Our Words Our City: 

A DC SCORES Poetry Showcase

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater 

1101 6th St SW, Washington, DC 20024

May 16th, 2023

Doors at 6:45 PM

Our Words Our City is the DMV region's premier youth poetry showcase. Our Words Our City is hosted by DC SCORES, which serves more 3,000 District kids (poet-athletes) through its soccer, poetry, and service-learning programs. The event will feature original spoken-word performances from DC SCORES poet-athletes who participate in the Youth W.O.R.D. Initiative, a DC SCORES enhanced writing and professional development program for students passionate about poetry and performance. Award-winning author and former college soccer player Clint Smith will receive the inaugural Poet-Athlete Award at Our Words Our City, in recognition of his work to promote racial justice and equity. Smith will also give a reading from his new poetry collection Above Ground.

Featured Artist: Clint Smith

Clint Smith is a staff writer at The Atlantic. He is the author of the narrative nonfiction book, How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America, which was a #1 New York Times Bestseller and a 2021 National Book Critics Circle Award Winner for Nonfiction, and the poetry collection Counting Descent, which won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. He has received fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New America, the Emerson Collective, the Art For Justice Fund, Cave Canem, and the National Science Foundation. His essays, poems, and scholarly writing have been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review, the Harvard Educational Review, and elsewhere.

Poet-Athlete Performers


Fourteen-year-old Asher attends the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and has been writing poetry since they were in elementary school. Asher likes to perform poems about issues they care about to explore how they can make an impact on the world. 

Read more about Asher >


Eight-year-old Carter began writing poetry when she joined the Barnard Elementary School DC SCORES team last year. Her favorite poet is Amanda Gorman. Writing makes her feel happy and she likes to write about "things that did not happen but could."

Read more about Carter >


This year's event marks Chloe's second Our Words Our City performance. The eleven-year-old Seaton Elementary School student enjoys writing about her childhood and aspires to be a poet when she grows up, just like her hero Amanda Gorman!

Read more about Chloe >


Ten-year-old Gini, a student at Whittier Education Campus, loves all kinds of performance and wants to be an actor and singer when she grows up. She likes to write about her life and credits her family and friends with supporting her ambitions. 

Read more about Gini >


MacFarland Middle School student Kayla took home the Shine Award for Best Solo Performance at last year's Middle School Slam. The eleven-year-old is inspired by her fellow Our Words Our City performer Asher, who Kayla describes as her "favorite poet!" 

Read more about Kayla >


Tyler Elementary School student Kollyn first performed on a DC SCORES poetry stage last November, when he performed the solo poem for his school at Westside Slam. He says that his favorite thing about performing is "meeting the other poets!"

Read more about Kollyn >


Ten-year-old Maya is a student at Truesdell Elementary School. She wants to work for NASA and become an author when she is older. She grew up in Ethiopia before moving to the U.S. Her favorite poet is her namesake, Maya Angelou!

Read more about Maya >


Veronica is a student at School Without Walls at Francis Stevens. The nine-year-old likes to write about issues she wants to change, such as gun violence and climate change. She loves poetry "'cause people don't judge what you say, they listen." 

Read more about Veronica>

Thank You to Our Host Committee

Ben-James Brown - Wells FargoAnn Friedman - Planet Word

David Grosso - Arent FoxAndrew Howell - Monument Advocacy • 

Arlene SelberAndy Shallal - Busboys and Poets

Thank You to Our Official Event Partners