Lyrical Sanctuary


Lyrical Sanctuary is UWM’s monthly open mic night, featuring standout spoken word artists, music, art, and YOU! Now in its seventeenth season, Lyrical Sanctuary has brought students and community members together to share their passion for poetry, music, art, and creative self-expression. Prior to each performance, the featured artist leads a creative writing workshop open to anyone willing to put their pen to the page.

Lyrical Sanctuary: Be inspired. Speak your mind. Leave an impression.

Various Wednesdays | Workshop, Open Mic & Performance
7-7:45pm | Writing Workshop | Inclusive Excellence Center (Union 119)
8-10pm | Open Mic & Performance | UWM Union Fireside Lounge
Free and open to the public.


Lyrical Sanctuary Features for Fall 2019


Destinny “Deolinda Abstrac” Fletcher
Milwaukee, WI | Wed., September 11

About the feature:

Who is she? Known as “Deolinda Abstrac”: Destinny is a woman with the power to create peace within her community and culture through the phenomenon in her voice. With Milwaukee as her hometown, art becomes her sound and her greatest enigma. Working with the youth, Destinny experiences cultural differences, graphic stories, and revealing deliverance that she relates to heavily while writing stories inspired by her work and her life. 

Her Work:

  • High School Slam League Coach for Still Waters Collective and Mentor from 2012 to 2016. 
  • Self-published her recent poetry collection, “Black Girl Be Storm” in May of 2016 and is releasing a new collection on October 2019. 
  • Actress in Yetta Young’s “Butterfly Confessions” stage play 2015 – 2017 and “UNTAMED” 2016 with “MPower Theater”. 
  • Actress and collaborator in “UW-Milwaukee Women’s Resource Center Presents: The Vagina Monologues” 2016 – 2017.
  • She creates confidence and deliverance as a storytelling coach for Milwaukee’s “ExFabula” and continues to rock stages among many cities she touches. 

From Turner Hall Ballroom to the Mod Club Theatre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, she has been performing her art all over the continent and soon… the world!


Christopher Soto
Brooklyn, NY | Wed., October 9

About the feature:

His work: He is the author of “Sad Girl Poems” and the editor of “Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color”. He frequently writes book reviews for the Lambda Literary Foundation. His poems, reviews, interviews, and articles can be found at The Nation, The Guardian, Los Angeles Review of Books, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Tin House, and more.

Education: He received his MFA in poetry from NYU, where he was a Goldwater Hospital Writing Workshop Fellow.

Cofounded: the Undocupoets Campaign and worked with Amazon Literary Partnerships to establish grants for undocumented writers.

Recognitions: he was awarded “The Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism” by Split This Rock and he was invited to teach a “Poetry and Protest Movements” course at Columbia University, as part of the June Jordan Teaching Corp. Poets & Writers honored him with the “Barnes & Nobles Writer for Writers Award.”

In the works: He is currently working on a full-length poetry manuscript about police violence and mass incarceration. 

This event is Co-Sponsored by the Campus Activities Board and the LGBT Resource Center


alida cardós whaley
Milwaukee, WI | Wed., November 13

About the feature:

Identifies as: Indigequeer, non-binary relative of Abiayala + turtle island dreamt by abundant ancestors, including those of Maya, German, and Danish heritage. alida is an interdimensional brujx working with their hands, heart, and voice, their inner knowing and their ancestors. They are a parent, cultural community organizer, bearthworker, yerber and creative.

Fromalida was raised on the Northside of Milwaukee aka Minowakiing, traditional homelands of Potawatomi, ho-chunk, and Menominee relatives

 Found Numerous collectives, both local and global, that promote black, brown, and indigenous solidarity, joy, and liberation. 

Their work:alida sings sacred songs, writes poems and crafts herbal medicines for personal, ancestral, diasporic, and community healing.


Lyrical Sanctuary Gives Back
Milwaukee, WI | Wed., December 4

To Whom: UWM’s student food pantry and the Sojourner Family Peace Center. 

You give: Non-perishable food items and personal care and hygiene products. Please check out our Facebook page for the full donation wish list!

You get: To positively impact the lives of others, a night of fellowship and celebration, and an extended open mic!

For more information about all Lyrical Sanctuary events contact:
Nanis Rodriguez
Sociocultural Programming Coordinator
(414) 229-6698

Sponsored by Sociocultural Programming