About the Poet


**Short Letter from Ebo**

Dear Readers, Potentials Gigs and Community,

I’ve spent many years trying to live a life I didn’t feel right living.  I’ve decided that in order to truly love myself, I should live free, even when systems do not allow that to entirely be true.  

I am a genderqueer person that was assigned female at birth.  I go by they/them pronouns.  Yes, I expect you to get used to it.  No, I don’t care about what you think.  I understand that it is a safety issue for many genderqueer, trans* and queer identified individuals in our world to live as transparent as I’m being.  I am asking no one to fall in line or do the same.  I am doing this for myself.  I will always honor the woman I used to be, because in my freedom, a queer brown and black woman dies.  And I will always honor the struggle and life of a queer brown or queer black woman.  

Her name was Carmela.  Through the years, she felt more comfortable as what her family called her and introduced herself as Ela.  Ela began performing poetry in 2005 and continued to do so until they came out as genderqueer (also identifying as Trans*/Transmasculine) and changing their name to Ebo.  You will see poems published and printed and videos and hear audio clips or see quotes about Ela Barton.  These are all works of Ebo Barton, when they used to live as someone else.

Please note on the blog, that the hashtag #elabarton will used to best direct readers, potential gigs and community members to this page.  The hashtag #ebolivingoutloud will also be used.

I am requesting that if you have used my former name somewhere to please change it.  I understand that print materials are more difficult to change, but anything that is possible, please do.  Thank you!




12341643_446369248901433_218174921617907001_nEbo Barton is a Black and Filipino queer poet and artist living in Seattle, Washington. They are the 2007 Bainbridge Island Poetry Slam Champion, a five-time finalist of the Seattle Poetry Slam Grand Slam (2009,2010, 2011, 2012, 2015) and the first woman to win Jack McCarthy’s Evergreen Invitational (2011). In 2008, Barton placed 23 out of 72 at Women of the World Poetry Slam and in 2013, placed 16 out of 72 at Individual World Poetry Slam.   In 2014, Barton was placed first in the Rain City Slam Championship earning them a spot on the first Rain City Slam National Team.  At National Poetry Slam 2014, Rain City Slam placed 7th in the nation.  In 2015, they secured a spot on the Seattle Poetry Slam National Team.  Seattle Poetry Slam in 2015 went on to Group Piece Finals as the top ten group pieces in the nation.  Barton has taught Creative Writing and Performance Poetry at Bent: A Queer Writing Institute. Ela has been featured on National Public Radio, SeattleGayScene.com, Button Poetry, EverydayFeminism.com and King 5 (Seattle) News. Their work has been featured in Adrienne: A Poetry Journal of Queer Women by Sibling Rivalry Press. They are the founder of the Rain City Poetry Slam and adapted the concept of Vancouver’s “Mashed Poetics” to create a similar monthly, music inspired, poetry show, Liner Notes.  Barton’s most recent project is a show titled, “How to love THIS Queer Body of Color: An Unapology”  Poetry and spoken word addressing “the strength and resiliency it takes to live in the body of a Queer Person of Color.” which debuted October 2015 in partnership with Gay City Arts.

Barton was described in Seattle Gay News as, “unapologetic, smart and sharp-tongued-nothing seemed immune to [her] poignant observations.”

Author, poet and activist, Tara Hardy said, “[Ela] Barton is the queer echo to the first whisper of revolution. Backlash to cynicism, [she]’ll have you believing in yourself again.”

For booking or contact

please email Ebo Barton at ebobarton@gmail.com