Twelve Literary and Performative Arts Incubator

Where tradition meets innovation

The Lead:

Fourteen youth poets advance to Final Round of One Mic Open youth poetry slam competition

The 14 poets eligible to represent Northeast Ohio at the National Brave New Voices Poetry Festival and Competition this summer have been chosen. Youth poets advancing to the final round of the local One Mic Open Poetry Slam competition include Sage Mack (pictured above), Taylor Benford, Kyle Sweet, Devlinbleu Chambers, Raja Freeman, Diaja Dillard, Tiana Wilson, Zia Durnin, Shaquiel Lynn, Juliette Walkuski, Nick Vitello, Liv Goins, Arianna Rodgers, and Cheyenne Ramos. The Final Round takes place at Spaces Art Gallery on March 31st. Five youth from the final round of 14 poets will represent Northeast Ohio at the national competition in San Francisco. The One Mic Open Poetry Slam Competition is sponsored in part by Twelve Literary and Performative Arts Incubator, Cleveland Leadership Center, The Oswald Companies, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland, and Neighborhood Connections. 

Merge at Karamu Encore Performance on Saturday, April 1 

By popular demand, Twelve and Karamu House will present an encore performance of “Merge at Karamu” on Saturday, April 1st at 8pm in Karamu's Arena Theatre. An intersection of poetry, music, visual arts, film, and dance; Merge at Karamu features poets Eva Barrett, Kisha Nicole Foster, and Siaara Freeman. The trio of poets are joined by DJ Red-I who provides the soundscape for the evening. "Merge at Karamu" is directed by Nina Domingue Glover. It is highly recommended to purchase tickets online and in advance by visiting or you can click here.

Apply to Baldwin House Urban Writing Residency 

Twelve Literary and Performative Arts Incubator is offering seven talented poets and writers a comfortable and rich environment in which to immerse themselves in the process of beginning or continuing significant projects for the page and stage.
Projects completed during the residency are designed to end in publication or performance at a professional or community theater. The six-week residency begins the first week of April and ends during the last week of May.
A published poet/writer and professional creative writing facilitator will lead residents for weekly two-hour workshops. Poets-in-Residence will also have free access to Twelve Literary Arts 24-hours-per day by appointment throughout the length of the residency.
The application deadline is Friday, March 3rd. Residents will be announced no later than March 13th.
Cost to participate in the residency is $75, which can be paid in full in advance or in three bi-weekly installments.
To apply for Baldwin House urban writing residency, click here. 

Twelve News:

Twelve Teaching Artist-in-Residence Kisha Nicole Foster featured on 

Check out's feature article on Twelve Teaching Artist-in-Residence Kisha Nicole Foster, written by Nikki Delamotte. Here, Delamotte proclaims Foster as one of Cleveland's "writers on the rise." The article comes just in time to promote Foster's highly anticipated poetry feature at "Merge at Karamu" - an intersection of poetry, music, visual arts, film, and dance on Saturday, March 4th at Karamu House, 8pm. For more information about "Merge" visit our "Events" section. 

Twelve Literary Arts receives $2,000 grant from Cleveland Leadership Center's Accelerate project

Twelve Literary and Performative Arts was chosen as "a potential game-changer for making life better in Cleveland," according to The Cleveland Leadership Center who hosted "Accelerate 2017: Citizens Make Change."

Twelve received a $2,000 grant after winning the Transformative Arts and Culture category for its efforts in creating a community of young writers. Check out the article here, or listen to Twelve Literary Arts executive director on "The Sound of Ideas" here. 

Twelve Literary Arts Executive Artistic Director featured on and the Plain Dealer

Check out's feature article on Twelve Executive Artistic Director Daniel Gray-Kontar written by Grant Segall. Here, Segall outlines the role of Twelve Literary Arts in "building bridges of expression for writers of all ages.

Twelve Literary Arts commissioned to write a choreopoem celebrating the election of Carl B. Stokes

In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the election of Carl B. Stokes as the first African American Mayor of a large American city, Twelve Literary and Performative Arts has been commissioned to write a collection of poems and monologues about Stokes and the social climate across Cleveland and the nation that gave rise to his election in 1967. 

Twelve Executive Artistic Director Daniel Gray-Kontar will write the performance piece with five student interns as part of a larger commemoration celebrating the 50-year legacy of leadership and activism of Carl and Louis Stokes. Citywide partners of the yearlong celebration include the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Humanities Center at Tri-C, Karamu House, the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, Western Reserve Historical Socity, The Cleveland Foundation, Greater Cleveland Partnership, and The City Club of Cleveland. For more information, visit The Cleveland Foundation website or click here. 

Twelve Literary and Performative Arts programming is brought to you in part by the generous support of the following funders and sponsors:

Yussef Kamaal
User (User's Album)