Instructor Biographies

Slam Poetry Camp

Adam Henze

Adam Henze

Adam Henze has been a poet and organizer in the slam community for more than a decade. His poetry has been featured on PBS’ Mainstreet and NPR’s All Things Considered, but his favorite performance took place in a parking lot. Adam recently became the first competitor to triple final at the Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam, finaling in individual and team finals and the haiku head-to-head championship at the 2015 festival. His first book of verse, Written in the Dish Pit, is available on Chatterhouse Press.

Adam just completed his second year of a PhD residency at Indiana University, and hopes to earn a doctorate in critical literacy in the Department of Education. He has lectured and performed at educational institutions in over 30 different states, Canada, England, and Ireland. Although Adam has had some pretty cool experiences and accolades in his time on Earth, he is most proud of the community that has been built at our Institute of Spoken Word and Poetry Slam. Adam lives in Bloomington, Indiana and is an instructor in the English Department at Indiana.


Giddy is a spoken-word poet, beat boxer and emcee. She is originally from Brooklyn, New York but now resides in Tampa, FL. Giddy is the slam-master of The Misfits Slam Team who tied for second at 2013's Southern Fried Poetry Slam in New Orleans. She is a part-time poet and full-time barber who went on tour with Ben B The Truth on the "It's Your World Tour" which spread across 13 states and 36 cities in July and August of 2012. Giddy is the creator of the "It's Your World" spoken-word CD. She has won slams in Miami, FL. Asheville, NC. and Austin TX and has also worked under Walter "Wally B" Jennings and the Hillsborough County Arts District mentoring youth poets in Tampa, FL. She recently competed in the 2014 Women Of The World Poetry Slam and walked away ranked in the top ten.

Hieu Minh Nguyen

Hieu Minh Nguyen's poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Devil’s Lake, The Journal, Southern Indiana Review, Vinyl, Muzzle, The Paris-American, and Indiana Review. Hieu is a Kundiman fellow, a recipient of the VERVE grant from Intermedia Arts, the Minnesota Emerging Writers’ Grant from The Loft Literary Center, and a recipient of the University of Arizona Poetry Center's Summer Residency. His debut collection of poetry, This Way to the Sugar (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014), was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award, and the Lambda Literary Award. He is currently living in Minneapolis.


Matthew Hernandez

Matthew "Cuban" Hernandez

Matthew "Cuban" Hernandez started slamming on the Brave New Voices circuit at the age of 15 years old, often needing to be escorted by his mother at the adult venues. In the past 7 years Cuban has grown from a poetry wunderkind to a 2-time Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam champion (2006, individual; 2008 team), has been seen on HBO's Brave New Voices, and is the CEO of Shattered Thought Inc, which successfully coached a youth team to Brave New Voices finals in 2009. When he isn't on the road touring, Cuban lives in Jacksonville, FL as a full-time poet, organizer, and youth mentor.


Neil Hilborn

Neil Hilborn

Neil Hilborn is a College National Poetry Slam champion and a 2011 graduate with honors from Macalester College. In 2013, his poem "OCD" went viral, garnering over nine million views, making it the most-viewed slam poem ever. He has performed in 38 states, three countries, and two provinces. Originially from Houston, Texas, he now lives in St Paul, Minnesota.


sierra DeMulder

Sierra DeMulder

Sierra DeMulder is an internationally touring performance poet and educator, a two-time National Poetry Slam champion, and a thrice-published author (most recently, Today Means Amen, Andrews McMeel Publishing). She is one of the founders of Button Poetry, the largest digital distributor of spoken word in the world, and her work has been featured on NPR, Huffington Post, The Advocate, and more. Sierra holds a BA from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Minneapolis with her dog, Fidelis.


Yazmin Monet Watkins

Yazmin Monet Watkins is an internationally touring spoken word poet and actress from Los Angeles and La Jolla, CA. She has performed everywhere from the Bahamas to London to Paris to South Africa to New York to California and several places in between. She has had speaking engagements at over 30 universities around the country including Harvard, Howard, & UC Santa Cruz. She has opened for the likes of Angela Davis, Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez and Les Nubians and is the author of "Love Without Limits: The Bi-Laws of Love." Her poetry explores the intersection of race, gender, sexuality, self-love, identity and empowerment. As an actress, Watkins has been cast in feature films, commercials, sketch/shorts and multiple new media projects with individuals like Russell Simmons and Issa Rae garnering over 500,000 views on YouTube. She is represented by Sheree Guitar Entertainment and Coast To Coast Talent. A beach based SoCal native to the core, Watkins believes in the power of peace, love, laughter, freedom and empowering others through art.