‘Bridging Barriers’ workshop is an American-European collaboration, consisting of a three day intensive workshop worked out by seven Eastern and Central European slam poets (from Serbia, Macedonia, Ukraine, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary) and Chicago’s Speak Easy Ensemble 2018, led by Marc Kelly Smith assisted by two founding members of Ligue Slam de France. The workshop displays how different languages and cultures may be creatively brought together, with purpose and harmony, to produce fruitful and intriguing works of art, with dynamic interaction and audience engagement. The result is a unique multilingual showcase presented at Trafo on November 29.

Funding is provided by the US Embassy Budapest (Government of the United States), the International Visegrad Fund and Trafó House of Contemporary Arts.

Bridging Barriers Workshop & Performance:

Chicago’s Speak Easy Ensemble: Marc Kelly Smith, Nate Smith, Bailey Castle, Joel Chmara, Eli Bensusan

Mr. Zurg & Yopo (France)

poets, co-founders of the French national association, the Ligue Slam de France, and organizers of the national championship








Goran Zivkovic (Serbia)

By profession: a receptionist, travel guide and economist. In free time: a barman, night guard and a radio presenter. He’s been occupying himself with photography for a long time as a member of the FON photo club from Nis. His poetry has been published in numerous literary journals throughout Serbia. He’s been writing, travelling and performing since 2007. His poetry supports the concept of performance without reading from a paper, accompanied by musical instruments, a projector and a movie screen that serves as a backdrop and the visual support. He participated in numerous poetry meetings , literary colonies and slam festivals throughout Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, Estonia, Cyprus… Together with Miljan Milanovic as a co-author, in 2010, he edited a poetry collection “Tortu kroz prozor’’(‘’Cake Through the Window’’) ,” a traveling circus for spreading poetry. In 2012, a library, “Tragači” (The Searchers)  and Cultural Centre of Niš published his book “SPALIPAČITAJ”(‘’Burn-then-Read’’) which won Branko’s Award, for the best first collection of poetry in Serbia. In 2014, at the International Festival „VOJISLAV DESPOTOV“, he won the first prize in the category – poets aged up to 30 years. The same year, he also won the third place for poetry, at the International literary competition „ULAZNICA“.  In addition to this, he won the Audience Award -for the best slam poet in Serbia- in 2011, 2013 and 2015. at the International Novi Sad Literature Festival. His second poetry book ‘’PSIHOSLAJDOVI’’ (‘’The Psychoslides’’) was awarded and published by “Treći trg” Beograd, within Belgrade book&poetry festival   “Trgni se! Poezija!” 2017.

Currently lives in Niš, Serbia, is married, and has a son.


Elena Prenjova (Macedonia)

Elena Prendjova (b. 1985) holds an M.A. in Philology Science and a B.A. in English Language and Literature. She has published seven poetry collections and a book of essays on poetry. She has edited and co-edited two poetry anthologies, too. She performs slam poetry and organises slam competitions. Also, she teaches creative writing courses. She translates poetry from English to Macedonian and vice versa. Currently, she works as a lecturer in Contemporary English Language at a private university in her hometown.






Tomáš Straka (Slovakia)

Is a Slovak poet, novelist, slamer and organizer from Košice . He published two poetry books  Paper back and Hrdina robotníckej triedy ( working class hero). And a short novel Len sa nepozri do očí ( Don’t look into the eyes). He is also one of the main organizers of Slovak slam poetry scene. He participates as a performer and writer on poetic plays in Divadlo na půdě ( Theater on the loft) theater in Prague.






Anna Kalfas aka Rudka Zydel (Poland)


Vaclav Sindelar aka Anatol Svahilec (Czech Republic)

Theatre deserter and traitor who found meaning of his current life on the slam stage. Born in Mladá Boleslav, raised in Pilsen, currently living in Prague. Numerous times in Budapest, now most excited performing here for the first time. Winner of Czech National Slam Championship in 2014, so no one really cares now. Most of his time spending wandering around the Czech Republic performing and showing how slam genre could look like. Or could’t. Probably could’t.



Pavlo Korobchuk (Ukraine) – writer, musician, journalist.

I was born in 1984 in Lutsk. Winner of 20 poetry slams (most wins among Ukrainians). Author of 6 poetry books, 2 novels and 1 book of short stories. Also there are 3 books of my poetry translated into Polish and Slovak. My works were translated into English, German, Italian, Slovak, Polish, Lithuanian, Belarusian and Russian languages.

Also I were as a participant on Literaturwerkstatt Berlin (https://www.lyrikline.org/ru/stihotvoreniya/landshaft-014395-5826) and MAC (http://www.autorskecteni.cz/en) and many other festivals in Russia, Poland, Bielorussia, Czech Republic etc. Also I hold lectures about future of poetry. https://www.facebook.com/korobchu



Marton Simon (Hungary)

poet, slam poetry organizer, translator, creative producer.