The 5th Roughly-Annual Great Plains Poetry Pile-Up!


Final Results:

1. Joaquin Zihuatanejo
2. Renee Schminkey
3. Sam Cook
4. Khary Jackson
4. Cynthia French
6. Michael Lee
6. Spencer Retelle
6. Jovan Mays
6. Anna Binkovitz

Congratulations to all! Thank you everyone, poets and supporters, who came out!

NWC UNL LGBT City of Lincoln OM UNL SI

The Nebraska Writers Collective, the UNL LGBTAQA Center, the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau, OM Center Poetry Slam, and UNL Student Involvement Presents!

The Great Plains Poetry Pile-Up

WHEN: Friday and Saturday, October 18-19, 2013

WHERE: The UNL Student Union, 1400 R Street, Lincoln, NE.
October 18th: The Auditorium (2nd Level).
October 19th: The Ballroom (2nd Level)
See maps at

WHAT: The Great Plains Poetry Pile-Up is an individual poetry slam featuring some of the nation's best talent

HOW: The slam will hold three preliminary rounds of ten poets in each round; each poet will read two poems, 3-minutes maximum, Poetry Slam, Inc.'s National Poetry Slam rules apply for poems (i.e. your original work, no props, costumes, etc.).

Prelims will be held at 7 and 8:30pm Friday and 4:30pm Saturday. Finals will feature the top 3 poets from each preliminary round (so 9 total poets). The Finals commence at 7:30pm, scored cumulatively (within the bout, previous bout scores do NOT carry over) and will be 3 rounds with elimination after each round. No poems are allowed to be repeated throughout the entire tournament and we encourage you to use new poems year-to-year.

OTHER EVENTS: Friday night team bout between Omaha, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and more at The Alley (1031 M St, Lincoln)! This bout serves as a "Win & You're In bout, helping all the teams qualify for the National Poetry Slam next August!

WHO IS INVITED: All are invited! This event is open to the public. Audience participation is encouraged in assisting our judges in scoring each round. You can attend any bout, any workshop, and come and go as you please.

COST: $5 suggested donation

PRIZE MONEY: $1800 in total prizes!

  • $600 for First Place
  • $350 for Second Place
  • $250 for Third place
  • $100 for 4th-9th Places
REGISTRATION PROCEDURES: Thirty poets will perform in the slam. To register, contact Matt Mason at and sign up. Though if you live WITHIN a 90 mile radius of the Omaha slam, 6 poets will be named to represent the area, all others in this region can register after October 1st. All poets registering must send in a $20 deposit by August 31st (fully refundable as long as it is requested before October 1st). Mail checks to "Nebraska Writers Collective" at 9712 N 34th Street, Omaha NE 68112 or PayPal it to: (or go to and hit the "Donate" button, include a note).

HOTELS: Host Hotel is the Holiday Inn - Downtown, 141 North 9th Street, Lincoln, NE 68508. $95/night for the 18th and 19th, breakfast included. The rate is for "Great Plains Poetry Pile-Up." 877-859-5095. Book at: Holiday Inn - Downtown Lincoln.


Friday, 10/18 at The UNL Student Union Auditorium (1400 R St, Lincoln, 2nd floor)
7pm, Prelim Bout 1
8:30pm, Prelim Bout 2
Night Event:
10:30pm Team bout with Omaha vs Minneapolis vs Saint Paul vs TBA at The Alley, 1031 M St.

Saturday, 10/19: at The UNL Student Union Ballroom (1400 R St, Lincoln, 2nd floor)
4:30pm, Prelim Bout 3
7:30pm, Finals
Night Event TBA


7pm Friday:

Sam Cook (Saint Paul)
Greg Harries (Omaha)
Shukura Huggins (Omaha)
Reagan Myers (Lincoln)
Michael Lee (Minneapolis)
Piper Mullins (Denver)
Lewis Mundt (Minneapolis)
Adrienne Nadeau (Chicago)
Spencer Retelle (DC/Minneapolis)
Ben Wenzl (Omaha)

Advancing to Finals:
Sam Cook
Michael Lee
Spencer Retelle

8:30pm Friday:

Steven Evans (Omaha)
Paulie Lipman (Denver)
Khary Jackson (Saint Paul)
Thressa Johnson (Saint Paul)
Dan Leamen (Omaha/Glasgow)
Jovan Mays (Denver)
Pat McEvoy (Omaha)
Jesse Parent (Salt Lake City)
Renee Schminkey (Saint Paul)
Julie Kermmoade (Lincoln)

Advancing to Finals:
Khary Jackson
Jovan Mays
Renee Schminkey

4:30pm Saturday:

Anna Binkovitz (Saint Paul/Rochester)
Amy David (Chicago)
Ian D (Denver)
Cynthia French (Minneapolis)
Patrick Sather (Omaha)
John Ratz (Omaha)
Alvin Lau (Toronto)
Patrick Maloney (Minneapolis)
Wonder Dave (San Francisco)
Joaquin Zihuatanejo (Texas)

Advancing to Finals:
Anna Binkovitz
Cynthia French
Joaquin Zihuatanejo
With special mention to Patrick Maloney for showing great Spirit of the Slam respect by declining his place in the Finals


Anna Binkovitz is a senior at Macalester College, where she is one of the directors of the Macalester Poetry Slam. She represented the college at CUPSI in 2012 and 2013, performing on finals stage in 2012 when the team came in 2nd place. She is the author of one chapbook, The Love Hypothetic and many to-do lists that never get done.

SaraEve Daly was born and raised in New Jersey. A performance poet from Jersey City. She has been the co-slammaster of Jersey City Slam and has competed in the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam, as well as 2013 Hudson Country Vagina Monologues and was a finalist for the 2012 and 2013 Jersey City Slam Team. She has facilitated poetry workshops and self-published a full length book and 2 chapbooks as well as recording a poetry EP. She is a Stephen King nerd, loves Harley Quinn and writes [H]ouse fanfiction in her spare time.

Ian D loves his fiance, their cat, and long drives through Midwestern nights. He is a co-founder of the Mercury Cafe Poetry Slam. He has been a member or coach of 10 national slam teams. He's probably older than you think he is. Mostly, he's a big fuzzy teddy bear...mostly.

Cynthia French is the reigning Women's Poetry Slam Champion in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She holds her MFA in Writing from Hamline University and has over 15 years of performance experience in poetry slam, story telling, theater and comedy.

Greg Harries is a poet and teacher living and working in Omaha Nebraska. He is the Artistic Director of RESPECT, a theater company dedicated to addressing bullying and other social issues, and a Teaching Artist with the Nebraska Writers Collective. In 2013 he represented Omaha on the OM Center Slam team at the National Poetry Slam in Boston and at the Individual World Poetry Slam in Spokane.

Thressa Johnson started her career as a writer by penning, publishing, and distributing a series of short stories at age 8, using her mother's office equipment and her little brother's permanent marker art. Since then, she has competed at CUPSI with the Hamline University Poetry Slam team twice, performed at various events and in various coffee shops around the Twin Cities, and stopped wearing her socks pulled up over her pants.

Alvin Lau is a poet, storyteller, essayist, Kundiman fellow, record setting ten-time finalist in national poetry slam competition, three-time (inter)national poetry slam champion, and Moth grandSLAM storytelling champion of Chicago. His poetry and stories have appeared on two seasons of HBO's Def Poetry Jam, NPR,, the Moth Storyteller's Ball in NYC, and numerous journals and anthologies, including and RATTLE. In 2007, Alvin was named the official "Poet of Conscience" of Amnesty International. Favorites include Kendrick Lamar and rice.

Patrick Maloney runs the University of Minnesota Slam Poetry organization, where he works with a handful of exceptionally talented poets and steals all their good ideas.

Jovan Mays was born and raised in Aurora, Colorado. A member of the Denver Slam Nuba national poetry team since 2010, he has had many highlights including winning the Denver city slam championship twice and being on the winning 2011 National Poetry Slam team. Currently, he is slam master for Slam Nuba and runs a youth poetry program throughout the Denver Metro area called Your Writing Counts. He is a graduate from Nebraska’s own Chadron State College where he played football, wrestled and earned a degree in Secondary History Education. Visit WWW.JOVANMAYS.COM.

Piper Mullins is made of broken glass and Laffy Taffy. She is a co-slamaster for the Denver Mercury Cafe Slam, and a competing member of this year's Mercury Cafe Slam team.

Lewis Mundt is a poet originally from Omaha, living in Minneapolis, which makes him part dirt and part flash flood watch. He is the editor in chief at Beard Poetry, founder, coach, and graduate of the Hamline University Poetry Slam, and currently serves on the executive board at Button Poetry. He's also really, really into breakfast.

Jesse Parent placed 2nd at both the 2010 and 2011 Individual World Poetry Slams, was a finalist at the 2012 Ontario International Poetry Slam, and was part of the 8th place Salt City Slam teams at the 2011 and 2012 National Poetry Slams. He has been on the 2007-2013 Salt City Slam teams, has served as SlamMaster and coach for Salt City Slam, and has served on the executive council for Poetry Slam, Inc. For more information, please visit

Jennifer Wang is lady poet from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities who admits to having reckless ideas, but tries to refrain from terrible ones. She was a member of her school's CUPSI 2013 team.

Joaquin Zihuatanejo is the winner of the Individual World Poetry Slam held in North America and the European World Cup of Poetry Slam held in Paris, France. He has shared a stage with Billy Collins, Maya Angelou and Alicia Keys among others. He is the author of three collections of poetry including his latest effort Family Tree. Joaquin has two passions in his life, his wife Aida and poetry, always in that order.

Results from the 2011 Great Plains Poetry Pile-Up
Results from the 2009 Great Plains Poetry Pile-Up
Results from the 2008 Great Plains Poetry Pile-Up
Results from the 2007 Great Plains Poetry Pile-Up

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Last update: October 25, 2013