Poet Jen Harris is a professional public speaker, spoken word poet, activist, published author, founder and former host of Kansas City Poetry Slam. She is a TEDx fellow, a Button Poetry & Write About Now Poetry feature. Her work is poetic memoir, a confessional assortment of personal and adopted stories of life on and off the grid; substance use, abuse survival, coming out stories, the New Age shift in mindfulness, the cross-country migration of artists in search of paying work both plentiful and fulfilling, the demise of the corporate culture, the defiance of media-induced prepackaged lives and conversely, and the beauty created when people unite on a common front for a common purpose.

Harris graduated Cum Laude from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts, emphases in Communication Studies, English Language and Literature. She is the recipient of:

  • 2018 Gift of Faith Award, The Drugstore KC

  • 2017: Winner: The Pitch Magazine's Top Poet in Kansas City

  • 2017 Spoken Word Host of the Year Nomination by the National Spoken Word Awards

  • 2016 - 2014 The Pitch Magazine's Top 3 Poets in Kansas City award

  • 2015 UMKC Jim Wanser Pride Award for outstanding LGBT community activism in Kansas City.

  • TEDx fellow, University of Kansas "Spoken Word Poetry Saved My Life," Spoken Word Poetry as a form of mental health advocacy

  • 2009 ACP Kansas Journalist of the Year.

  • Her first book of poetry, Slammed, released via Spartan Press Feb. 27, 2016 to a sold out audience.

Jen is currently finalizing multiple manuscripts:

  • Lust & Disdain

  • Collective, Our Stories of Cancer

  • Speak Easy, The Speakeasy Collection

    (previously titled Unconfirmed Certainties)

  • A re-release of her first book, Slammed

  • & multiple collaborations with visual and poetry artists far and wide

Residencies include:

She recorded her first spoken word album, Flaunting Her Mediocrity, at Element Recording Studios. The album released to the public in August 2016 coinciding with her September, Flaunting Her Mediocrity, both of which were funded in July 2016 in a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. Thanks to the support of poetry enthusiasts nationwide, Jen received more than $7,000 to launch her latest endeavors. 

She has opened for internationally-acclaimed spoken word poet Andrea Gibson at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and produced shows for contemporary, published poets including Clementine Von Radics, Pages Matam, and Alexander Dang, as the Slammaster of Kansas City's first PSi certified poetry slam, PoUnd SLAM (later rebranded to Kansas City Poetry Slam) in addition to performing across the country at music festivals, private shows, on college campuses, LGBTQIA community centers, women's rights empowerment groups, protests and rallies, poetry readings, living rooms, parking lots, city sidewalks and anywhere else her voice can make a positive impact.  

Harris’s poetry was a whirlwind of passion, focusing primarily on love, loss and the ongoing struggles of being a woman in a male-dominated world. One of her poems was about her complex PTSD, a heart-wrenching analysis of what living with such a diagnosis feels like.

Harris stole the show with her word play and heartfelt inflection. Her prose was both somber and intuitive, immersing the audience in stories about lovers, relationships and self-image.

Comical and painful, endearing and angry, her words captivated the audience from beginning to end, proving once and for all that she truly is one of Kansas City’s best slam poets.
— Amelia Romine

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