Books for changing the world

Black LatiNext: A BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4 Book Release

The Root Slam presents an all Black Latinx book release celebrating The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNext. Featuring performances by Elizabeth Acevedo, Nicole Sealey, John Murillo, Julian Randall, and Jennifer Falú and co-hosted by Gabriel Cortez and Tianna Bratcher.

ELIZABETH ACEVEDO is a New York Times bestselling author of The Poet X, With the Fire on High, and Clap When You Land. Her critically-acclaimed debut novel, The Poet X, won the 2018 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. She is also the recipient of the Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Fiction, the CILIP Carnegie Medal, and the Boston Globe-Hornbook Award. Additionally, she was honored with the 2019 Pure Belpré Author Award for celebrating, affirming, and portraying Latinx culture and experience. Her books include, Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (YesYes 2016), The Poet X (HarperCollins, 2018), & With The Fire On High (HarperCollins, 2019). She holds a BA in Performing Arts from The George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. Acevedo has been a fellow of Cave Canem, Cantomundo, and a participant in the Callaloo Writer's Workshops. She is a National Poetry Slam Champion, and resides in Washington, DC with her love.

NICOLE SEALEY: Born in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. and raised in Apopka, Florida, Nicole Sealey is the author of Ordinary Beast, finalist for the PEN Open Book and Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards, and The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named, winner of the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize. Her other honors include a Rome Prize for Literature, a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University, the Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from The American Poetry Review, the Poetry International Prize and a Daniel Varoujan Award, grants from the Elizabeth George and Jerome Foundations, as well as fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, CantoMundo, Cave Canem, MacDowell Colony and the Poetry Project. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times and elsewhere. Nicole holds an MLA in Africana studies from the University of South Florida and an MFA in creative writing from New York University. Formerly the Executive Director at Cave Canem Foundation, she is concurrently a Visiting Poet at City College of New York and Syracuse University.

JOHN MURILLO is the author of the poetry collections, Up Jump the Boogie (Cypher 2010, Four Way Books 2020), finalist for both the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Pen Open Book Award, and Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry (Four Way 2020). His honors include two Larry Neal Writers Awards, a pair of Pushcart Prizes, the J Howard and Barbara MJ Wood Prize from the Poetry Foundation, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Cave Canem Foundation, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. Recent poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in such publications as American Poetry Review, Poetry, and Best American Poetry 2017, 2019, and 2020. He is an assistant professor of English and director of the creative writing program at Wesleyan University and also teaches in the low residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada University. He lives in Brooklyn.

JULIAN RANDALL is a Living Queer Black poet from Chicago. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, CantoMundo, Callaloo, BOAAT and the Watering Hole. Julian is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize. He is the winner of the 2019 Betty Berzon Emerging Writer Award from the Publishing Triangle. His poetry has been published in New York Times Magazine, Ploughshares, and POETRY and anthologized in The Breakbeat Poets Vol.4, Nepantla and Furious Flower. He has essays in Vibe, Black Nerd Problems and other venues. He holds an MFA in Poetry from Ole Miss. His first book of poetry, Refuse (Pitt, Fall 2018), is the winner of the 2017 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and a finalist for the 2019 NAACP Image Award in Poetry. He talks a lot about poems and other things on Twitter at @JulianThePoet.

JENNIFER FALU's passion for creative expression through poetry is the foundation of her professional and personal life. At age fourteen she wrote her first poem and began reciting her poetry at sixteen. She is a celebrated performance artist throughout NYC and across the country. As a member of the 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2014 Nuyorican Poets Café Slam Teams, she became the top female poet of the year in 2006, and ranked 3rd in both 2009 and 2012 and was 1/4 of the Tri-State area's first All-Female Poetry Slam Team. As a performer, Falú has shared the stage with Jennifer Holliday and Patti LaBelle. She made her film debut in the movie, “Mania Days” alongside Katie Holmes, as well as the Rza directed "Love, Beats, Rhymes”, alongside Jill Scott and Common, where she is credited as a writer. She is also featured in an Emmy Award winning documentary following the 2016 Brooklyn Slam Team, in which they compete against 90 other teams, ultimately ranking 5th in the Nation. In addition to being a dynamic and visceral poet, Falú is well known for her teaching, coaching and workshop leadership ability, working with Young Writer’s Academy, Boston Breadloaf, Sports & Arts In Schools Foundation and Achievement First-East New York, just to name a few. A recent graduate of Pratt's MFA Writing and Activism program, she is currently a Leadership Coordinator for a middle school and a Case Manager in the Social Services field dealing directly with homeless families. Falú has been featured on panels to discuss topics like 'Being A Womanist' and 'Identifying as AfroLatina'. A Cave Canem Fellow, as of 2016, she is using her writing as activism work for Black Poets Speak Out and Black Lives Matter. Her creative expression is further established in the four books authored by Falú entitled, “Ten Things I Want To Say to A Black Man,” “The Wet on My Tongue,” “When Ears Collide with Souls” and “& This We Know.” She is published in several anthologies, including ‘”30/30” and “His Rib “and received a full spread in Urban Ink Magazine. She was also contracted by the Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation to write their current poetry curriculum and helped implement a “Redefining Manhood” curriculum for young, Black men in high school. Falú’s other passion projects include 'Niggas Die Everyday', an art gallery she co-built and exhibit she co-curated that reconciles the legacy of racial injustice in the United States with the angst and aggression of the hip-hop generation. Sermon editorial consultant for some of today’s most promising preachers and rocking stages and colleges with her poetry collectives. Jennifer Falú is the proud mother of two children, a loyal Brooklynite and believes in fashion. Seriously! Connect with Jennifer Falú on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or via email at [email protected]

TIANNA BRATCHER is a Queer, Black, woman, sister, and auntie originally from Anchorage, Alaska now residing in Oakland, California. The 2016 winner of Best Love poem at Collegiate Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI), placed 5th at the National Poetry Slam 2017 & and placed 7th in the world at the Women Of The World Poetry Slam (WOWPS) 2020. She has been published in The Shade Journal, is a 2018-2019 fellow at The Watering Hole, and a 2017 Queer Emerging Artist Resident at Destiny ARTS. Her work centers reclamation of the body, Black girl/womanhood, healing through generational trauma and shaking ass. Tianna is a twerk influencer, Steven Universe lover and spends much of her free time admiring trees.

GABRIEL CORTEZ is a Black biracial poet, educator, and organizer of Panamanian descent. His work has appeared in The New York Times, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, The Rumpus, and The Breakbeat Poets Anthology Volume 4. He is a VONA fellow, #BARS workshop alum, NALAC grant recipient, and winner of the Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize. Gabriel is a member of the artist collective, Ghostlines, and co-founder of The Root Slam, an award-winning poetry venue dedicated to inclusivity, justice, and artistic growth, as well as Write Home, a project working to challenge public perceptions of houselessness and shift critical resources to houseless Bay Area youth through spoken word poetry. Gabriel currently works as Acting Program Director at Youth Speaks, one of the world’s leading presenters of spoken word performance, education, and youth development programs. For more on Gabriel, visit


The mission of The Root Slam is to create an inclusive, socially just space to promote the artistic growth of the Bay Area poetry community. We are guided by values centering the voices of Black, indigenous, and people of color artists; queer, trans, gender non-conforming, and women poets; working class/low-income, disabled, im/migrant and undocumented folks.

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