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
2016-2017 writing residency, Charlotte Street Foundation
2018- 2019 writing residency, The Drugstore KC
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.