Bocas Lit Fest

Derron Sandy is 2021 Grand Slam Champion!

Veteran spoken word performer, and five-time finalist in the First Citizens National Poetry Slam, Derron Sandy, has copped his first Grand Slam win, taking home the grand prize of $50,000!

Dethroning the two-time defending champion, Alexandra Stewart, Derron’s ode to food vendors entitled “The Underground Warlords” was judged the winning performance by this year’s judges — Dennise Demming, Marge Blackman, Kwame Weekes, Paul Keens-Douglas, and Whitney Husbands.

Alexandra came in 2nd place and has won $20,000, and in third place, poet Michael Logie has earned the $10,000 cash prize. 

Congrats to the top 3 winners of the 2021 Slam, and to all the finalists for a spectacular final!

The Grand Slam poets all delivered sizzling performances, providing commentary on pertinent social justice issues and topics near and dear to their hearts. The finals aired on TTT on Sunday October 17 – relive the magic of the performances below!


In 2013, First Citizens, the Bocas Lit Fest and the 2 Cents Movement came together to create a unique closing event for the NGC Bocas Lit Fest, then in its third year. The Verses Bocas Poetry Slam, as it was called, was a free poetry show drawing an audience that exceeded the capacity of our Festival home in The Old Fire Station. The following year we moved to a bigger venue, but the scene at the Central Bank Auditorium was the same; spoken word poetry was on dazzling display to an overflowing audience eager for more. 2015 brought significant upgrades, in both form and substance. The Slam was held at the Globe cinema, with 1200 seating capacity, and would become the First Citizens National Poetry Slam of Trinidad and Tobago and it’s been on the rise ever since!

In eight years, the National Poetry Slam has established itself as the largest stage for spoken word in the Caribbean, with a TT$50,000 first place prize, one of the highest value awards for Spoken Word artists in the world.

In 2020, the FCNPS was a televised event with live judging broadcast and streamed to the public for free. In 2021 the competition will take place in the same way. Auditions were held in July via Zoom, where twenty poets were chosen for the semi-final rounds airing in August 2021.

Over 9 years, the First Citizens National Poetry Slam has seen:

  • 934 poets auditioned (2013-2020)
  • 278 semi-finalists (2013-2020)
  • 89 finalists (2013-2020)
  • 27 winners (1st – 3rd places)
  • TT$400,000 distributed in prize money
  • 51 Slam events to date

2021 Semi-finals Part 1

2021 Semi-final Part 2

2019 Grand Slam: Top Performances

2018 Grand Slam: Top Performances

Behind the Poem

A lot of work goes into the making of that triumphant moment on stage in the Grand Slam. “Behind the Poem” is a video series where finalists in the 2019 First Citizens National Poetry Slam explain their final poem. Each poet gives us a glimpse into the themes and ideas that motivated their final piece in the competition and tells us what problems they may have faced during the writing process

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