Booking, Media & Press

RACHEL GLEASON

Poet. Performer. Motivational Speaker.

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Booking,

Media

& Press

“Grand Rapids spoken word poet Rachel Gleason performed with ferocity as she told her life story through poems, songs and conversation. Using a prominent theme of strength through vulnerability in her poetry, the poet left a mark on Central Michigan University students who attended the performance.” -Central Michigan Life 

Community stage spotlighted artist Rachel Gleason

Posted by Grand Rapids Pride Festival on Saturday, June 15, 2019

BIO

Rachel Gleason is a queer poet and performer with a powerful voice that commands
hearts and inspires minds.

Gleason’s work has been commissioned by local and national organizations and has been featured on WYCE’s Electric Poetry several times.

They are a coach of the Retort Slam Team and represented Grand Rapids in slams on national stages.

Gleason has spoken at TEDX events and universities, and has opened for world renowned spoken word artist Andrea Gibson.

Raised in a fundamentalist church, much of their art stems from the intersection of faith and sexuality.

Gleason’s coming out story was highlighted on NPR in a series about identity, acceptance and forgiveness in the LGBT community.

The video for their poem “Rambo Renegades,” which gives a piercing look at their journey with gender identity, has been shared by Pride.com, Curve Magazine, and DivaMag UK.

In addition to co-hosting the wildly popular, spoken-word based nightlife event, The Drunken Retort, Gleason is also the Director of Education and co-founder of The Diatribe, a nonprofit organization in Grand Rapids, Michigan dedicated to uniting and inspiring the youth through poetry.

“Rachel Gleason has been a guest teacher at Open Circle on several occasions. She is a uniquely gifted communicator who generously and vulnerably offers her poems, stories, and wisdom – and most importantly – her presence to everyone she encounters. The world needs more Rachel Gleason.”
– Matt Laidlaw, Spiritual Director, Author

REVIEWS

Rachel did an amazing job at our National Conference!

“Her poetry and delivery style is unique and uplifting!

Rachel came highly recommended to us and we were not disappointed as we received nothing but positive comments.

We can definitely see ourselves working with Rachel again in the future!”

-Gregory C. Parrish, Vice President Resource Development & External Affairs, National Fair Housing Alliance

Versatility + professionalism + talent all in one

“Rachel Gleason is truly the silver lining on the horizon of where the the land (the artist) meets the sky (the art).

If all of the beauty in between is the perfect sunset – then her storytelling ability, teaching artist chops, and charisma makes her the perfect sunset.

Don’t think about where they fit, or “if they are the right artist”. Just book them, and you’ll see you made the right choice.

– Marcel “Fable” Price, Grand Rapids Poet Laureate

Insightful and powerful

“Rachel Gleason’s poetry is insightful and powerful. Her public presentations are an inspiration to people of all ages.

She is a model for everyone to speak their truth.”

– Leslie Newman, Event Coordinator, C3 Inclusive Spiritual Connection”

I knew Rachel Gleason from her work over the years as one of our area’s top spoken word poets…Not only has Gleason’s reputation as an artist grown over the years, it was also her ability over all these years to share the stage with other voices is why she was our first call as a fitting partner to produce our community stage, where we welcomed ten featured local artists and over twenty other voices to address the festival audience.

We could not have done it without her and the team of artists they assembled (and welcomed) to make our annual fundraising event held in the heart of Grand Rapids our most successful Pride Fest of all time.”

– Tommy Allen, Board President and 2019 Pride Fest Entertainment Producer

“Rachel Gleason, the dynamic spoken word artist in Grand Rapids, Michigan, (gives) an intimate and emotional look at gender identity.”

– Curve Magazine

“‘Rambo Renegades’ details Rachel Gleason’s journey with gender and finding empowerment through her femininity. This spoken word poem about gender will give you chills.”

-Pride.com

PERFORMANCES

UPCOMING EVENTS

First Lowell UCC, March 15th 10am

The Listening Room, May 21st 7:30pm

Grand Rapids Pride Festival, June 20th 1pm

PAST EVENTS

Gleason has performed at events across the Midwest since 2015, including:

Grand Rapids Pride Festival

TEDx Muskegon

Central Michigan University

Indiana State University

2018 National Fair Housing Conference, Washington DC

RACHEL LOVES TO SPEAK AND PERFORM AT:

Universities
LGBTQ Events
Festivals
Churches & Spiritual Organizations

Conferences
Rallies & Marches
Community Events & Shows

Common Themes:
LGBTQ Identities & Struggles
Spirituality
Mental Health
Social Justice
Empowerment

A NEW KIND OF REBELLION

Rachel’s book of poems that pull back the curtain on growing up LGBTQ in an evangelical home, “New Kind of Rebellion” is as refreshing as it is intimate.

It is an image-driven journey into the depth of one woman’s resolve against societal and religious norms. Find it on Amazon.

ARTIST STATEMENT

Most of my young life I felt voiceless. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a talker, always been loud and slightly irreverent, but I was wearing a mask.

I wasn’t living or speaking my truth. Out of fear.

Raised in an evangelical fundamentalist christian church, I was called as a prophet at age thirteen. I got very good at saying what I thought others wanted me to say. I was charismatic, passionate, and “anointed,” but I was drowning. I was in constant fear of being found out.

At nineteen, I realized that life is too short to live someone’s truth. I came out and left the church and lost everything.

But I found myself and my voice.

This is why living out loud and sharing my truth and story as an artist is so important to me today. Spoken word encourages and empowers me to continue living authentically, unmasked, and open.

I find a lot of healing in my work, and my hope is that others will as well, that maybe they will also find strength and empowerment through radical vulnerability.

Rachel Gleason
Poet. Performer. Motivational Speaker.
Grand Rapids, MI

ARTIST STATEMENT

Most of my young life I felt voiceless. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been a talker, always been loud and slightly irreverent, but I was wearing a mask.

I wasn’t living or speaking my truth. Out of fear.

Raised in an evangelical fundamentalist christian church, I was called as a prophet at age thirteen. I got very good at saying what I thought others wanted me to say. I was charismatic, passionate, and “anointed,” but I was drowning. I was in constant fear of being found out.

At nineteen, I realized that life is too short to live someone’s truth. I came out and left the church and lost everything.

But I found myself and my voice.

This is why living out loud and sharing my truth and story as an artist is so important to me today. Spoken word encourages and empowers me to continue living authentically, unmasked, and open.

I find a lot of healing in my work, and my hope is that others will as well, that maybe they will also find strength and empowerment through radical vulnerability.

Rachel Gleason
Poet. Performer. Motivational Speaker.
Grand Rapids, MI

CONTACT

Contact Rachel to inquire about speaking engagements, book performances and connect with one of West Michigan’s most engaging, inspiring activists.

EMAIL RACHEL

Rachel Gleason LGBTQ Motivational Speaker, Performer and Poet - RachelGleason.com

Poet. Performer. Motivational Speaker.

“When I grow up I wanna be a bad boy
I wanna be taken away kicking and screaming. I wanna be on a chopper and leaning into the curve of a new kind of rebellion” – Bad Boy

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