Literary Arts Performances

Let words transform you at two venues of literary programs. At the Big Mouth Stage you’ll find national and local award-winning poets, comics and storytellers.

Bee Yourself: True Stories from the Hive "Whoops!"

Sat, June 25, 9PM, Big Mouth Stage

The Bee in SLC embraces lovingly competitive storytelling. Ten storytellers’ names will be picked from a hat and each will have five minutes to tell a true story on the theme “Whoops!” without using notes. The theme “Whoops!” should elicit memories and stories of happy accidents, surprises and mistakes. Do you have a story to tell? Visit to learn more.

Indie Slam Finals

Sun, June 26, 8PM, Big Mouth Stage

Poetry slams are raucous, uncouth, untidy, irreverent, and downright borderline gospel. The poetry slams at the Utah Arts Festival are known to gather big crowds! Get to the Big Mouth Stage early if you want a seat.

Team Poetry Slam Finals

Sun, June 26, 9–11PM, Big Mouth Stage

Slam teams from around the nation will make their way to the Utah Arts Festival with only one mission: to blow your mind! Come watch 10 teams duke it out for a large cash prize. And like the Indie Slam, the Team Slam usually sees crowds of 350+ with standing room only.

Literary Headliners

Michael Mlekoday

Thu, June 23, 8PM, Big Mouth Stage

A former video game salesperson, presidential campaign organizer, pool hustler and itinerant preacher, Michael is the author of The Dead Eat Everything (Kent State University Press, 2014), selected by Dorianne Laux as the winner of the 2012 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize. In 2009, Mlekoday, as a member of the St. Paul team, won the National Poetry Slam and then returned the following year to coach the team to its second championship.

William James

Fri, June 24, 3:30PM, Big Mouth Stage

William “Uncle Billjim” James is a punk rock poet. He’s an editor at Drunk In A Midnight Choir and a two-time Pushcart nominee whose poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Noble Gas Quarterly, Electric Cereal, Misfit Magazine, and Word Riot among other publications. William’s first full-length collection Rebel Hearts & Restless Ghosts was recently released.

Lauren Elma Frament

Fri, June 24, 4PM, Big Mouth Stage

Lauren Elma Frament is a poet and aspiring mortician from Manchester, NH. Her work appears in Drunk in a Midnight Choir, Borderline, and Nin Journal and is forthcoming in the anthologies We Will Be Shelter (Write Bloody Publishing) and Again I Wait for This to Pull Apart (FreezeRay Press). She likes baking pies, cross stitching, and standing in the front at punk shows.

Jesse Parent

Fri, June 24, 7PM, Big Mouth Stage

Since his poem “To the Boys Who May One Day Date My Daughter” went viral in 2014, Jesse has put SLC on the map for performance poetry. A craftsman, wordsmith, and best of all a true entertainer, Jesse consistently has audiences in stitches while bringing them to tears. What’s most admirable and honest is Jesse’s love of performing.

“Good Ghost” Bill Moran

Fri, June 24, 7:30PM, Big Mouth Stage

Bill Moran (Good Ghost Bill) was a proud member of the 2011–2013 Austin Poetry Slam national teams, as well as the 2012 and 2013 Austin Poetry Slam Champion and 2013 Southern Fried Haiku Champion. He has co-directed the Texas Grand Slam two years running, taught national and international workshops, and conducted long-term poetry programs at a local juvenile justice center.

Julian Moon

Sat, June 25, 4PM, Big Mouth Stage

A wildly-talented lyricist, singer-songwriter Julian Moon hailed from Salt Lake City before her acoustic pop writing abilities gained the attention of Warner Bros. Records. In March 2015, she released her debut album Good Girl, which was met with rave reviews.

Matt Hart

Sat, June 25, 6:30PM, Big Mouth Stage

Matt is the author of Radiant Action and five other books of poems. A co-founder and the editor-inchief of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety, Matt is also the former frontman of 90s punk band, Squirtgun. Hart ultimately pursued his MFA in creative writing and began teaching in the Academic Studies Department at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.

Dallas Graham

Sun, June 26, 2:30PM, Big Mouth Stage

A true humanitarian, Dallas will be reading works by children (who are ill or who have special needs) who have written stories and poems and other forms of literary arts. Prepare for a tender-hearted reading for anyone from any background and any age.

Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib

Sun, June 26, 4:30PM, Big Mouth Stage

Hanif is a poet, writer, and dessert enthusiast from Columbus, Ohio. He is the editor of Again I Wait For This To Pull Apart (Freezeray Press, 2015), an anthology of poems relating to music. Hanif founded Pen and Palette Poetry, an open mic in Columbus and has conducted workshops and given readings across the country, from coffee shops to colleges. Hanif occasionally dabbles in the art of poetry slam (placing fourth overall at the 2014 Individual World Poetry Slam).

John Louviere

Sun, June 26, 6PM, Big Mouth Stage

John Louviere turned to music and songwriting in his early 20s to help him navigate the emotional turbulence of young adult life. His infectious croon and probing lyricism made his transition into a musical career natural. He has since garnered a loyal following not only throughout Utah but also (and most impressively) throughout the West. His vocals blend an eerie melancholia with an almost country-infused jazz.

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