Board of Directors

SAM COOK, Executive Director

Sam Cook is a National Poetry Slam champion who resides in Minnesota. He is a recipient of the 2012 Verve Grant and the Founder of Button Poetry. Sam works for Macalester College, coaching and coordinating their CUPSI slam program. Additionally, Sam is the Director of the two-time national champion St. Paul Soap Boxing poetry slam and has coached Minnesota college slam teams to numerous final stages and accolades including the “Best Individual Poet” award, five years running. Sam is committed to reaching out to youth in Minnesota and nationwide through poetry, performance and a deep love for tomfoolery.

DYLAN GARITY, Assistant Director

Dylan Garity is a College National Poetry Slam Champion whose work has been featured on Upworthy and The Huffington Post. He is a 2012 graduate with honors from Macalester College. He was a member of the 2010 , 2011 and 2012 Macalester Slam teams, which placed 3rd, 1st and 2nd in the nation, respectively. He was named Best Poet at the 2012 tournament. He was also a member of the 2011 and 2013 Minneapolis national slam teams, which ranked 5th and 9th at the National Poetry Slam. He was a recipient of a 2012 Verve Grant from Intermedia Arts.



Michael Mlekoday is a poet and performer from Minneapolis, MN. Mlekoday’s first book, The Dead Eat Everything (Kent State University Press, 2014), was selected by Dorianne Laux as winner of the 2012 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize. Mlekoday holds degrees from the University of Minnesota, Kansas State University, and Indiana University. Mlekoday has won the National Poetry Slam as both a poet and a coach, has served as Poetry Editor of Indiana Review, and has recent work published in Ploughshares, Ninth Letter, Verse Daily, Iron Horse Literary Review, and other venues.