Get Lit - Words Ignite is a Los Angeles-based education nonprofit founded in 2006 by author and educator Diane Luby Lane, to increase literacy, empower youth, and energize communities through poetry and visual media.  The organization aims to transform the lives of young people worldwide through classic and spoken word poetry. Through the use of specialized curriculums, the program engages young people by providing a creative outlet, community, and real-life work experience, transforming students into activists, scholars, and stars.

The only program of its kind in the nation, Get Lit has created a unique call-and-response model where students identify classic poems that resonate with their own stories, and write original responses, inspiring students to discover, develop, and amplify their voices while learning and exploring classic poetry from the past and present.  At Get Lit, “a classic isn’t a classic because it’s old, a classic is a classic because it’s great.”

Get Lit annually reaches 50,000 youth age 9 through young adulthood through its In-School and After-School programs. Instruction culminates in the three-day Classic Slam, the largest classic youth poetry competition in the country. Get Lit is also home to the Get Lit Players (GLPs), an award-winning youth poetry troupe who have collaborated with the United Nations, John Legend, the White House, and more, inspiring their peers to read, write, uplift their communities and participate in the arts.

85% of Get Lit’s students are from under-resourced areas; 92% are students of color. Get Lit reaches students, whether they are in the front row, in the back of the classroom, or online. Graduating students have gone on to successes including positions as Youth Poet Laureates of the U.S., staff writers on top television shows, United Nations Youth Ambassadors, Grammy-winning artists, and Fulbright Scholars.  Get Lit was chosen as a 2020 Library of Congress Literacy Awards Best Practice Honoree, one of only 15 in the world.   In addition, Diane Luby Lane’s book Get Lit Rising (Simon & Schuster) won the 2016 Nautilus Award for books that “bring hope, healing, wisdom, and joy.”

Premiering at the 2022 Santa Barbara film festival, the documentary OUR WORDS COLLIDE features 5 poets from the program and provides a timely view as to how transformative the Get Lit program can be for young people, especially during the past few years.  The Anti-Defamation League awarded its ADL Stand Up Award to the film during the 2022 Santa Barbara International FIlm Festival.  The ADL Stand Up Award is awarded to one film that exemplifies the impact storytelling can have on fostering mutual understanding and respect consistent with ADL’s mission to secure “justice and fair treatment to all."

In January, it was announced that Get Lit now partnered with the Writers Guild Foundation on a youth screenwriting program that will support a new generation of diverse storytellers to have 1:1 mentoring from some of today’s top film and tv writers.  The two year program will allow participants to create a final script that can be pitched, optioned, produced, or used as a sample piece to acquire representation or employment.

27 Get Lit poets also co-wrote and co-starred in the film “Summertime” directed by Carlos López Estrada. The film premiered opening night at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and opened in theaters across the U.S. in 2021. The film  is currently available on Amazon and other platforms, and a PG version is available for classrooms. Get Lit poets have performed at premier venues such as the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, the Hollywood Bowl, The White House, and the United Nations.

In early 2022, Get Lit will officially launch Uni(verse), the world's first interactive poetry platform for the classroom, community, and beyond. Get Lit’s Uni(verse) will enable students throughout the US and internationally, to take Get Lit’s standards-aligned “Words Ignite” course online and to exchange ideas both within and outside of school. It will feature Get Lit’s interactive poetry Anthology, searchable by poet, theme, literary device, etc. Uni(verse) will build and strengthen communication, collaboration, empathy, and community throughout the world through the vehicle of poetry.

Using Poetry to Increase Literacy, Empower Youth, and Inspire Communities

GET LIT - WORDS IGNITE is a Los Angeles-based education nonprofit founded in 2006 by author and educator Diane Luby Lane, to increase literacy, empower youth, and energize communities through poetry and visual media.  The organization aims to transform the lives of young people worldwide through classic and spoken word poetry. Through the use of specialized curriculums, the program engages young people by providing a creative outlet, community, and real-life work experience, transforming students into activists, scholars, and stars.


Our Story

Get Lit is a Los Angeles based arts education non-profit founded in 2006 by Diane Luby Lane to increase literacy, empower youth, and inspire communities through poetry. The inspiration for Get Lit began with a solo show that Diane toured with internationally celebrated poet and advocate Jimmy Santiago Baca in venues ranging from high schools and universities to prisons. Educators and youth responded with enthusiasm for poetry in their classrooms. Diane then developed a curriculum through which she saw the most reluctant youth, many on the brink of dropping out, transform into poets, leaders, and scholars.

To sustain this transformative work, Lane founded Get Lit - Words Ignite in 2006 as a project of Community Partners. In 2009, the organization incorporated as a 501(c)(3), and has experienced an increased demand for its services every year since.

Today, the curriculum has expanded from serving three schools to over 145 schools annually, representing an extremely broad range of school and community cultures throughout California and the global community. The Get Lit Media content studio puts the power into the hands of young filmmakers by giving them the tools needed to tell their stories, shift the narrative, and ultimately, the world.


The Literacy Crisis

We have a literacy crisis in our backyard.

The Stats

Nationally, more than 50% of students did not log in for regular instruction during COVID 19 in 2020.

The Stats

Half of LAUSD’s Class of 2019 are not eligible for California public universities.

The Stats

2/3 children do not meet the standards for reading proficiency set by the National Assessment of Educational Progress

The Stats

62% of low income students do not pursue college. 

The Stats

Nationally, more than 50% of students do not pursue college


Get Lit helps provide the remedy.

Life-long Learners

98% of Get Lit Players go to college, and 70% get scholarships!

Increased Engagement

97% of teachers see a significant increase in attendance, engagement, and grades after learning through Get Lit's curriculum

50,000 Youth Reached

The Get Lit Players’ performances reach over 50,000 youth each year through performances and over 100 million people online!


America has an epidemic of loneliness, most pronounced for youth – 48.3%. Of whom feel “extremely lonely.” Rates of suicidal ideation are highest among youth, especially LGBTQ+ youth. People screening at risk for mental health conditions are struggling most with loneliness or isolation. From April to September 2020, among people who screened with moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety or depression, 70 percent reported that one of the top three things contributing to their mental health concerns was loneliness or isolation. The political landscape has caused echo chambers with a lack of meaningful conversations occurring between people of different ideologies.

The Classic Slam

Hundreds of youth from schools throughout the nation come to share poems and compete in the largest youth classic poetry slam in the world. In a time of COVID isolation, Get Lit brings young people together. Get Lit provides an inclusive online and/or in the school environment, where youth share poems, stories, and find community and acceptance.

Lack of Job Training & Professional Opportunities for Youth
(particularly youth from low income families)

Youth exclusion from jobs and training on the rise - Young people face an uncertain future in the labor market because of automation. The technical skills required for most sectors quickly become outdated owing to rapid changes in technology and the spread of automation.  Young people need the skills to rapidly learn, adapt, practice resiliency, and take advantage of entrepreneurial mindsets, to respond to this reality.

With your support, we are making a difference. Contribute and become a Luminary.

Claim your poem. Claim your life.


We are making a difference

Advisory board

The Get Lit Advisory Board is composed of high level professionals in a myriad of fields. They provide valuable counsel and introductions for Get Lit throughout the year and are readily available to lend a hand.  

Meet our Advisory Board

Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors helps to maintain the highest level of excellence in all that we do at Get Lit.  We look for diverse members, who are committed to bettering young lives through the arts, have an appreciation for spoken word poetry, are generous with their time, are focused on helping us build and maintain our company, and whose skill sets and knowledge directly benefits Get Lit in some way.

Meet our Board of Directors


The Free Verse Board members are ambassadors for Get Lit throughout the country.  They are passionate about poetry, spoken word, literacy and the youth we serve.  They are eager to give back by being a part of this vibrant community.  

Meet our Freeverse Board

Poetic Advisory

Get Lit’s motto is “All Poets Win”. We are committed to honoring the legacy of poets, celebrating and sharing their words, teaching poetry in schools, encouraging the work of young poets, and providing paid opportunities for poets throughout the world.  Our Poetic Advisory Board members provide direct counsel, guidance, insight and inspiration to Get Lit as an organization and to the students we teach.

Meet our Poetic Advisory Board

conscious collaborators

Our conscious collaborators are renowned organizations that have engaged in meaningful projects in conjunction with Get Lit and contribute to the mission of empowering youth and elevating voices to share stories that have the power to change the world.

Agency 39A
Beyond Baroque
Cause Communications
Dynasty Typewriter
Final Draft
Heart of Los Angeles
Penny Lane Centers
The Actors’ Gang
Turnaround Arts: California
The Writer’s Guild
Posner Fine Art
Farmer’s Daughter Hotel
Golden Circle Group
We Rise LA
California Arts Council
City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs
Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture