Lyrical Sanctuary


Lyrical Sanctuary is UWM’s monthly open mic night, featuring standout spoken word artists, live music and art, and YOU! Now in its sixteenth 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.

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 Spring 2018

Ebony Stewart
Milwaukee, Wi | Wed., February 14th

Bobby Drake has spent the past 12 years being a spoken word artist (also referred to as a poet) and music producer based in the city of Milwaukee, WI. He has performed all over the United States for colleges and universities, basement parties, public forums in front of celebrities and in class rooms, teaching the fundamentals of performance. He has become known as engaging to his audiences, vulnerable with his subject matter and honest in his performances.

For more information, check out his website:



Ajanae Dawkins

Detroit, Michigan / New York City, NY | Wed., March 14th

Ajanae Dawkins is a Michigan and New York Native, currently receiving a dual degree in English Creative Writing, and Communication Arts with a certificate in African American Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She is on a full tuition scholarship with the OMAI First Wave, Hip-hop and Urban Arts scholarship for her poetry.

Ajanae has performed and featured at venues across the country including the Nuyorican Poets Cafe. She has opened for the
United Nations Secretary of Sexual Violence in Conflict. She is a two time individual finalist for the Rustbelt regional slam, crowning her as one of the top five poets in the midwest, twice. In
2015, she debuted her one woman show, Atlantic, directed by Tony award winning, Karen Olivo. She is a fellow of The Watering Hole’s writer’s retreat for African American writers. She was also a contributing writer for the Theatre Lila, theatre company.

Recently, She has been published in The Underscore Review, The Blueshift Journal, Word Riot and Winter Tangerine, and Gramma Poetry. She’s been awarded artist of the year by Delta Sigma Theta sorority incorporated. Her work has also been featured on For Harriet, and Button Poetry. She has been featured in Ebony Magazine for the Faces of Frustration: A Year of Racial Protest. She is a poetry editor for, a literary journal focused on Black urban voices.

Ajanae is currently acting as a Teaching Artist in Madison Wisconsin and working on a full length project, in conjunction with finishing her degrees.

Ajanae has spent the past year living in Spain and Morocco, learning Spanish and Arabic, while conducting research on the role of God in feminism, and perfecting the art of being a care-free Black girl. The only thing she believes in more than poems is the transformative power of Christ.

T. Banks
Madison, Wisconsin | Wed., April 11th

T. Banks, 29, from Madison, WI is a community organizer, a mental wellness advocate, poet and playwright. After graduating with a degree in English – Creative Writing from UW-Madison, Banks has successfully used his art through plays and poetry to address Racism, Transphobia, and Abelism. He is most known for his play in 2015, “We The 350” Stories Or Racism Incarceration &Poverty in WI , a critique of Mass Incarceration in Dane County.

T. recently launched his own Black, Queer, and Trans* lead arts company called Loud & Unchained Theater Co. As a Black Trans, Queer person with a disability, T. believes the movement for Black Lives must be intersectional and deeply connected to the struggle to end Patriarchy, specifically as it manifest as violence against Black Trans folks. His work addresses the need for the Black liberation movement to be accessible to those with mental wellness challenges and or physical disabilities as well fight for the ability of these populations to regain their autonomy in a capitalistic society.

For more information, contact:


Michaela Murry
Sociocultural Programming
(414) 229-3894

Sponsored by Sociocultural Programming.