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Damien McClendon

Damien McClendon

With an abundance of joy, Damien McClendon is joining the Writopia Lab team as an instructor. Damien is a poet who believes poetry can and should not just be read but also heard. Originally from Youngstown, OH, Damien moved to New York City in 2022 and is currently obtaining his MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, where he was awarded the Max Ritvo fellowship. Damien received his BA in Pan-African studies from Kent State University where he founded a poetry writing workshop in collaboration with the Wick Poetry Center, and Co-founded Kent State's first nationally competing poetry slam team. Damien was a finalist in the 2017 Individual World Poetry Slam and was a member of Cleveland's National Poetry Slam team, which ranked in the top 10 at the 2018 National Poetry Slam. In that same year, he was named Poet Laureate of Cleveland Heights (2018 to 2020) and was recipient of the 2018 Cleveland Arts Prize On the Verge fellowship for literature. His performances have been published by Button Poetry and Write About Now and have received over 400,000 views on various social media platforms. As a teaching artist, Damien has worked with universities, public and private schools, and nonprofit organizations and has over five years experience teaching poetry writing and performance as well as creative writing in general to scholars of all ages. Damien is ecstatic about helping the scholars at Writopia Lab find their way as young writers!

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