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Organising Board

JAFA Poetry Slam is currently organised by board of acclaimed and award-winning poets, writers and performers. As the team behind the scenes, we aim to:

  • Provide a safe space for writers to share their work.

  • Encourage writers to gain confidence and skill in performing their work.

  • Give our slammers the opportunity to gain national recognition at the NZ National Poetry Slam.

  • Create a thriving community for both participants and supporters of poetry.

Our board currently includes:

  • Carrie Rudzinski (she/her) is a poet and published author who has performed her work for 17 years in six countries. Ranked 4th in the world at the 2014 Women of the World Poetry Slam, she has authored six poetry collections, five spoken word albums, and been featured in Bustle, HuffPost and Teen Vogue.

  • Eric Soakai (him/they) is the 2019 New Zealand Poetry Slam National Champion and attended the 2020 Indigenous Artist Residency in Canada. A fixture in the Auckland poetry scene, he is a Word The Front Line coach and has represented Auckland at the National Poetry Slam twice.

  • Jessie Fenton (she/her) is a New Zealand National Poetry Slam runner-up twice over, Poetry Idol winner, and Word: the Front Line coach. She has previously been published in "Starling" and Otago University's "Manifesto." She is currently taking a break while studying in the USA, but will join us when she returns.

  • Ken Arkind (he/him) is an American National Poetry Slam Champion, Tedx Speaker and Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam Champion who has performed his work in 49 States, 6 countries and at over 200 colleges and universities. He works for Action Education, organising and hosting WORD The Frontline, New Zealand's only youth poetry slam.

  • Marcus Mackenzie (he/him) is a performance poet born and raised in Tāmaki Makaurau. He has represented Auckland twice at the NZ National Poetry slam Finals, and has performed across Aotearoa. His poetry is forthcoming in AUP’s Aotearoa Performance Poetry Anthology. His work is varied, but has a proclivity to all things rainbow and is a sucker for finding meaning in the little things.

  • Sarah Krieg (she/her) aka Sazzok is a poet, podcaster and communications specialist from Tāmaki Makaurau. On the mic, she explores issues around sex, queerness and capitalism, as well as all the strange and beautiful ways love might survive this hellscape. She’s read her poems at the 2023 Welcome to Nowhere festival, as well as different nooks and crannies across the motu. When she’s not performing, she hosts “Poetry Snaps”, a podcast about Aotearoa's thriving poetry scene.

  • Shania Pablo (they/them) is an Art History Honours student by day and a spoken word poet once every four months. They are passionate about storytelling and providing a safe space for the arts to flourish. They are an alumni of and have since become a regular coach for Word The Frontline, mentoring the next generation of poets.

  • Abby Irwin-Jones [bio pending!]

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