Performers and Poets

Featured in Day of the Dead Poets Slam 2016

Parvathi Balachandran 

Parvathi Balachandran is a surgeon and scientist by profession, an artist by passion. Born in India, blessed to have been nurtured in its rich culture and traditions. When medical career defines my extrovert persona, the introvert in me finds a lateral form of expression through art. Poetry, photography, music, dance, theatre.  A platform to inspire and to be inspired. To observe and to be observed.


Khalili Gibran 

From Lebanon to Boston, Gibran brought his literary masterpiece of prose poetry, breaking the classical school, marking the renaissance of Arabic literature in Western world. Seeking political asylum in the United States in 1895, he grew up in the rich world of theatre, Opera and art galleries in culturally vibrant Boston. He was a solitary child, relishing nature’s magnificence and symbolizing it through his dramatic drawings, paintings and poetry. Gibran’s works were especially influential in the American popular culture in the 1930s and 1960s. Among his best-known works is THE PROPHET, a book of 26 poetic essays, which has been translated into over 20 languages. He is the third best selling poet of all time, behind Shakespeare and Laozi. He is considered culturally, psychologically and spiritually enlightened, bringing his wisdom to generations through his poetry.

Sherry-Ann Brown

Dr. Sherry-Ann BrownSherry-Ann Brown is a physician and a scientist, who is training as a heart specialist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. She has presented her poetry at various locations around the United States and Jamaica. Several of her medical poems have been published in medical magazines. She has recited her poetry on Mayo Clinic Radio, and she has been featured on the Mayo Clinic News Website. She helps lead medical missions teams throughout the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Sherry-Ann infuses poetry into all areas of learning, study, and practice. She enjoys traveling, music, good food, and great conversations.  



Maya Angelou

was an American poet, singer, actress, writer, director, and producer. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. At age eight, Angelou was sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend. After he was murdered, Angelou became mute for almost five years,believing, as she stated, “I thought, my voice killed him… because I told his name. And then I thought I would never speak again, because my voice would kill anyone …” During this period of silence, Angelou developed her extraordinary ability to observe and influence the world around her. Dr. Maya Angelou died on the morning of May 28, 2014.

Erin Drummond

Erin Drummond(1983-) was born in a wild rainstorm in Minneapolis, and hopes to live longer than her chosen poet, who died at 35.  She is deeply inspired by Enheduanna’s exalted power as a spiritual female leader, and hopes molecular bits of those ancient hands found their way into her modern lungs, which breathe fire for the divine feminine in today’s bleeding world.

Erin is an interdisciplinary artist and professor of dance.  Her choreography will be presented at the Walker Art Center next month: 



was High Priestess of the moon god Nanna in the Sumerian city-state of Ur.  She was daughter of

Sargon, whose empire stretched from the Mediterranean to the Tigris River.  She assumed spiritual authority over all the major Sumerian cities and wrote poetic hymns to its temples and deities.  She sought truths beyond human perception and altered familiar Sumerian motifs with her own poetic sensibility.  She was literate in both her native Akkadian and in Sumerian and is the earliest author known by name.  She wrote in cuneiform and her work was discovered on broken clay tablets in modern-day Iraq.

Jennifer Jesseph

Jennifer JessephJennifer Jesseph is a poet, author, and fiber artist.  She lives in rural Pine Island with her husband. She is a brain injury survivor and author of, “Make Art From Your Scattered, Splattered Brain: My Journey Through Post Concussion Syndrome.”



Anne Sexton 

was an American poet known as a confessional poet.  She wrote about very personal subject matter that was considered taboo such as suicide, mental illness, sex, menstruation, adultery, masturbation, and more.  She won a Pulitzer prize for her poetry in 1967 for her collection titled “Live or Die.” Her friend and contemporary Maxine Kumin described Sexton as a “gifted, ghosted woman.” We are still reaping the benefit of Anne Sexton’s ground breaking, taboo breaking poetry today.

Dominique Jones

Dominique is a multi-versed artist from Rochester who traverses through different aspects of creativity within poetry, dance, theatre, and music composition. He works as Youth Development Professional at the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester. Through what he learns in his life experiences, he wishes to better himself and bring more creative perspective into the world.


Ogden Nash

was an American poet well known for his light verse. At the time of his death in 1971, The New York Times said his “droll verse with its unconventional rhymes made him the country’s best-known producer of humorous poetry”.

Mollie Lacy

Mollie LacyMollie Lacy is a poet and more importantly a friend of the Rochester Art Ensemble. Mollie is honored to be included in this year’s Day of the Dead Poets Slam portraying Sylvia Plath, a longtime influence and inspiration. Originally from Rochester and now living in the Twin Cities, you can find Mollie hard at work as a Development Associate at Pangea World Theater in Minneapolis, or possibly slamming (definitely working the merch table) at Button Poetry Live in St. Paul. You can also check out to see some of their original work.


Sylvia Plath

Sylvia Plath is an instrumental figure for advancing confessional poetry. Born in 1932 to an Austrian American mother and very austere German father, Plath was a writer her whole life, publishing her first poem at 8 years old. She released the classic, semi-autobiographical novel The Bell Jar at age 31 in 1963. Her lifelong struggle with depression ended in her suicide shortly after the book’s publication. Her legacy of brilliant, fierce, dark, playful writing lives on.

Darin Podulke-Smith 

Darin Podulke-Smith builds stained glass windows for Rochester Stained Glass, teaches yoga and plays the banjo.


Ezra Pound 

was an expatriate American poet and critic, and a major figure in the modernist movement. Working in London in the early 20th century as editor of several American literary magazines, Pound helped shape the work of  T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Robert Frost and Ernest Hemingway. Angered by the carnage of World War I, he blamed the war on banking and capitalism. He moved to Italy in 1924, and embraced fascism. During World War II, he made hundreds of radio broadcasts criticizing the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Jews for which he was arrested on charges of treason. Deemed unfit to stand trial, he was incarcerated in St. Elizabeths psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C., for over 12 years.
While in custody in Italy, Pound had begun work on The Cantos, published as The Pisan Cantos (1948), for which he was awarded the Bollingen Prize in 1949 by the Library of Congress, triggering enormous controversy. Largely due to a campaign by his fellow writers, he was released from St. Elizabeth’s in 1958 and returned to live in Italy until his death.

Alba Villaldama

My name is Alba Villaldama Lopez,As a young girl I’ve always been interested in Art.first joining a church choir, then starting to write poetry as a way to cope with my Feelings that sometimes were intense and other times dark.I’m currently taking a break from college to decide what Career appeals to me the most and I’m debating between being A paramedic or an attorney.Being a poet is not something that a lot of people cultivate, mainly because of the stigma that comes from being too sensitive at times. I chose to become a Poet in spite of it. I could not let anybody silence my Voice


Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz   

Juana Inés de Asbaje de San Miguel de Nepantla, actual México, 1651 – Ciudad de México, id., 1695) la mayor figura de las letras hispanoamericanas del siglo XVII. A influencia del barroco español, visible en su producción lírica y dramática, no llegó a oscurecer la profunda originalidad de su obra. Su espíritu inquieto y su afán de saber la llevaron a enfrentarse con los convencionalismos de su tiempo, que no veía con buenos ojos que una mujer manifestara curiosidad intelectual e independencia de pensamiento. aprendió a leer y escribir a los tres años, y a los ocho escribió su primera loa.


Back to Day of the Dead Poets Slam 2016

Back to Homepage