Gowri K. is a Sri Lankan Tamil American poet and lawyer. Her advocacy has addressed animal welfare, the environment, and the rights of prisoners and the criminally accused. She has co-authored two peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and her poetry has been published in Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Bourgeon, and Lantern Review. Gowri was a member of the 2010 DC Southern Fried Slam team and has performed at Lincoln Center Out of Doors, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. She hosts open mics at Busboys and Poets and BloomBars, where she serves as poetry coordinator. Gowri is a co-founder and communications consultant with Making It Slam and a poetry editor with Jaggery: A DesiLit Arts and Literature Journal. She tweets on-the-spot haiku @gowricurry.
Chris August has been writing and performing poetry for nearly as long as he can remember. In the spring of 2002, he attended his first poetry slam at Baltimore’s nationally certified poetry slam venue Slamicide!, and was hooked immediately. Within two months, he was featuring throughout the DC and Baltimore areas, and had become a full time host of the Baltimore reading, a potion he maintained until the reading’s final show in 2009. From 2006 until 2009, Chris also took the administrative lead for the series and its slam team as the official slammaster.
Chris became a member of the DC/Baltimore National Poetry Slam team the following year, representing his scene in Chicago in 2003. He has since represented the DC and Baltimore scenes as a member of seven national teams, including the 2006 DC/Baltimore slam team that competed on finals stage, ranking fourth in the nation.
In 2011, Chris competed in his fifth individual World Poetry Slam (iWPS), a spot he earned as the winner of the hosts city of Cleveland’s Last Chance Slam. In this competition, he was ranked number one, earning the title of Individual World Poetry Slam Champion. He is currently the only poet from his region to hold this particular title. His victory enabled him to travel to Paris France as the American representative at the Coup de Monde world poetry championship, in which he competed alongside 18 other world renowned poets and placed second in the world.
For nearly a decade, Chris has been deeply committed to his work as a special education teacher in Baltimore. For years, he was in charge of multiple self-contained classrooms of students with an array of physical and intellectual disabilities. In January of 2012, he made the difficult decision to leave this calling to pursue poetry full time. A Life Called Special, his most recent book, is a collection of poems based on his experiences in this field.
In the spring of 2012, Chris was invited to join the performance of the nationally known non-profit organization Young Audiences. Through them, he has been able to maintain his love of the classroom as a performer and workshop facilitator in schools throughout Maryland. He is currently planning curriculum that will be used to incorporate performance poetry into lesson plans for students of all ages and abilities.
Spotlight artist: BRIAN FARROW
Brian Farrow is a bassist and poet in the DC metropolitan area who studied at Howard University. Mr. Farrow currently performs with Nila Kay and the Amazing, Sitali, and the Farrow Trio. Mr. Farrow can regularly be seen reciting his work and improvising bass lines at BloomBars' Garden Open Mic and LaTiDo at the Black Fox Lounge.