Asia Rainey
WordPlay Program Director
MIssissippi Arts Commission – 2017 Literary Arts Fellow, Artist Roster

WordPlay Connects, Supports, and Amplifies Community Voices Through the Power of Words


In 2007, WordPlay was founded in New Orleans, LA as a sister program to WordPlay Baton Rouge. Its mission has been to support the creative writing community through advocacy, education and as an organizing entity. Since its inception, WordPlay adopted a basic curriculum from WordPlay Baton Rouge, expanding the curriculum from spoken word education for high school students to a broader curricula set for all ages with a wider focus in creative writing. WordPlay has taught in-school residencies from Kindergarten to university level, facilitated workshops in community spaces, conducted summer programming through city agencies, and produced regional festivals for spoken word poetry.

WordPlay Tupelo

In alignment with the Link Centre’s mission to serve as a connector between the arts and community, WordPlay offers literary arts education and advocacy to the Tupelo community. Programming includes: WordPlay workshops for adults and youth, open mics for adults and youth, literary arts festival production (Ink Festival), and a future plan to facilitate an unprecedented national spoken word archival project.


Across the country, spoken word communities become the center of a larger arts network, attracting collaborations and a hub for visual artists, vocalists, musicians, actors, writers of all genres, craft artisans and more. Spoken word events are generally the most diverse gathering of community members, serving as an amplifier for community messaging and positive dialogue. When nurtured, this network connects with cultural economy to encourage robust arts collectives in cities, as it creates a stronger network base to promote events and inspires artists to initiate activities and projects on a grassroots level. Spoken word as an art form has a tangible impact on communities through its ability to support academics, personal empowerment, social dialogue and artistic growth.

Our primary tool is spoken word poetry, used as a platform for creative writing/performance, arts integration, personal empowerment and community messaging. Since 2007, WordPlay has worked with artists in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and around the country to create curricula for spoken word poetry workshops and professional development seminars. We have produced annual festivals in support of the spoken word community. WordPlay organically continues to expand its educational and artistic reach into other forms of creative writing: from theatre to songwriting, storytelling to hip hop.

WordPlay offers classes and residencies for all ages on site at your school/organization/conference, as well as sessions in the WordPlay Studio at Link Centre by request. The program descriptions below catalog basic WordPlay workshops; each can be tailored to your needs, goals and demographic. Each workshop and/or series can also be offered as a professional development tool for educators. If you have a specific theme or program goal, please ask us about how our workshops can be incorporated into your work.

We also host writing workshops for adults. Ask us about how to schedule workshops for your group at the Link Centre or at your location!

Single Workshops

Intro to Spoken Word Poetry – Teaches the fundamentals and history of spoken word, including an in-class performance as an example of the art form.

Slam Poetry 101 – Explains the history and various configurations of slam poetry events, including the rules and tips for performance preparation.

Slam Master Class – Prepares individuals and organization in staging a poetry slam competition. This workshop can also be tailored for those who wish to start a slam team.

From the Page to the Stage: Tranforming Written Ideas to Performance Poetry – Learn how to build personal performance style, how to “overcome stagefright,” how to connect to audiences through spoken word and more!

Spoken Word: A Tool for Personal Empowerment – Teaches how to use spoken word for self-expression, personal growth, self-esteem, and journaling.

Workshop Series

Spoken Word Fundamentals – Performance

Spoken Word Poetry – Youth Development and Leadership

Spoken Word Poetry: Multi-disciplinary  Works – Incorporating Storytelling, Music, Movement & Theatre

Check the Calendar for Events.