mayda del valle
2001 Nuyorican Grand Slam Champion

Mayda del Valle has taken the national spoken word scene by storm. In a few short years she has gone from being virtual unknown to becoming one of the most accomplished and respected voices on the scene, proving her skill as both a writer and performer. With her signature “spitfire”? delivery, Mayda recounts deeply personal narratives steeped with the cadence and beats of Hip Hop.

A proud native of Chicago’s South side. Mayda began performing her own writing while in high school and relocated to New York City after graduating from Williams College with a B.A. in Art. One of Mayda’s first stops was the legendary Nuyorican Poets Cafe. In spite of never having peformed poetry competitively Mayda won the 2001 Nuyorican Grand Slam Championship and went on to the National Poetry slam in Seattle that August. There she won the individual National poetry Slam Championship, becoming the first poet from the Nuyorican, the youngest poet ever, and the first Latino person to win the title. Her quick rise to success was no accident. Fresh off her success in the poetry slam scene, Mayda was chosen to perform for the first season of the HBO series Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, and has since been featured on 6 episodes.

She was an original cast member and writer of the critically acclaimed Tony award winning production of Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, and was also part of the national tour of Def Poetry. In addition she was a cast member of the Declare Yourself Spoken Word Tour, a national, non-profit, non-partisan campaign produced by Norman Lear to encourage young voter participation in the 2004 elections.

A talented actress, Mayda refuses to limit herself to the world of poetry. Mayda wrote and performed her one-women show, The Insecurites of an Eagle at NYC’s 3rd Annual Downtown Urban Theatre Festival in 2004 and won an Audience Favorite Award. She has also been featured in a number of publications including El Diario, Urban Latino, Mass Appeal Magazine. Latina Magazine, Trace, The source and the New York Times. She has performed and facilitated workshops and discussions at colleges and universities across the country, and has graced the stages of The Public Theatre, Joe’s Pub, the Williamstown Theatre Festival. And Lincoln center in a special tribute to Tito Puente.

Most recently she has appeared in several films: Sp!t a documentary that explores the world of Spoken Word, Race is the Place a flim exploring the intersection of performance and race featured on PBS, as well as the independent short Speechless directed by Blu Fox. She was also a featured voice on a mixtape DJ J. Period’s "The Official Best of The Root’s" mixtape.

Mayda continues to move audiences everywhere she peforms with her raw honesty and passion. Hers is a unique, powerful voice able to fuse profoundly personal and thought provoking work with the rhythm and pulse of Hip Hop. Bio and photo are from Please see Mayda's site for updates on new projects and appearances.

"a wild spirit, defiant and determined and thrilling" -The Boston Herald

"Mayda del Valle is simply the most supreme of the young poets on the scene" To hear her is to understand the energy of poetry." -Bob Holman

See Grand Slam Finale/2001 and National Team/2001.