Pages Matam on Spoken Word

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“I no longer want to do this thing of speaking for the voiceless, it’s about passing the microphone and allowing those people to finally speak for themselves.” In this video produced by the Guardian Labs, author and spoken word artist Pages Matam talks about the power of poetry and creating spaces where shared experiences can act as both inspiration and a catalyst for change.

Don’t Be Nice

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“What does it mean to write something urgent right now?” Don’t Be Nice is a 2018 documentary directed by Max Powers that follows a group of poets from the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City’s East Village who grapple with the political climate punctuated by the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements as they prepare for the National Poetry Slam championship during the summer of 2016.

BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez

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“I wanted to tell people how I became this woman with razor blades between her teeth.” BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez, directed by Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater, and Sabrina Schmidt Gordon, chronicles the life and work of poet and political activist Sonia Sanchez, including her emergence as a seminal figure in the Black Arts Movement, her tireless political activism, and a poetry career so great Maya Angelou called her “a lion in literature’s forest.” Sanchez is the recipient of the 2022 Jackson Poetry Prize.

The Year of No Grudges

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“I know most people try hard / to do good and find out too late / they should have tried softer.” Andrea Gibson reads “The Year of No Grudges, or Instead of Writing a Furious Text, I Try a Poem” from their latest poetry collection, You Better Be Lightning (Button Poetry, 2021), in this video from a stage in Longmont, Colorado.

Greg Tate: What Is Hip Hop?

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“Hip-hop is Ralph Ellison, who once said the blues is like running a razor blade along an open sore.” In this audio recording from the 1996 album Flippin’ the Script: Rap Meets Poetry released by Mouth Almighty Records, author and critic Greg Tate reads his poem “What Is Hip Hop?” The influential journalist and author of Flyboy in the Buttermilk: Essays on Contemporary America (Simon & Schuster, 1992), died at the age of sixty-three on December 7, 2021.

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