Asheville Humans and Poetry collective moves poetry slam online during coronavirus crisis


By Caleb Calhoun

Humans and Poetry collective in Asheville and have teamed up for a special online version of the collective’s poetry slam series during the coronavirus crisis. Scroll down to see the top four winners.

Humans and Poetry came together about two years ago and helped reinvigorate the local slam poetry scene (which has a storied history of poetry slamming). While it canceled its poetry slam in March and moved it online, the poets felt it was important to keep the community engagement going. Humans and Poetry group is proud of the community that has formed around the local poetry slams (and it always welcomes new and first-time poets.)

The theme of the online slam was “Community.” Poets did not have to be from Asheville to enter. Submissions were varied and included both first-time and seasoned performers. Only one poem was submitted per entrant, and the first round was judged by Asheville’s favorite bartender and all around freak, Michael Turner. The top four were sent to for final placing.

All the poems submitted were moving. Here are the winners, in reverse order, from fourth place to first. Humans and Poetry hopes they can bring folks some joy, peace and a sense of community in this uncertain time.

Humans and Poetry can be reached via Facebook at

Fourth Place: “Fall in Love With Being Quarantined – For the Community,” by Justin Blackburn

Third Place: “Listen: A Psalm,” by Caleb Calhoun

Second Place: “Send Love and Nudes,” by Aurora Whim

First Place: “A Wake-up Call, A Turning Point: A Poem of Pandemic Perspective,” by Gregory Scott