1998 Nuyorican Grand Slam Finale


This was the first year I created the evening "program" for the Nuyorican Grand Slam and it was the only booklet-style Grand Slam program we ever made as we had some grant money at the time for it. All Grand Slam Finale programs since then have been much simpler and less expensive to produce. The boxing gloves used here on the cover were never used again in subsequent programs; while they make visual sense, it seemed to me that they are pretty overused in Slam.

All the bios and photos used here were the originals that our poets submitted in 1998. Some of these poets went on to the National Team where you can read their more recent bios, but anyone who wants to update one here, please email us.

nikki byrd

Native New Yorker, Nikki was born of Hungarian, Russian Jew, Native and African-American parentage, in 1969.  Nikki draws on the gifts of her father, a jazz vocalist, her mother a social scientist, and her Eastern-thinking grandparents for her distinctive artistic voice. Believing the impossible only takes longer, Nikki began her artistic endeavors in 1990 after graduating cum laude... more››

steve colman

In between working with developmentally-disabled adults and negotiating labor contracts, Stephen writes, reads and performs poetry. He is the Poet-in-Residence on a PBS series focusing on adult literacy, premiering this fall. Raised in Englewood, NJ, he now lives in Brooklyn with his roommate, two spiders and a stray mouse.

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Kayo is a graduate of Medgar Evers College, and is presently working for the YMCA in the Virtual Y Literacy Program. A Brooklyn born native, Kayo has been writing since he’s 13 years old. He intends to pursue another degree in Journalism. Photo: TS Good

See Grand Slam Champions/1998 for updated

guy lecharles gonzalez

Bronx-native, of Puerto Rican, African-American and Scottish descent, Guy is many things to many people. Tonight, he is a poet, seeking closed minds to pry open and plant seeds of revolution. He is madly in love with his fiancée, Salomé, and dedicates tonight to both her and his grandfather, the late Isaac LeCharles Harper.

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andre salaam

Andre is a poet and guitarist living in Brooklyn. Hidden between the lines of his poetry resides his autobiography. He hopes to one day play a note like Jimi Hendrix and create a composition like Duke Ellington. In short...become an artist.

Photo: TS Good

faraji salim

A 23-year old NJ-native, Faraji is a product of the oldest performing arts high school in the nation, the Newark School of the Performing and Visual Arts. A member of the Talented Ten, an artistic society of NSPVA alumnus that includes Savion Glover, Tisha Campbell and Sarah Vup the pen via the poetic words and wisdom of Amiri Baraka, among others. A son of Howard University, he follows in the literary foot-markings of... more››