Cristin's P4 Fundraising Campaign

by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz

Supporting: P4 Peer-To-Peer Fundraising for The Performance Poetry Preservation Project

My Team: P4 Board



I was nineteen years old when I walked into my first poetry slam in 1998. I had moved to New York City two years earlier with the vision of becoming a writer. Having grown up in working class Philly, I didn't know how one became a professional writer, but I figured moving to New York City was a good start. The moment I walked into that slam, I knew I had found what I was looking for. At the poetry slam, I found people of all ages, all races, and all sexual orientations telling their story in their own words in front of an  audience of their community. It was Norman Rockwell's THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH painting for the 21st century. I was hooked.

When I attended my first National Poetry slam that summer, it opened my eyes even more about the power of the Poetry Slam. I witnessed poets from California, Chicago, Arkansas, and Canada share their own unique brand of verse and share their own electrifying stories. One of the most lasting memories was watching the poetry slam team from Detroit -- who were all auto factory workers -- do a group piece (where several poets perform a poem together) where they each imitated the sounds of the machine they worked at their factory. What had been a poem about the drudgery of their work do some because a sort of song -- the rhythm of the machines backing up the urgency of their voices. It was incredible -- to see how poetry can found anywhere. And isn't that a metaphor for the Poetry Slam movement overall?

In the nearly twenty years since the day I walked into my first slam, I have become a organizer, a host, a NPS team member four times, an advocate, a critic and a historian, but in all these years the poetry slam has not lost its power over me. 

The Performance Poetry Preservation Project (P4) aims to hold sacred and preserve the wide spectrum of poets and poetry that have erupted in the poetry slam. The poetry slam provided a space for voices otherwise unrepresented or underrepresented in poetry, and allowed generation of poets to become the chroniclers of their country, their community, their family and their own diverse lives. What a gift to be in a position to helped preserve these stories for future generations to be inspired by and learn from. 

Please join me in supporting P4 by clicking the button below!


Welcome to the P4 Peer to Peer Fundraising Campaign!  This campaign allows our community to run individualized mini-fundraising campaigns, to share with friends and family.  Thanks for checking us out, and joining up!

P4 is a community-supported, grass-roots effort that protects and preserves the recorded history of the poetry slam movement. P4 possesses a living, growing, and carefully curated performance poetry archive, and our ambition is to collect and catalog a broad representation of the slam poetry movement.  We believe in the power of the poetry slam to change lives, and we are dedicated to preserving the great poetry that crosses hundreds of slam stages, all over the world.

Once you have selected a campaign sponsor, just click "Make a Donation" to lend your support.  Or click the "Become a Fundraiser" button to start a campaign of your own!


If you donate $25 or more to any of our campaigns P4 will send you a free spoken word CD, by one of the powerhouse legends of the poetry slam scene.  

For a donation of $25 or more, you may select either a copy of Taylor Mali's 2003 album Conviction, or Buddy Wakefield's 2006 album Run on Anything!  

Taylor's powerful work has been a mainstay of the performance poetry scene since almost the beginning, and his dedication to capturing and preserving the performances of the poets that crossed the stage of the Urbana Slam in New York City is legendary.  Buddy's voice has become a defining inspiration for a new, emerging generation of poets, and he has toured and performed all over the world with shows that draw rock-star like audiences.  Both of these poets are huge supporters of P4, and both have donated copies of their albums as premiums for P4 donors.

As a special incentive, Taylor has been kind enough to autograph all of his CDs!

For a donation of $25 or more, you can have your pick of either album.
For a donation of $50 or more, we'll send you both!

Thank you in advance for your generous contribution!