Twelve Literary Arts 

Where tradition meets innovation

The Artists of Twelve

Six of Twelve youth performance ensemble

Six of Twelve is a collective of six high school youth artists-in-residence who develop works of performance poetry at Twelve Literary and Performative Arts Incubator. Among the most acclaimed youth poets in Northeast Ohio, Six of Twelve members have received national distinction by Presidential First Lady Michelle Obama, and have represented the city of Cleveland as members of the national youth poetry slam team.

Daniel Gray-Kontar

Daniel Gray-Kontar is a poet, rapper, journalist, educator, and youth mentor. His poetry has appeared in such anthologies as Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam (Three Rivers Press) Spirit and Flame: An Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry (Syracuse University Press), and on the sound recording Grand Slam: The Best of the National Poetry Slam, Volume One (Mouth Almighty Records). Kontar is also the 1994 national poetry slam co-champion. In 2008, performing under the moniker Replife, Kontar released his first full-length album titled “The Unclosed Mind” (Futuristica Music). He has performed on over 30 international sound recordings. Kontar’s music and social criticism has appeared in such magazines as The Source, The Village Voice, Wax Poetics, and XLR8R. He is the former editor and publisher of the underground monthly magazine, Urban Dialect. Gray-Kontar is a former Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Berkeley’s department of Language, Literacy, Society and Culture, and is the executive artistic director at Twelve Literary and Performative Arts Incubator.

Kisha Nicole Foster

A nominee of the Cleveland Arts Prize, Kisha Nicole Foster is a poet, educator, coach, and mentor from Cleveland, Ohio. She studied English at Cleveland State University. Kisha has represented Cleveland several times nationally – competing at: National Poetry Slam 2003, Individual World Poetry Slam 2008, and Women of the World 2009. The Poets and Writers League of Greater Cleveland (now The Lit Center), awarded Kisha as one of the Top 25 Writers of Greater Cleveland in 2006. In 2010, KNF produced her first one – woman show, “Remember Rebirth WeLive”, for Black Poetic Society at the Cleveland Museum of Art. After self-publishing three works, Kisha was approached by Guide to Kulchur Press, in 2015, to publish her first full length collection of poems on their Vanguard Series, titled “Poems: 1999-2014”. KNF has featured at colleges and universities across Northeast Ohio and Eastern Indiana. She also consulted the College of Wooster CUPSI team, KnowEyeSlam for three years. This past summer she coached Cleveland’s national youth poetry slam team at Brave New Voices, in Washington D.C. in July 2016. She is a 2016 Fellow of Pink Door Writing Retreat, in Rochester NY. Currently she is a Fellow for Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library and Regional Coordinator for Poetry Out Loud - Northeast Ohio. KNF offers poems that resonate in the soul of audiences that have witnessed her “raw energetic verse”. Her favorite form to study and teach is the sestina, which is six stanzas, six end words which rotate and an envoi at the end containing all six words.  KNF guides poets to their place of completion – young and old, helping them find their voices and focus on their craft. 

Eva Barrett

Eva Barrett is a poet and playwright from Cleveland, OH, and is the author of the collection of poems, White Space. She is currently an artist in residence at the Cleveland School of the Arts. Her primary artistic focus is studying discourse as power in dialogue and public space, and translating the nuances of human interactions into written and spoken word. She has facilitated classes and workshops in playwriting, poetry, and the historical analysis of poetry, centered on the intersections of postcolonial studies and erotic subjectivity. Eva was the 2016 recipient of the Rocks Experiential Learning Fellowship, with which she travelled to participate in the James Madison University Undergraduate Writing Conference. Eva will collaborate with DJ Red-I in her choreopoem, “A Tour of My Room in the White House” at Karamu House on February 4, 2017.

Invisible / Visible (Feat. Bobby McFerrin & Cesar Camargo Mariano)
Taylor McFerrin (Early Riser WEB)