Thursday, Jul 24, 2014 01:44 pm est

NYU London student wins U.K. poetry slam

Posted on March 19, 2013 | by Samantha Chong

Tisch junior Amy Leon has only been in London since January but has enjoyed a fast rise to fame in the London spoken word poetry scene. Leon has become the first American to win a local U.K. poetry slam.

Leon’s start in the London poetry scene as an open microphone performer began at an event titled “Forget What You Heard About Spoken Word.” She returned to the same event on March 13 as one of the show’s featured speakers and spoke on a variety of topics.

“I thought she had a commanding presence that captivated the audience with a variety of her poems about a range of issues that people could connect to,” said freshman Emily Miller.

To Leon, London has been more receptive toward newly minted speakers than New York.

“New York just seems so much more competitive,” she said, adding that the people she met during her time in London were the friendliest, nicest and most encouraging people she had ever met.

Spoken word is nothing new for Leon — she performed her first slam poem at 14 and has performed in multiple slams back in New York at places like the Bowery Poetry Club.

Leon has a poetry channel where she uploads videos of her performances at spoken word venues and has challenged herself to write a poem a day.

“I get inspired when walking down the street, freestyling, listening to music … I like going with the flow,” Leon said.

In September, Leon will return to the United Kingdom to compete in the finals of the U.K. Poetry Slam.

Leon remains hopeful about her chances of winning and wants to continue doing what she loves to do.

“High pressure doesn’t bother me,” she said. “I want to tell stories. That’s super important. I want to be a role model. I want to give kids like me a voice.”

Samantha Chong is a foreign correspondent. Email her at 


  • Amy Leon

    You can check out Amy’s poems on her YouTube channel!

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  • Ben Grace

    So proud of Amy. She is a great friend & a vital member of our church & songwriting guild. Her story is second to none & I hope she keeps telling hers & other women’s for years to come. May the world listen to this powerful voice.

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