Spoken Word

Spoken Word

The 26th annual PAFF Spoken Word Fest is proud to feature Get Lit – Words Ignite, LA’s leading literary & performing arts organization. Get Lit increases literacy, empowers youth, and inspires communities by fusing classic iconic poetry with young storytellers’ original spoken word response pieces. Their youth ambassadors, the Get Lit Players, have traveled to the Kennedy Center, the White House, and beyond. Young poets from Get Lit will perform alongside celebrated poets from Leimert Park’s arts community, and poets sourced from an open audition for your viewing pleasure! Your host, who also serves at Get Lit’s manager of arts education is actor & poet Paul Mabon.

Paul Mabon – Host (HBO Def Poetry, Verses and Flow, Get Lit, TV & Film)

Comedic, dramatic and interactive, Paul Mabon is a theatrically influenced poet who has performed his poetry on NBC’s It’s Showtime at the Apollo, HBO’s Def Poetry, and twice on TV-One’s Verses and Flow. Currently, Paul serves as Manager of Arts Education for Get Lit. An accomplished actor, Paul’s work can be seen in the movie DOWNSIZING opposite Matt Damon, national commercials and as the recurring character ‘Officer Lou’ on the Golden Globe winning FOX television show Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Paul is most proud of earning a lifetime membership to the prestigious Los Angeles based Actors Studio.


V. Kali – Featured Poet (The World Stage)

V. Kali is a vegan chef, writer/ coordinator of The World Stage Anansi Writers Workshop in Leimert Park, where she’s been a member since 1992. Her poetry is found in more than 20 anthologies, and her solo volume, HYMN [World Stage Press, 2016]. V. Kali has performed at the Getty Museum, Grand Performances, lectures at high schools, universities, and produced a tribute to poet Wanda Coleman [2014], and a women’s ensemble, Notes from the OVARY OFFICE in 2017.


Hiram Sims – Featured Poet (USC, Community Literature Initiative)

Born and raised in various parts of Los Angeles, Hiram Sims is a poet, essayist and adjunct English Professor teaching at Cal State University Los Angeles, Long Beach City College, and Compton college. He first discovered poetry at the age of five when he plagiarized a decorative poem on his mother’s bathroom wall. He later went on to the University of Southern California to receive a B.A. in English: Creative Writing and a Masters of Professional Writing in Poetry. In addition to teaching essay writing, creative writing, and literature, he is the founder of the Urban Poets Society. He has published three collections of poetry, including Poems of a Young, Troubled Mind, Write or Die, and PHOTOETRY: Poetry and Photography from South Central. For more on Hiram, visit hiramsims.com


Khamal Iwuanyanwu – Featured Poet (Get Lit Player)

Khamal is a hip-hop artist and attends Pierce College. He was the highest scoring poet of Get Lit’s 2015 Classic Slam for his poem “Sepia” a response to Sekou Sundiata’s “Blink Your Eyes” He hosts an annual school fundraiser at Cleveland called “COREchella,” and he also serves as editor for the youth literary magazine Calliope. In 2015, Khamal performed his original poetry at the National Book Festival’s poetry slam at the Library of Congress!


Vanessa Tahay – Featured Poet (Get Lit Player)

Vanessa Tahay graduate of Cleveland High and a spoken word poet that has performed for NPR, Huffington Post, the Atlantic, GOOD, the California Endowment, & more. Featured on the front page of the Los Angeles Times, she is a proud Latina and honored to speak up through her own stories for her gente. Vanessa was also on the winning team at the 2017 Get Lit Classic Slam!


Amaya Blankenship – Featured Poet (Get Lit Player)

Amaya Blankenship is currently a senior at Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies. She was the vice president of the Get Lit club for two years and is now the president. She was the highest scoring poet in the 2017 Get Lit Classic Slam and she has been featured in three Get Lit Now episodes. Additionally, she has been featured on KCET’s Literary Riot series with her LACES classmates, and she recently had a reading at Skylight Books in Los Feliz with Julie-Lythcott Haims (Real American).


Dana Becarely – DJ (Get Lit)

Dana Becarely is a full scholarship recipient student at USC with plans to graduate and attend medical school. She is an avid music producer and has always been lover of poetry.
Dana has been part of Get Lit for four years now and credits them for helping discover herself and who she is today. Her goal is to become a medical surgeon and successful in the music industry.