Professor Massenburg wins poetry slam

Chris Massenburg, assistant professor of English, led the Bull City Slam Team to a first place finish at the 22nd Annual Southern Fried Southeastern Regional Poetry Slam. Southern Fried is a four-day long festival, comprising competition and the camaraderie of poets from all over the southeast and beyond. This year, 32 teams, as well as 16 indie poetry slammers, competed for more than $5,000 in cash prizes and this year’s bragging rights.

The team consists of Massenburg and poets Brandon “Ishine” Evans, Eric “Lyrically Blessed” Thompson, Lejuane “El’Ja” Bowens, and Micah Romans. Massenburg is the founder and coach of the team.

The slam team is sponsored by the St. Joseph’s Historic Foundation in Durham. Coming off of this momentous victory, the team will prepare for national competition in August at the National Poetry Slam in Oakland, Calif.

The team is chosen through monthly competition at the Jambalaya Soul Slam held in Durham, NC at the Hayti Heritage Center. The St. Joseph’s Historic Foundation manages the center where Massenburg is a resident artist. Massenburg partnered with the foundation to bring the Jambalaya Soul Slam to the Hayti in 2005 and has been taking a team to competition each summer ever since. This is the second regional championship the team has won. The previous championship was in 2010. The team has also finished as high as third in the nation.

The festival was hosted in Greenville, SC by Wits End Poetry. Wits End Poetry is a 501(c)3 organization that promotes literacy and held build creative capital in South Carolina.