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Friday, February 17, 2012

Poetry 2012: Expression in the Right Direction: Grand Slam!

Photo: Yosra El-Essawy
When Baba Israel and DJ Reborn take the stage on March 9 as part of the multi-artist spoken word performance Poetry 2012: Expression in the Right Direction, it will be the exciting outgrowth of a BAM program that initially exposed New York City students to professional spoken word performance.

BAM’s Education Department launched its poetry program in 2004, giving students an opportunity to explore their own voices and use poetry as a tool for self-expression. Along with school-based residencies led by BAM teaching artists, students attend a special daytime performance featuring some of the best poets in the country. These riveting annual shows began to attract interest beyond a student population, leading BAM to create the first evening incarnation this year—open to the public at large and staged at the BAM Harvey Theater.

Poetry 2012: Expression in the Right Direction, directed by Monica Williams, is a cross-generational, interdisciplinary performance featuring diverse, groundbreaking poets who demonstrate the vitality of the spoken word. It is a theatrical poetry experience, shaped by this year’s theme—Grand Slam! —with a roster of performers whose work speaks to diverse influences, including the Beat writers, the Black Arts Movement, hip-hop culture, and a wide range of theater experience. Poetry 2012 explores a mesmerizing art form imbued with social consciousness and personal discovery.

The evening is hosted by master of ceremonies Baba Israel (MC, spoken word artist, educator, and current artistic director of Contact Theatre in Manchester, England) and features the acclaimed DJ Reborn, who has spun at live shows by The Roots and John Legend. Featured performers include jessica Care moore, Ishmael “Ish” Islam, Jamaal St. John, “Mighty” Mike McGee, NeNe Ali, and The Striver’s Row Poets.

Past participants have included Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway artists Staceyann Chin, Steve Coleman, and Lemon Andersen; as well as Ishle Yi Park, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Carol Hancock Rux, music and dance artists including Universes, Rockafella, and other nationally recognized poets/slam artists.  

Poetry 2012: Expression in the Right Direction invites you to explore the power of the word through the art form’s most intrepid and adventurous disciples.

—Sandy Sawotka

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