By Laura Yes Yes:

SALEM 1994
(With touring partner Kim Johnson)

Courtesy of Jason Flynn’s youtube channel.


Courtesy of West Side School for the Desperate’s youtube channel.

Laura Swearingen-Steadwell (AKA Laura Yes Yes) has competed in slams nationwide, notably as a finalist in 2010’s Women of the World Poetry Slam. She tours and leads workshops as part of the queer female duo Shadowboxers Anonymous. Laura’s first book, How to Seduce a White Boy in Ten Easy Steps, was nominated for a National Book Award. She is currently an MFA candidate at Warren Wilson College.

Editor’s Note: I had the pleasure of seeing Laura Swearingen-Steadwell perform at louderARTS this week. louderARTS is home to a longstanding open mic, reading series, slam forum, and workshop series. Monday nights in Manhattan’s Bar 13 have been turning out the likes of Roger Bonair-Agard, Ocean Vuong, Elana Bell, Sabrina Hayeem-Ladani, John Paul Davis, Regie Cabico, and countless other rising stars and champions of the written and spoken word for years. The tradition continues every week. Show up at 6:00, like I did, and be treated to a FREE writing workshop with louderARTS members and visiting workshop leaders. I was lucky enough to kick off my evening with a workshop lead by today’s featured poet.

When Laura Swearingen-Steadwell opened up “Salem 1994” by inviting us all to join in a Kumbaya-esque rendition of Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know,” I was all in. When the performance morphed into a feminist celebration of the songstresses who have been writing and performing the soundtrack of my life since I was fourteen years old, the poet officially had a new fan. When she performed “College Transcript” we were all invited to call out “brain,” “cunt,” “liver,” “fist” to accompany each of the poet’s hand gestures. It was fun. It was interactive. It was engaging. And it was truth, spoken from the poet’s own honest experience to resonate with our own. This is a poet who speaks her mind, who speaks her heart, who tells it like it is, unafraid, claiming the world for herself and for us all.

Want to see more by Laura Yes Yes?
“Octopussy: The Playboy Interview”


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