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Posts by Charlie Radin

Slam Poetry in NYC

Slam Poetry is alive and well in New York City and beyond. Check out this slam the NYPL and Urban Word hosted at the Bronx Library Center, featuring the Precision Poetry Drill Team.  With so many of the Urban Word visiting poets coming from the Slam tradition, I want to take a moment and discuss the art form and point you towards exciting Slam events, videos, and resources in New York City.

The history of slam poetry is complicated, almost as 

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Further Reading: Activism Through Poetry

Slam poetry is a new and unique development in modern literature. Activism through poetry, however, has been around for as long as the art form itself has. I’ve never had a cup of coffee and talked shop with any of the Urban Word Masterpoets, but I’d love to. I want to share some of the history and tradition of activism in African-American art and culture. Best of all, books and CDs of all of the artists mentioned here are available at your local 

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Stuff for the Teen Age: Aracelis Girmay at Urban Word

Aracelis Girmay received a red typewriter in seventh grade, and she never looked back. Just like the young poets at Urban Word, she figured out early on that writing poetry could change her life, and the lives of everyone around her. She said it better than I ever can:

"When I was 13, though, I read The Bluest Eye, I remember thinking: Oh, god, we're allowed to 

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Stuff for the Teen Age: Roger Bonair-Agard at Urban Word

Roger Bonair-Agard is the guest of Urban Word NYC on August 3, and he is definitely not afraid to speak his mind. When the media reports that the world’s first all-black penguin is “assimilating nicely,” Roger is there to fire back a volley. While Lil’ Wayne raps about bling, Roger pokes fun at his tattoos and interviews with Katie Couric. We need Roger Bonair-Agard out there fighting, shouting so that he can be heard above the 

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Stuff for the Teen Age: Roger Sedarat at Urban Word

Now more than ever, the world needs to hear from Roger Sedarat. Since his career began, he’s been raging against oppressive regimes throughout the world, but his focus is Iran. He wants his work to help the Iranian people seize their country for their own. Sometimes this plays out in a symbolic way in his work, and sometimes in more literal fashion. He laments lost loved ones, lost human rights, and lost culture. He focuses his anger to a point and uses it to change people’s minds. Witness this video of his 

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Stuff for the Teen Age: Aimee Nezhukumatathil at Urban Word

Urban Word’s Summer Wordshops are rolling right along. On Wednesday, July 27, Aimee Nezhukumatathil joins the fray for an afternoon workshop at Urban Word HQ from 3 to 5 p.m. Head downtown afterwards to hear her read from her new book, Lucky Fish, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

I’ve never been to Southeast Asia, but after reading Lucky Fish, I feel like I have. Nezhukumatathil (Nez for short) calls to mind fruits 

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Stuff for the Teen Age: Kimiko Hahn

Urban Word’s second visiting Master Poet, Kimiko Hahn, instructs herself and her students by saying, “let things get messy early in the process, and eventually make sense of it.” Her process is a reflection of her subject matter — science. Science, as anyone who has looked up at the stars or dissected a frog knows, is messy, complicated, and frustrating. Hahn looks up to the stars and down into the ground for inspiration, but ultimately, her poetry reflects her own body and her own feelings. Check out her poem, 

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Stuff for the Teen Age: Poetry Workshops with Urban Word

This summer, The New York Public Library is pleased to partner with Urban Word NYC for a summer of poetry. Urban Word hosts poetry workshops year-round for teens, and they are free, free, free — the best kind of entertainment in New York City.

I’m psyched to hear some of the poetry that our amazing teens come up with to welcome their first visiting poet in the Summer Build-A-Peace series, Alexis DeVeaux. She’s a Harlem native that has spent the better part of 

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