Photo Credit: William James, Slam Free or Die
Maya Williams (she/hers, they/them, and ey/em) is a religious nonbinary Black multiracial suicide survivor constantly writing poems. Maya is the seventh Poet Laureate of Portland, Maine.
See the contact section on how to invite them to your next event as a workshop facilitator, performance feature, speaker, panelist, and/or honorary consensual virtual or air hugger. Maya's content covers suicide awareness, mental health, the prison industrial complex, faith, entertainment media, grief, and healing.
She graduated with a Bachelors in Social Work and a Bachelors of Art in English in May 2017. She graduated with a community practice-focused Masters in Social Work and Certificate in Applied Arts and Social Justice at the University of New England in May 2018. She will graduate from Randolph College's low residency Masters in Fine Arts for Creative Writing focusing on Poetry in June 2022.
Ey has competed locally and nationally in slam poetry since her freshman year at East Carolina University under the slam team Word of Mouth in Greenville, North Carolina. While with them, ey placed in the top 20 at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) in 2015, and opened for folks such as Indira Allegra, Neil Hilborn, and Angela Davis.
They were a finalist of the Slam Free Or Die Qualifier Slam for their National Poetry Slam (NPS) 2018 team and a runner up of the Slam Free or Die Individual Slam Championship in 2018.
Maya is a finalist for Best of the Net, a finalist for Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance's Chapbook Contest, and has a book forthcoming with Game Over Books May 30th, 2023.
They have featured as a guest artist, panelist, and speaker in spaces such as The Mixed Remixed Festival in Los Angeles, California, The Interfaith Leadership Institute in Chicago, Illinois, Black Table Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota, TEDxYouth at Cape Elizabeth High School, and The Kennedy Center's Arts Across America series.
Maya's sold out theatrical spoken word showcase in 2019, "When Speaking to an Extraterrestrial," was described by PortFringe as "a performance that is at once mature and youthful, brave and frightened, angry and forgiving, wrenching and funny," an "intimate voice to the broader experiences of marginalized people." It is a winner of PortFringe's Patron's Choice Awards.
Photo Credit: Clark Hartman, Slam Free or Die