LeJuane (El’Ja) Bowens is an award-winning spoken word poet and author. Born in Detroit, El’Ja joined the United States Army in 2000. During his six years of service, which included two deployments to Iraq, El’Ja began to commit his thoughts to paper. In 2005, at the urging of a friend, he posted several poems online. The positive feedback opened his eyes: poetry was his calling.Since then he has since went on to become the 2009 McDonalds Food For Thought Poetry Slam Champion, 2010 ECU's Survival of the Illest Poetry Slam, and the 1st poet to have his work in the Obama Art Museum located in Raleigh, NC (the 1st and only of its kind in North Carolina).
In 2014,he was recognized as the 1st ever NC Poet to compete in three different Grand Slam Finals in three different cities & win ALL three slams(Fayetteville, Charlotte, and Durham) and, along with the Bull City Slam Team, won the 22nd Southern Fried Poetry Slam. In 2015, El'Ja was nominated for Spoken Word Artist of the Year at the 5th Annual National Poetry Awards.
He is one of the founders and is the director for the Southeastern Regional NC Poetry Festival held once a year in Fayetteville, NC and he is a featured poet on Poetry Slam Inc's Youtube channel and All Def Poetry.
El'Ja is also the author of the poetry book, " So Many Things to Say: A Collection of Poems", and his newest book, "Anywhere...But Here". As of 2016, he was the recipient of the Rising Star Male Poet Award for the State of North Carolina and overall recipient of the award for the 2016 GANSPA Awards. He is also host to an event called the Nerd Slam which he has done at the Southern Fried Poetry Slam, National Poetry Slam, and numerous ComicCon events across the US.
He has performed at numerous festivals such as the Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival, Big Ears Festival, and the National Folk Festival along with sharing the stage with the likes of poets such as Georgia Me, Sunni Patterson, and Shihan Van Clief.