BlackBerry Peach Youth Mini-Festival

The BlackBerry Peach Youth Mini-Festival is a one-day event that aims to provide young poets from around the country with dedicated time and attention to expand their writing and performance skills. We bring in renowned poets, such as Ed Mabrey and Dhayana Alejandrina, to the June 2024 festival. They lead workshops and engage with the youth. 

This festival is a prime opportunity for young poets to gather, grow as writers, and build community. The Youth Mini-Festival concludes with a slam competition: Both the winner of the Youth Slam and the competitor with the “Most Inspired Poem” receive cash prizes and opportunities to publish their poetry.



About the Festival 

Friday, June 7, 2024, at the DoubleTree Hilton in Roswell, Georgia, during the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS) Annual Convention and BlackBerry Peach National Poetry Slam.

Young poets from across the country are invited to participate in this free, one-day festival. They will have access to:

  • Workshops led by renowned poets
  • Lunch with NFSPS Convention attendees
  • Fun activity and fellowship time
  • Youth poetry slam (must participate in full festival day to compete)

Workshop Descriptions:

Ed Mabrey: “Love is a House”

Attendees break down places and items in their home and connect them to family members. Using tangible but inorganic objects, the poets are able to create imagery that showcases the relationship dynamic between the people they know and the role each plays in their lives.

Dhayana Alejandrina: “Collaborative Storybuilding”

The Collaborative Story Building workshop is a creative writing session where participants will craft short stories using different writing styles. Through enjoyable activities and teamwork, they brainstorm ideas, create characters, and develop engaging plots together. It's a space for writers to explore, connect, and grow creatively.

Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey: “Making Your Performance Pop!”

Whether it’s Amanda Gorman’s inauguration poem, Brandon Leake winning America’s Got Talent, or simply videos found online, performance poetry is capturing the attention of millions and it’s no surprise. In this workshop, Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey will teach attendees the basics of performance with techniques ranging from vocal performance to choreography. Whether you’ve never read your work out loud before or you’re an open mic regular, you are sure to walk away from this workshop with new tools to really make your next performance pop!

About the Poets:

Ed Mabrey img


Ed Mabrey is the greatest poet in the history of Poetry Slam—4 World Championships, 7 Regional Championships, and over 500 wins. An NAACP Image Award Nominee, Ed's been on TV One, as well as ABC, FOX, HBO, CNN, CBS and NBC. Ed has performed at over 400 colleges. A Cave Canem fellow, Watering Hole graduate fellow and Scioto Retreat Cohort, Ed is a Pushcart nominee and was commissioned to craft a speech encompassing the Freedom Award recipients for 2017-2022 for the National Civil Rights Museum. Ed is a choreopoet, screenwriter, and actor. Most recently, Ed is a 2023 Grammy Voting Member and proud member of Phi Theta Kappa.


Dhayana Alejandrina img


Dhayana Alejandrina is a poet, community facilitator, creative writing mentor and author of "Agridulce: Poetry and Prose." She began her literary journey at age nine in Santo Domingo, continuing it after immigrating to the United States in 2009. Her work explores the transformative power of words, delving into inner growth, culture, identity and healing. Alejandrina recently assumed the role of Lead Poetry and Cultural Collaborator for Afriqué Noire Magazine and is working on her second poetry collection. You can connect with her @dhayanalejandrina or via email









Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey is an author, performer, and producer. His debut book, Look, Black Boy, was awarded first prize in the North Street Book Prize, and his second book, Heart Notes was published in 2019. He released two spoken word albums and in 2023, as a part of the Brucemore Artisan in Studio program, Caleb produced his first short film, Willing to Grow.  He is the winner of several slams across the United States, and competed in the 2023 UNESCO Slam-0-Vision global poetry slam where he ranked 7th worldwide. He has shared the stage with spoken word titans such as Siaara Freeman, Denice Frohman, Javon Johnson, Ebony Stewart, Anthony McPherson, Danez Smith and Patricia Smith, and videos of his performances can be found on his youtube channel, Write About Now, and Button Poetry. When he is not writing and performing he is actively curating a community of spoken word poets in Iowa City through his high school program, IC Speaks, and producing events like the Mic Check Poetry Fest.

How to Attend 

The Youth Mini-Festival aims to be free and accessible for all youth. We work each year to secure funding to provide scholarships to help youth and chaperones travel for the festival. 

Register at the top of this page. If you'd like to purchase meals at the NFSPS Convention, go to /nfsps-2024-national-convention, select and pay for your choices. The Youth Mini-Festival is free for youth. 

Past Winners

Full list of winners to come.