NEPA Scene Staff

Breaking Ground Poets hold 1st annual Dialogue Arts Youth Festival on May 15-16 in Scranton and Tunkhannock

Breaking Ground Poets hold 1st annual Dialogue Arts Youth Festival on May 15-16 in Scranton and Tunkhannock
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Group is still seeking young poets and writers for workshop

From a press release:

The Breaking Ground Poets have announced the first annual Dialogue Arts Youth Festival, taking place from May 15-16 in Scranton and Tunkhannock.

According to Katie Wisnosky, founder of the Breaking Grounds Poets and coordinator of the Youth Festival, “The festival will use creative writing and critical dialogue to bring communities together around conversations of identity that are often characterized by silence.”

The festival will be a mixture of performance and workshops led by several internationally acclaimed spoken word poets:

  • Carlos Andrés Gómez is an award-winning poet, actor, speaker, and writer from New York City. He is the author of the recent memoir, “Man Up: Reimagining Modern Manhood,” was named Artist of the Year at the 2009 Promoting Outstanding Writers Awards, and has appeared on HBO’s “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry” and TV One’s “Verses and Flow.”
  • Lauren Whitehead is a Shubert Presidential Fellow at Columbia University where she teaches university writing to undergraduate students. She has performed her works at the Sundance Film Festival, the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and the Nokia Theater, and she has been featured on HBO’s “Russell Simmons Presents Brave New Voices,” NPR’s “Talk of the Nation,” and “Forum.” Her poems have been published in several anthologies.
  • Jon Sands is the author of “The New Clean” and has had works featured in The New York Times and anthologized in “The Best American Poetry 2014.” He is the co-founder of Poets in Unexpected Places and a facilitator with the Dialogue Arts Project. Currently, he is a youth mentor with Urban Word-NYC and teaches creative writing for adults at various venues across New York City.
  • Adam Falkner is the founder and executive director of the Dialogue Arts Project, a founding curator of Poets in Unexpected Places, and a doctoral student in English Education at Columbia University, Teachers’ College. His work has been published in literary anthologies and journals, and he was the featured performer at President Obama’s Grassroots Ball at the 2009 presidential inauguration. His work has been featured on HBO, Time Out New York, and The New York Times.

Friday, May 15 will be an unprecedented night of performance for the area, where the public can come and witness the four poets present some of their works at TwentyFiveEight Studios (703 N. Washington Ave., REAR, Scranton) at 7 p.m. Tickets will be $5 for youth and $10 for adults and can be purchased at Brown Paper Tickets or at the door, which opens at 6:30 pm.

On Saturday, May 16, workshops for interested youth will be held at Tunkhannock Area High School (135 Tiger Dr., Tunkhannock) from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., where young poets and writers, ages 14-21, can get advice, critiques, and tutelage from the four performers. Participants will engage in a controlled exchange of personal stories and writing prompts. Registration is required.

A portion of the festival has been funded by a Lackawanna County Art and Culture Grant, alongside individuals who believe in the power of word when it is in the hands of young people. For more information, to provide sponsorship to a needy student, or to apply to participate in the festival, contact Katie Wisnosky at

Learn more about the Breaking Ground Poets in Episode 19 of the NEPA Scene Podcast.