The Bodies Visible Reading featuring Denise Jolly and DC Area Poets with Disabilities.  I’ll be hosting!


Posted March 19, 2014 by Natalie E. Illum in Uncategorized

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Three Poems – Natalie E. Illum   Leave a comment


You have all 3 of my <3s


roulette blur
Blueprintfor Robert Illum My father can count cards. Once he cheated the house out of so much Blackjack, they threatened to kick him and his teeth out. Good thing he always knew when to walk away. By morning his wallet was as red as his bloodshot eyes. I am my father’s daughter. You can call me a slot machine. If you pay me enough attention, I will give you all of my 3 hearts spill my insides and watch you walk away to the next pretty thing. My father is an engineer. He loves blueprints and right angles; machines that can easily be fixed. I am my father’s daughter but my body cannot be fixed. No matter what he builds he will never design something better than a wheelchair. I inherited his cheekbone, but not his poker face I know how big he smiles for a straight flush; how…

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Posted March 19, 2014 by Natalie E. Illum in Uncategorized

Next Show February 13   Leave a comment


I’m excited to be performing with Story League again. Details on the show here:!/events/222563111258990/

Posted January 29, 2014 by Natalie E. Illum in Uncategorized

Gemini Truth   Leave a comment

Poem from the most recent Encloypedia DC show.

Posted January 29, 2014 by Natalie E. Illum in Uncategorized

Poem From When We Were Warmer   Leave a comment

Photo by Lindsay Arnold. Somewhere in our neighborhood, recently.

Photo by Lindsay Arnold. Somewhere in our neighborhood, recently.

I wrote this last April, about two weeks before my father died. I haven’t been able to write much since, not because of his death, but just because. But on December 14, 2013 I finally found a fraction of my voice. At least the draft poem is written, at least it is the truth of that moment, which is a start.

What artists do

You tell me you are hiking
waist-high in snow somewhere
in Wyoming. It is 80 degrees
here and raining blossoms.
The tourists have flooded
the stations again. Again

we are covered in humidity
too early. It’s too late
to tell you what happens
when I fall asleep with
the windows open.
But here’s what happens:

I become a watch, telling time
by the hours we are missing.
I become a straight key, turning
my blood into Morse code. I send

you only three words at a time.
On my worse nights, my SOS
misses your rely station. By morning,
the enemy has already taken me.

But mostly, I am a hope chest
storing our best memories
for someone else to open.

Mostly, I look down at my palms,
notice how fragmented my lifeline is.
The reader told me I have too many
false starts. She is right. She tells

me to keep only the ones with the strongest
grip. The one whose hands are as deft
as my tongue, but not as striking.
She tells me a piece of my heart line
is missing. She says obviously

it is with you.

Posted January 8, 2014 by Natalie E. Illum in Uncategorized

Next Show: The ZODIACalypse 1/16/14   1 comment

Next Show: The ZODIACalypse 1/16/14

I am so excited to be a part of this awesome show. It will be my first time performing in 2014. The poem will be unique to this show and heard for one night only! Hope to see you there.

Details here:

Posted January 7, 2014 by Natalie E. Illum in Uncategorized

Thank you Baltimore!!   Leave a comment

I had a great time at Word War Six Poetry Slam hosted by The Baltimore Scene. It was my first time slamming since August and it nice to have such a receptive crowd. Plus, I made new poet friends.

Posted January 7, 2014 by Natalie E. Illum in Uncategorized

I’m Headed to Boston to Rep DC with the Best Teammates Ever!!!   Leave a comment


So here’s what (finally) happened.  After 2 years of narrowly missing a slot on the team (I finished 5th by less than a point), I made the 2013 team.  If fact, I became Beltway’s Grand Slam Champion.  The 1st woman to do so.  Double fact, Adele Hampton also made the team so Beltway will have 2 ladies keepin it even more real August 12-18. 

As someone who has represented DC on the slam circuit in various competitions, I know first hand how expensive it can be.  Everyone pays for the chance to be on Finals stage.  We are running an Indie GoGo campaign.  It would mean the world to me if you’d consider donating and help us get the word out.  You could win a Beyonce ticket, a personalized haiku my yours truly, a group piece by the team, chapbook and a custom-made dinner.

I promise I will keep you posted on how we do.

All 3 of my hearts, Natalie



***SPECIAL– Any donation over $40 before 5pm on Friday July 26th will be entered to win one free ticket to Beyonce on Tuesday July 30th at the Verizon Center in DC!!**



Beltway Poetry Slam is one of DC’s premier spots for performance poetry and art in general. Over the past three years, Beltway has brought new and seasoned poets to the stage, featuring award winning talent from across the country and gaining the attention of local media and arts organizations. We are gearing up to send our third ever team to compete at the National Poetry Slam in Boston and we need your help getting there!

TEAM MEMBERS: Pages Matam, Natalie E. Illum, Adele Hampton, Robalu Gibson, Clint Smith. COACH Chris August

NEXT POETRY SHOW: Beltway Poetry Slam’s Semi-Finals!!   Leave a comment


Come see the top 12 poets from the season bring their strongest work & fiercest performances for a chance to be one of the 8 poets competing in our Grand Slam on May 14th.

All poets are sharing their work in hope of representing DC at the National Poetry Slam in Boston!

The poets competing in no particular order are:
Adele Hampton
Ayanna Gallant
Brandi Hargette
Clint Smith
Danielle Reed
Natalie Illum
Pages Matam
Robalu Gibson
Spencer Retelle
Tolonda Henderson
Twain Dooley


Hosted by Shelly Bell
The Fridge DC
516 1/2 8th St SE
(through alleyway)
(Eastern Market metro)
$5 at the door (cash only)
All ages
Questions or comments:

Posted April 25, 2013 by Natalie E. Illum in Uncategorized

Blueprint   1 comment

Posted April 5, 2013 by Natalie E. Illum in Uncategorized