Stringing together sentences that make a statement—a statement that moves people to take action—comes effortlessly to Ashlynn Damers. Referred to by some as a poetry genius, Ashlynn is a member of the internationally top-ranked slam poetry team. She’s all about making an impact, particularly when it comes to women’s issues and social equality. Ashlynn’s performances are amazingly poetic, so we suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise that her answers to our burning questions (below) are too. She will again have her way with words on November 16th when she shares the stage at TEDxMileHigh. You’re from Denver, right? Tell us a bit about why you live here. I love living here, it is the best place to live in my opinion. You’ve got the city, with the mountains and a small-town feel because everyone knows someone in Colorado.

How did you initially get involved with slam poetry? This story is actually really funny. My mom brought me to the Mercury Café on Valentine’s Day in 2010. After kicking and screaming, telling her I would much rather be out with my significant other than with my mom on Valentine’s Day, I fell in love with the style and the beauty of the poetry that night. From that day on poetry has been my life. The following month on a youth slam night I went and slammed for my first time ever and qualified for the competition that decides our team for the international competition. Even though I finished dead last in that competition, I’ve never stopped writing and performing.

In your opinion, who’s the best slam poet in the world? There is never a best poet, no matter how many titles you have won. The point is never the points, but the ideology. The best poet is the one who never stops growing, evolving, and pushing themselves to new limits in their writing. Outside of poetry, who influences you? The world influences me. It is constantly changing and there are always new issues that arise. Whenever you let yourself become stagnant, and you stop having things to say about current events and issues, is the day you stop being a poet and become just another uninformed citizen.

You’ve written that you eventually want to be involved in working towards social equality. What does this look like to you? Social equality is something that is attainable, but not everyone can look beyond their own biases to achieve. Equality means that there is no separator, whether it be race, gender, color, sexual orientation or preference. Equality means that we are only one thing… human.

What makes a great performance poet? A great performance poet is one who can connect with every single person in the audience, whether it be with their words, their body language, or their tone. Like I’ve said it’s not about the points, but the ideology. Everyone has a story, and most people don’t have the courage, or the opportunity, to share theirs. It is our job as poets to make sure that we carry the weight of those people too.

If you could perform anywhere in the world, where would it be? Performing anywhere is an honor. If I had to choose one place, though, it would be the Sydney Opera House.

What are you most excited about? Like, right. now? Right now I’m looking forward to hopefully making this year’s team to go compete internationally. It is one of the best experiences you could ever have. Being completely submerged in nothing but poetry and thousands of poets for usually five days, there is nothing better.

What does the future hold for Ashlynn Damers? The future for me I hope is very bright. Public speaking is my life, it is what I hope to do for the  rest of my life. I live by one quote: ” if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. “