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A Native Literary & Cultural Ambassador of Memphis, TN

                             Benjamin Theolonius Sanders (IQ)

                                 “Memphis Poet Laureate”


Benjamin Theolonius Sanders a.k.a. IQ is a multi-faceted talent equally gifted with pen and paper as well as any waiting microphone. Ranked in the top 20 during the past decade among slam poets in the Southeast, Sanders, a native Memphian, placed 26th in the Y2K Poetry Slam Nationals as a member of the Memphis Poetry Slam Team in Providence, RI.  Representing Memphis twice as an “indie” or “storm” poet, IQ has never failed to finish in the top 50 at any National Poetry Slam competition. (NPS ’99, ’00 and ’02)  IQ’s skills extended in late 2007 to the other side of the mic while serving on the first film crew to archive every poem in competition for the largest National Poetry Slam ever, NPS 2007 in Austin, TX. From 2007-2008 IQ served as the inaugural Artist-in-Residence for the Return Beat Institute of Theology & Arts at Memphis Theological Institute. He is currently serving the first official Poet Laureate of the Center for Southern Folklore,  and has recently published two more chapbooks through Amber Ring Press.

An 18-year classroom veteran, Benjamin “IQ” Sanders is the founder of H.O.P.E., (The Hands-On Poetry Experience) a free-flowing, case-customized program introducing classrooms of students grades K-12 to the grace and power of wordsmithing.  Sanders academic interests have taken him to Middlebury College, Christian Brothers University, The University of Memphis and The University of Vilnius in Lithuania.  

In addition to his stellar finishes in the Arkansas Grand Slam, The BamaSlam and 5 Southern Fried Poetry Regional Slam Championships, IQ is the only Memphis poet to compete at 3 National Poetry Slams and the individual World Poetry Slam Championships in Vancouver, BC. IQ also was a double-finalist (Memphis and Birmingham) featured on the MY SOUTH SPEAKS campaign for Turner South Television.

The fibers IQ’s of poetic verse weave themselves in to diasporic tapestries of experience poignantly and passionately, nimbly fusing a searching intellect and pure soul. At the start of 2007, IQ, commonly known as The Poet Laureate of Memphis, accepted the position of Artist-in-Residence at Memphis Theological Seminary where he served as faculty for the Return Beat Institute of Theology & Arts through August 2008. (www.memphisseminary.edu)  

The author of five chapbooks, and two full length CDs, IQ released four projects during the remainder of 2008, including the highly anticipated release of Somewhere in Memphis. Chapbooks published during 2008-2009 included a silence be for thought and mud kimono blues. (September 2008) Formerly ranked 62nd in the world in Poetry Slam and co ranked 3rd in the NPS and  iWPS in Head-to-Head Haiku Poetry Slam, IQ was SlamMaster of the Trolleyline Poetry Slam at the Galloway Coffeehouse, located at the corner of Cooper & Walker in Memphis, TN. 
 Currently IQ is in Melbourne, Australia. An Australian National Poetry Slam Victoria State Finalist in 2010, he is Slammaster of the Muddy Rivers Poetry Slam in Brunswick.

For more information about booking Benjamin “IQ” Sanders please contact him via e-mail at poetiq@hotmail.com.

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