Walter 'Wally B.' Jennings (Founder/Executive Director) is a poet-turned-performer who just happens to have been blessed with the gift of public speaking. Wally B. is the Founder and Executive Director of the Heard Em Say Youth Arts Collective-the organization behind the H.E.S. Slam Team project. Heard Em Say, founded in May 2007 was established to provide our community
Liz Prisley (Program Director) is a teacher and spoken word poet, a dynamic performer and progressive-minded writer who uses poetry to promote literacy and self-expression. Over the past six years Liz has taught writing as a Fulbright Scholar in Germany, as well as at Virginia Tech, the University of Tampa, and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. She earned her Masters in English from Virginia Tech and her Bachelors in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida.
Dennis Amadeus (Community Relations Director) is a German-born, New York-raised poet now representing the Tampa Bay Area. While he is an avid poet and community, youth, and cultural activist to this day, it has not always been that way. In his younger years, mostly due to the various traumas of his life, Dennis fell victim to a negative mindset that amounted to numerous run-ins with the law. The ramifications from these legal incidents have now created barriers in his life today that prevent him from using his talents and experience to help effect change in the lives of youth who come from similar circumstances and backgrounds. Walter Wally B Jennings and Heard Em Say Teen Poetry has afforded him this opportunity.
Angela Lawrence (Communications Director) has been a poet and spoken word artist for over 5 years. During that time, she has been nominated for 2015 Tampa Bay Gospel Best Spoken Word Artist, 2015 & 2016 Creative Loafing-Best Local Spoken Word Artist and competed at the Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam. She is the Founder of the Young Warriors Poetry writing group teaching youth creative writing skills and the power of discovering their voices. Angela has been involved with the Heard Em Say Youth Arts Collective since 2013, entering the program to learn more about the aspects of youth slam poetry, assist with performance and create writing prompts to promote personal and professional skills in youth development.
ZenChristian Mott (Slam Co-Coach/Program Assistant) is a poet, teaching artist, and slam coach born in Atlanta, GA but based out of Tampa, FL who uses poetry as a means of release and self-exploration. In 2017 she graduated from the University of South Florida with a BA in Psychology and Creative Writing. ZenChristian was the president of The Poets at USF, one of the only open mics on campus and one of many in the Tampa Bay poetry community and was a member of the 2017-2018 WeSpoke National Poetry Slam Team. In 2017, WeSpoke ranked 12th in the region and 13th in the nation. During undergrad, her poems “Smothering Butterflies” and “When Brown Girls Get Lost in Never-Land” were chosen for publication in the USF Thread Literary Journal. In 2018, IO Literary Journal published her poem “We Share the Same Skin” in their online journal and will publish “God’s Waiting Room” in their first print volume in November 2018. ZenChristian spends most of her time now creating new work and developing her first chapbook, The Burned House Resurrects, which she plans to release Spring 2019.
Curtis Davis (Slam Co-Coach/Program Assistant) is a Tampa native and alumni of our program. He started his journey as a Spoken Word artist in his freshman year of high school and began attending Heard ‘Em Say in his junior year, becoming one of two youth poets to be sent to Los Angeles, California to compete at Brave New Voices on a joint team (Team Rock-It) between Tampa and Orlando for the first time in 2010. Since ‘graduating’ from HES, Curtis has become a staple to the Tampa Bay Poetry Community by facilitating local open mics and events of his own, as well as continuing to represent our city at regional and national Poetry Slam competitions all over the United States. He now looks to give back to his community and the organization that raised him by helping cultivate the bright new talented youth of Tampa Bay and the surrounding areas!