the workshop to prepare the students for a final performance in mid-March.