bluapple Poetry Network - Jason Taylor Foundation



About the network:

Everyone wants to be heard. Everyone wants to feel like their life, their story is important and that someone is listening. Oftentimes, children feel that no one is listening. They are taught to be the listeners and to regurgitate the information presented to them. But today’s youth are filled with concerns, emotions, and thoughtful perspectives.

The Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network gives students across South Florida the opportunity to truly be the center of the educational process and express themselves through the art of spoken word poetry. Students from kindergarten through high school are exposed to the transformative power of poetry through teacher and student-led workshops, virtual poetry readings, regional conferences, and more.

The bluapple curriculum is aligned with all of the latest educational standards, but it is designed to make the focal point of the program true artistic expression. The ability to articulately and creatively express oneself with words is an essential tool for success that is cultivated with the assistance of teachers and teaching artists throughout the Network.

Students have thoughts that breathe, and the Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network gives them platforms to let their words burn.

Teaching Artists: 

The bluapple teaching artists are experienced poets that partner with teachers in the bluapple poetry network to help students develop their skills in writing, story-telling and performing. These artists visit the schools weekly. They also play a large role in facilitating annual events such as the Poetry and Leadership Conference and Louder Than A Bomb Florida.

Working closely with these students, the teaching artists develop relationships with the poets of the bluapple network in order to develop a mentorship. To find out more about teaching artists, or how to become one, contact

Louder Than A Bomb Florida:

Inspired by the Chicago poetry festival created by Kevin Coval and Anna West, Louder Than A Bomb Florida works to build upon the impact of the bluapple network with a thirteen day festival that facilitates poetry slams between schools from Homestead to Port St. Lucie. Dubbed the Super Bowl of poetry, LTABFLA is designed to empower young poets through the art of telling their story. With multiple slams and community events students are able to connect with other poets within and out of the network.

Although individual and team winners are named yearly, participants are always reminded of the legendary LTAB mantra: the point is not the points, the point is the poetry. To learn more about Louder Than A Bomb Florida, click here.

Open Mic Nights:

LTABFLA isn’t the only time students in the bluapple network are able to come together, perform and connect. Bluapple holds two open mic nights a month, known as the VoiceBox and Lyrical Lounge. Held at ArtServe and the City of Sunrise Civic Center, respectively, each of these open mics are free to attend, allowing students to practice their skills and speak their truth. Like LTABFLA and any other bluapple event, VoiceBox and Lyrical Lounge have clean mics, meaning poets must refrain from using profanities or offensive language. To find out more about bluapple open mics, click here.

Writing Development Events:

Throughout the year, bluapple also creates and facilitates workshops and conferences for the poets within the network. Two of the largest of these events include the Poetry and Leadership Conference (PLC) and The Lab. Held during a Saturday every winter, PLC is a comprehensive conference with varying workshops created by professional playwrights, poets and teaching artists to help guide students through their journey as artists, story-tellers and even business people. Topics of workshops range from how to create a brand on social media to performance techniques in poetry. The Lab is a series of workshops held through the summer in collaboration with Nova Southeastern University, that features guest teaching artists on a variety of topics.

To find out about the latest development events and workshops click here.

bluapple Poetry Programs


Journaling For Justice

  #JournalingForJustice was born out of the bluapple Poetry Network wanting to make sure that there is a maintained and concentrated focus on poems that address social justice. Many poems come through the bluapple Poetry Network and they are written by people from varied walks of life. However,


Educator’s Studio Virtual Series

  The bluapple Poetry Network’s Educator’s Studio is a free series of workshops and discussions dedicated to providing teachers of writing and the arts with resources, concepts, and lesson plans that can be utilized in their classrooms, after school clubs, and other projects that in


Louder Than A Bomb Florida

We feel that what young people have to say about the world they inhabit and hope to construct is more useful than any armament, more complex than prison industrial systems, and louder than any bomb.” Kevin Coval, Co-founder of Louder Than A Bomb >> Register Now For Louder Than A Bomb Florida


The Get Up: An Urban Fashion Experience

  Each summer, the Jason Taylor Foundation, through its Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network, celebrates the beginning of the school year with the introduction of its newest and most fashion forward event to date. “The Get Up” An Urban Fashion Experience presented by AVEDA Institute South


Write Track Poetry

A collaboration with the Homestead Miami Speedway and the Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network of the Jason Taylor Foundation, "Write Track Poetry" is a contest challenging participating Miami-Dade County middle school students to write and perform an original poem about their own legacy.


Poetry & Leadership Conference

  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER NOW!   Our annual bluapple Poetry & Leadership Conference is for the passionate wordsmiths, soulful singers, songwriters and storytellers in alliance with professional poets coming right out of South Florida. This year, we will have the privilege to expand vi

bluapple Team



Juanita Castro

  Juanita Castro Teaching Artist bluapple Poetry Network     Juanita Castro is many things – chief among them, a not-yet washed up writer. She is also a proud Colombian, ethnically mixed, an FIU Literature & International Relatio


Sienna Medina

  Sienna “Storm” Medina Teaching Artist bluapple Poetry Network   Storm is a teaching artist in St. Lucie County. She was a student in the network for four years and now she is mentoring and creating clubs in her community so more s