The Kennedy Center

Holly Bass


Holly Bass is a writer, performer, and director. A Cave Canem Fellow, her poems have appeared in Callaloo, nocturnes (re)view, Beltway, Role Call (Third World Press), and The Ringing Ear, an anthology of black southern poetry. Her pieces have been workshopped and presented at respected regional theaters and performance spaces such as the Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, the Whitney Museum, and the Experience Music Project in Seattle. She is the Cullen Poet-in-Residence for Busboys & Poets (D.C.) where she coordinates open mic nights and writing workshops for the public. She studied modern dance (under Viola Farber) and creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College before earning a master’s in journalism from Columbia University. She was a founding member of DC WritersCorps and continues to work as a teaching artist in schools, colleges, and community centers. She has received numerous grants from the DC Arts Commission and was one of 20 artists nationwide to receive 2008 Future Aesthetics grant from the Ford Foundation/Hip Hop Theater Festival.

Watch Past Performances

Video 1/31/2014: Toni Asante Lightfoot, Toni Blackman, Holly Bass, and DJ Renegade

From February 1994 to August 1996, the Tuesday night open mic at It’s Your Mug was a community event that had a lasting impact on Washington’s poetry scene. In celebration of the 20th anniversary, original host and founder Lightfoot takes to the stage with a group of Mug regulars.

Video 5/1/2012: DC Slam Team / Words, Beats, and Life

Writer, director, and performer Holly Bass hosts an event celebrating the Kennedy Center’s “What's Going On…NOW” campaign, featuring members of the DC Slam Team, a group comprised of local spoken word artists, and Words, Beats, and Life, an organization that works to transform individual lives and communities through hip hop.

Holly Bass