from Missy Dugan

With the most heartfelt apologies for the impersonal nature of this medium, I need to inform you that Sheila Siobhan died this afternoon (approximately an hour ago) after taking a turn for the worse yesterday.

Please keep Sheila, her sisters Allison Auld and Linda, Ron Horne and her extended family in your hearts. Love one another and strongly.

For the Love of Sheila - a call for help

Friends and Family,

As you may know Sheila is in the hospital being treated for the H1N1 virus.

Here is the latest post from Sheila's sister:

Things are pretty rough to be blunt. We really won't know if Sheila can turn this around for at least 3 more days. After that, praying all goes well, she's looking at 2 weeks in ICU, another month in the hospital and then a whole lot of rehab. I'm flying down on Monday, the soonest I could get there. Prayers and more prayers, lot's of buckets passing as Ron was dependent on Sheila's salary at the moment and can't even think of working right now, he needs to be with Sheila. I don't have much, enough to keep fed while I'm down there I hope. My sister Linda is using air miles to get me down there and I'm borrowing from my children for the rest! Family is good, and extends way beyond blood as you and all of Sheila and Ron's friends have shown. I am so thankful.



For those of you who don't know Sheila, while I'm not going to get too far into the story, her daughter, a beloved and cherished member of the slam community passed away in 2008 after a few weeks in a coma. You can read more about it here:

The deductible for Shannon's hospital bills was 250K. Not only can Sheila not afford that, but now she has her own ever rising hospital bills and Ron is not working at this time.

Obviously every penny helps, but these are astronomically high bills that Ron and Sheila are looking at and for anyone out there who can dig deep, even if you don't know Ron and Sheila and just want to help, now would be the time.

I've created a donation page for Ron and Sheila through paypal. If you don't want to donate through paypal or don't know how and would prefer to send a personal check to their home address please contact me for the information.

If you don't have money to give but you want to help out in other ways and you live in Austin, please, please, please get involved with the They Speak Youth Slam (

They Speak Youth Slam is the Austin youth poetry slam, founded by Matthew Conley and Sheila so that there would be a place for youth poets. Shannon started slamming at Ego's when she was 14, which was a 21+ venue. She was able to go because Sheila accompanied her, but other youth poets didn't have a place to slam. The youth slam has very much been one of the things that has kept Sheila going since Shannon passed. Ron and Sheila pour so much of their time and energy and own money into that slam and it has been starved for volunteers for quite a while. Please friend them on Facebook and send them a message asking how you can help.

Please repost this far and wide.


Sarah Q (and Ron and Sheila).

Shannon t-shirt photos

 So... before everyone gets to NPS... I've been trying to collect up photos of folks wearing the Shannon Leigh t-shirts (both for me personally and for the lawsuit to illustrate the impact of her loss on all of us). I've been copying them over when I see them on facebook or online, but if you have any, please send them to me as email attachments to:

Austin City Wide Youth Slam Off - dedicated to Shannon Leigh



Presented by The Texas Youth Word Collective

EVENT: Austin Youth Poetry Slam Off
DATE & TIME: Saturday, May 2, 2009 @ 7:00 pm
ADMISSION: $10 cover, $5 students, free under 5
PLACE: The Independent (fka 501 Studios)

(Corner of E. 5th & Brushy)

CONTACTS: Ron Horne (512) 632-5033

Dr. Sheila Siobhan (512) 422-6653

The time has arrived spoken word mavens. The Seventh Annual Austin Youth Poetry Slam Off is finally here!!! Teenagers throughout the Austin area have endured a season of spoken word challenges to meet one last time in a battle for four coveted spots on the Austin Youth Slam Team. The prize, you ask? A return to where it all started for the Austin youth spoken word movement, where the first Austin Youth Slam Team cut their teeth; the City of Broad Shoulders, the home of the original Deep Dish Pizza, the first African American President of the United States and . . . . Da Bears: Chicago , Illinois , for the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival.

Austin youth, spilling their hearts, souls, and minds on the stage with original writing and performance, will vie for an opportunity to compete against some of THE finest young spoken word artists in the country. And if you are saying to yourself, “Aww, they’re pullin’ my leg!” or "Are they serious?", go to (see the first episode online) or watch the series every Sunday night and you will see what we mean. In its six years of competing at Brave New Voices, Austin has placed Fifth once and Sixth once out of the 45 cities that send teams to this annual international event. Britain ’s Got Talent (the U.K. ’s version of American Idol)? Shooooot, AUSTIN has talent! And on Saturday night, May 2, the proof will be presented for all to see. As the immortal Vanilla Ice would say, "Word to ya mother!"

In addition to some of the hottest spoken word anywhere, YOU, as the audience will be an essential part of the action. It will be your job to cheer or jeer the judges who will ultimately choose the next youth poetry slam team to represent Austin on the international stage. Oh, and there's more. In addition to spoken word, you'll get to enjoy the stylings of our perennial resident dj, DJ F.Scott, a musicologist of the highest order as well as our fabulous host, nationally reknowned slam phenom poetess, Kim Taylor (aka Knowtorious 13). So, bring your family, bring your friends . . . heck... bring complete and total strangers off the street, if you like. But whatever you do . . . BE THERE!

Finalists in this year’s Slam Off include: Shay Harris (Reagan H.S.), Cora Lee (Austin H.S.), De’Vonte Sanders (Reagan H.S.), Margaret Olson (Cedar Park H.S.), Sheenika Medard (Hutto H.S.), Kynneth Anderson (Ellison H.S., Killeen ), Kevin Garica (Manor H.S.), Jonathan Fisher ( Sam Houston State ), Shamika Hicks ( Austin Community College ), Micah Witty and Frank Bonner (LBJ H.S.).

The 2008-2009 City Wide Youth Poetry Slam season is dedicated to the memory of Shannon Leigh, co-founder of the Texas Youth Word Collective and Austin City Wide Youth Poetry Slam, who died on June 30th, 2008 at the age of twenty. Shannon was Team Champion in 2003 and 2004, as well as a team member on the 2005 team. In 2007, she took third place in the Individual Finals of the National Poetry Slam, performing for a sold-out crowd at the Paramount Theater. She was featured on the HBO Series, "Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry" and completed two novels, numerous poetry anthologies, and a hip-hop CD entitled "Sanctuary". Last year's Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival was dedicated to Shannon 's memory, and an annual college scholarship was established in her name to be awarded to one of the festival participants. This year's Austin City-Wide Youth Poetry Slam Off will include a tribute to this amazing young woman who touched so many in this community and beyond.

This event is sponsored in part by a grant from the City of Austin and the Texas Arts Commission (and you know they don't play when it comes to art!).

Triple A '09

Art Amok Atlanta picks our '09 team tonight, the first one without Shannon's name in the physical finalist list since we started sending a team.She'll always be there on it to me.
I'm talkin' to her and feeling her a lot this week (Theresa as well, actually).I guess I always will, especially right around now in the season. I already do around certain numbers, dates, times. Resonance.
Big love, slamming forward.
  • Current Mood
    pensive pensive


Tonight there is going to be a slam (not a slamoff), so you can still come out and compete if you have not yet qualified for the slamoff.

Also, please note we are in a brand new location. This Saturdays slam will be held in our new slam home 501 Studios, an amazing venue that will be home to many future slam events in Austin! It is located just east of I-35 on 5th street (near Progress Cafe).

So please come out and join us for a season dedicated to the memory of Shannon Leigh.