Category Archives: United States


“Moving the soul, like she rocks the mic, Motion is a true testament to the power of words.” -Toronto Star

MOTION’s aural/sonic works span the realms of word, sound and drama. Her lyrical agility has taken her to the stages of Manifesto, the Caribbean International Literary Festival, Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, CBC Television, Illinois Hip Hop & Punk Feminisms Symposium, Trinidad & Tobago’s Cascadoo Festival and HBO Def Poetry Jam. Her theatrical works have been staged at Factory Theatre, bcurrent’s Rock.Paper.Sistaz Festival, Buzz Festival at Theatre Passe Murialle and Obsidian’s International Black Playwrights Festival.

Motion is Resident alumna of the renowned Canadian Film Centre, and has been Obsidian Theatre’s Playwright-in-Residence, and a resident of the Banff Centre for the Arts’ Playwrights Colony in 2013, where she developed the dramatic suite 4OUR WOMAN. Her award-winning production ANEEMAH’S SPOT debuted at Summerworks 2012. She went on write the critically acclaimed site-specific theatrical co-creation NIGHTMARE DREAM, which premiered in the 2014 TD Then & Now Festival. The 2nd work in the Nightmare Dream trilogy BECAUSE I LOVE YOU, will have its main stage premier in the 2014-2015 Season. Her inter-disciplinary play ORALTORIO, and films SOUNDGIRL and Aneemah’s Spot are now in development.

Motion has published two collections – Motion in Poetry and 40 Dayz (Women’s Press). Her work has also been featured in Give Voice (Playwrights Canada), The Great Black North (Frontenac), and In the Black: New African Canadian Literature (Insomniac).

Inspired by her initiation as an arts/mentor with the legendary Fresh Arts Movement, MotionLive continues developing young and emerging talent through her presentation/ workshop series in community, creative and educational spaces such as South Africa’s Africa Expo Symposium, Tapestry Theatre, the AMY Project, Trinidad & Tobago’s Cascadoo Festival, Toronto Public Library, York University and the TDSB. This year, Motion joins the Hip Hop Curriculum Project in the newly published Rhymes to Re-Education (A Different Publisher).

Harold Lee Rush

Harold Lee Rush appeared in the first Black-produced dramatic TV series in the U.S., “Bird of the Iron Feather” on Chicago’s Public Television Station WTTW. During this time, he also performed with various Black theatre organizations in a variety of roles.

In 1982, Harold’s broadcasting talents were discovered at Chicago’s WGCI radio as the producer and co-host of the powerhouse morning show, first with Bob Wall (as the only Black-White morning duo in a major market), then with Doug Banks, where Rush created the “Front Page” segment, which has been copied in morning shows across the country. In the decade at the Gannett-owned company, Rush hosted broadcasts all over the U.S. and around the world, including London, Senegal, Jamaica and the Bahamas, becoming one of the most well-known media personalities in Chicago.

Rush has also authored internationally award winning poetry and is much in demand as a Spoken Word artist. 2005 brought Rush to WKKC FM, the official radio station of the City Colleges of Chicago as a Broadcaster and Instructor for students in the Media Communications Programs.

You can hear “Live with Harold Lee Rush” Tuesdays & Fridays 10AM – 2PM CT on 893FM WKKC and www.WKKC.FM.



Codey Young

Codey Young is a graduate of Ursinus College, class of 2014. He was recently selected as a 2014-15 Watson Fellow by the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, for a year of international travel to pursue an independent creative project on art, activism, and Black masculinity in the African Diaspora while also performing his poetry. Codey has also launched a website, the Black M.A.R.S. Project, to highlight the work of Black male artists throughout the Diaspora. He has been writing poetry since the age of 12 and performed his work throughout college, at Ted Perkiomen Valley High School, as well as One World Poetry in Berlin, Germany.

Javier Perez

Javier Perez is a poet, performer, and teacher. Born in the U.S., his family immigrated from El Salvador during a violent civil war. Growing as a “Latino” in a predominantly immigrant neighborhood in America, Javier always came face-to-face with questions surrounding identity, masculinity, class, and heritage. 

As a first generation university student, he studied political science, while quickly developing a passion for spoken-word poetry on the side. With some friends, he started Swarthmore College’s first spoken-word collective, OASIS (Our Art Spoken In Soul), and competed at local and national poetry slam competitions. After graduating, he was awarded the Thomas J Watson Fellowship to travel internationally for a year in pursuit of an independent project: an exploration of how poetry can empower, heal, and give voice to criminalized youths in light of the massive growth of prison systems worldwide. After traveling to South Africa, Australia, Guatemala, Jamaica, and Brazil, Javier concluded two main things: crime and incarceration are global phenomena intimately linked to histories of colonialism, racial violence, and inequality; and poetry provides a transformative space for communities to challenge, reimagine, and change the status quo. He now lives and works in Cape Town as a resident poet for Usiko Trust, facilitating poetry workshops alongside youths from the townships to create a space for exploring their voices and (re)writing their narratives. Javier is very keen to foster stronger connections and dialogue between communities in Latin America and Africa that share common roots, histories, and struggles.

DéLana Dameron

DéLana R. A. Dameron holds a B.A. in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has a strong interest in the intersections of history and literature. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, PMS: PoemMemoirStory, 42opus, storySouth, Pembroke Magazine, and Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. She has received fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation and Soul Mountain and is a member of the Carolina African American Writers Collective. Dameron, a native of Columbia, South Carolina, currently resides in New York City.

M. Ayodele Heath

An Atlanta native, M. Ayodele Heath is a top-10 finisher at the National Poetry Slam. A graduate of the MFA program at New England College, his honors include: a McEver Visiting Chair in Writing at Georgia Tech, an Emerging Artist grant from the Atlanta Bureau for Cultural Affairs, and a fellowship to the Caversham Center for Artists in South Africa.

Ayodele has been a featured performer at such venues as the National Black Arts Festival, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and the TurnerSouth ‘My South Speaks’ television campaign, as well as universities and festivals across America. His first book, Otherness, is available from Brick Road Poetry Press.

Amira Ali

Amira is a creative artist, poet, writer and educator, born in Ethiopia, based in the U.S.

She focuses on using creative mediums as a narrative tool, with a particular interest in alternative narratives of the global south: “owning and telling our ‘own’ stories while advocating for viewing ourselves through our own lenses, recognizing that stories are born with a right to be told”. Her creative artistry deals with promoting the African cultural aesthetics, documenting narratives of journey -stories we live in. While producing and curating these stories, she hopes to assess social issues, explore the beauty of arts, culture, and wisdom of the global south, in connection to the world.

She is a regular contributor to Pambazuka News and chief writer, as well as editorial team member at She is currently at work on, in collaboration with a South African poet and Kenyan writer, producing Podcast stories (Afro’pick and coffee) that accentuates the everyday stories of the African disaporans, residing in America.

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar was the first African-American poet to garner national critical acclaim. Born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1872, Dunbar penned a large body of dialect poems, standard English poems, essays, novels and short stories before he died at the age of 33. His work often addressed the difficulties encountered by members of his race and the efforts of African-Americans to achieve equality in America. He was praised both by the prominent literary critics of his time and his literary contemporaries.

Dunbar was born on June 27, 1872, to Matilda and Joshua Dunbar, both natives of Kentucky. His mother was a former slave and his father had escaped from slavery and served in the 55th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment and the 5th Massachusetts Colored Cavalry Regiment during the Civil War. Matilda and Joshua had two children before separating in 1874. Matilda also had two children from a previous marriage.

The family was poor, and after Joshua left, Matilda supported her children by working in Dayton as a washerwoman. One of the families she worked for was the family of Orville and Wilbur Wright, with whom her son attended Dayton’s Central High School. Though the Dunbar family had little material wealth, Matilda, always a great support to Dunbar as his literary stature grew, taught her children a love of songs and storytelling. Having heard poems read by the family she worked for when she was a slave, Matilda loved poetry and encouraged her children to read. Dunbar was inspired by his mother, and he began reciting and writing poetry as early as age 6.

Dunbar was the only African-American in his class at Dayton Central High, and while he often had difficulty finding employment because of his race, he rose to great heights in school. He was a member of the debating society, editor of the school paper and president of the school’s literary society. He also wrote for Dayton community newspapers. He worked as an elevator operator in Dayton’s Callahan Building until he established himself locally and nationally as a writer. He published an African-American newsletter in Dayton, the Dayton Tattler, with help from the Wright brothers.

His first public reading was on his birthday in 1892. A former teacher arranged for him to give the welcoming address to the Western Association of Writers when the organization met in Dayton. James Newton Matthews became a friend of Dunbar’s and wrote to an Illinois paper praising Dunbar’s work. The letter was reprinted in several papers across the country, and the accolade drew regional attention to Dunbar; James Whitcomb Riley, a poet whose works were written almost entirely in dialect, read Matthew’s letter and acquainted himself with Dunbar’s work. With literary figures beginning to take notice, Dunbar decided to publish a book of poems. Oak and Ivy, his first collection, was published in 1892.

Though his book was received well locally, Dunbar still had to work as an elevator operator to help pay off his debt to his publisher. He sold his book for a dollar to people who rode the elevator. As more people came in contact with his work, however, his reputation spread. In 1893, he was invited to recite at the World’s Fair, where he met Frederick Douglass, the renowned abolitionist who rose from slavery to political and literary prominence in America. Douglass called Dunbar “the most promising young colored man in America.”

Dunbar moved to Toledo, Ohio, in 1895, with help from attorney Charles A. Thatcher and psychiatrist Henry A. Tobey. Both were fans of Dunbar’s work, and they arranged for him to recite his poems at local libraries and literary gatherings. Tobey and Thatcher also funded the publication of Dunbar’s second book, Majors and Minors.

It was Dunbar’s second book that propelled him to national fame. William Dean Howells, a novelist and widely respected literary critic who edited Harper’s Weekly, praised Dunbar’s book in one of his weekly columns and launched Dunbar’s name into the most respected literary circles across the country. A New York publishing firm, Dodd Mead and Co., combined Dunbar’s first two books and published them as Lyrics of a Lowly Life. The book included an introduction written by Howells. In 1897, Dunbar traveled to England to recite his works on the London literary circuit. His national fame had spilled across the Atlantic.

After returning from England, Dunbar married Alice Ruth Moore, a young writer, teacher and proponent of racial and gender equality who had a master’s degree from Cornell University. Dunbar took a job at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. He found the work tiresome, however, and it is believed the library’s dust contributed to his worsening case of tuberculosis. He worked there for only a year before quitting to write and recite full time.

In 1902, Dunbar and his wife separated. Depression stemming from the end of his marriage and declining health drove him to a dependence on alcohol, which further damaged his health. He continued to write, however. He ultimately produced 12 books of poetry, four books of short stories, a play and five novels. His work appeared in Harper’s Weekly, the Sunday Evening Post, the Denver Post, Current Literature and a number of other magazines and journals. He traveled to Colorado and visited his half-brother in Chicago before returning to his mother in Dayton in 1904. He died there on Feb. 9, 1906.

Bassey Ikpi

Bassey Ikpi is a Nigerian born poet/writer who was a featured cast member of the National Touring Company of the Tony Award winning Broadway show, Russell Simmon’s Def Poetry Jam. Not a stranger to the stage, her poetry has also opened shows by Grammy Award winning artists. Recently, Bassey appeared on the NAACP Image Awards as part of a tribute to Venus and Serena Williams and was a featured performer for Johannesburg, South Africa’s annual arts festival, Joburg Arts Alive. Bassey has been seen gracing the pages of magazines such as Nylon, Marie Claire, Glamour and Bust.

With social commentary being a focus of her work, Bassey recorded an original poem for the Kaiser Foundation’s, HIV/AIDS campaign, Knowing Is Beautiful. Bassey’s personal and heartfelt work has made her a much sought after performer. She is currently working on various screenplays as well as freelance writing for social media outlets. Her first completed collection of poetry and prose entitled, Blame My Teflon Heart: Poetry, Prose and Post-Its For Boys Who Didn’t Write Back will be released soon. In addition to her writing, this summer Bassey is also embarking on a 5 city tour, appropriately called “Basseyworld Live”, where each show will infuse poetry and interactive panel discussions on everything from politics to pop culture. Not only will she headline each show, but will also moderate the panel discussions, which will include special invited guests from various industries such as art, film and journalism.

Mwalim Morgan Peters

Mwalim (Morgan James Peters) is a Black Wampanoag performing artist, writer, educator and filmmaker. Born in the Bronx, NY and raised in both the Bronx and Mashpee, MA, Mwalim was immersed in the oral traditions of both his Bajan (Barbados) mother and Mashpee Wampanoag father.

Emerging on the east-coast spoken-word scene in the early 1990’s as a storyteller, performance poet and theater artist, Mwalim’s work is known throughout the USA, Canada, the UK and the Caribbean. A contributor to numerous edited volumes and periodicals, Mwalim is the author of one short fiction collection, A Mixed Medicine Bag (2007, Talking Drum Press) and over 25 plays, and several sound recordings. His latest CD, The Liberation Sessions features collaborations with a host of A-List artists. He is a tenured Associate Professor of English and African/ African American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie

Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie is a writer, educator, and performer. She has been a featured speaker at universities, festivals and events throughout Europe and North America. She is the Poetry Editor of the literary magazine African Voices.

Her work  deals with silence, sexism and racism and it has been published in Crab Orchard Review, BOMB, Paris/AtlanticGo, Tell Michelle (SUNY), Listen Up! (One World Ballantine) and Revenge and Forgiveness (Henry Holt). Tallie’s work has been the subject of a short film “I Leave My Colors Everywhere.” Her first collection of poetry, Karma’s Footsteps, was released by Flipped Eye Publishing in September of 2011. She is the recipient of a 2010 Queens Council on the Arts grant for her research on herbalists of the African Diaspora. She has taught literature and composition  at York College and Medgar Evers College in New York City.

Mahogany L. Browne

The Cave Canem Fellow is the author of several books including Swag & Dear Twitter: Love Letters Hashed Out On-line, recommended by Small Press Distribution & listed as Best Poetry Books of 2010.

She has released five LPs including the live album Sheroshima. As co-founder of the Off Broadway poetry production, Jam On It, and co-producer of NYC’s 1st Performance Poetry Festival: SoundBites Poetry Festival, Mahogany bridges the gap between lyrical poets and literary emcee.Browne has toured Germany, Amsterdam, England, Canada and recently Australia as 1/3 of the cultural arts exchange project Global Poetics.

Her journalism work has been published in magazines Uptown, KING, XXL, The Source, Canada’s The Word and UK’s MOBO. Her poetry has been published in literary journals Pluck, Literary Bohemian, Bestiary Brown Girl Love and Up The Staircase. She is an Urban Word NYC mentor, as seen on HBO’s Brave New Voices and facilitates performance poetry and writing workshops throughout the country.

She is the publisher of Penmanship Books, a small press for performance artists and owns PoetCD.Com, an on-line marketing and distribution company for poets. Mahogany is currently host and curator of the Friday Night Slam at the famous Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

Ngoma Hill

Ngoma is a performance poet, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter and paradigm shifter, residing in Harlem, New York. For over 40 years, he has used culture as a tool to raise sociopolitical and spiritual consciousness through work that encourages critical thought.

His poetry has been widely published including in African Voices Magazine, Long Shot Anthology, The Underwood Review, Signifyin’ Harlem Review, Bum Rush The Page/Def Poetry Jam Anthology and Poems On The Road To Peace (Volumes 1,2&3) Yale Press. He was featured in the PBS Spoken Word Documentary, The Apro-Poets with Allen Ginsberg.

Ngoma has also hosted the slam at the Dr. Martin Luther King Festival of Social and Environmental Justice Festival (Yale University-New Haven, CT) for the past 14 years. His CD Reflections (1964-2006) pays tribute to some of the activist and cultural workers whose shining example served as a beacon for his work as an artist.

His latest C.D. State of Emergency (The Essential Ngoma) is available on and

Omekongo wa Dibinga

Omekongo wa Dibinga was born to Congolese parents in Cambridge Massachusetts. His first CD, A Young Black Man’s Anthem, won the 2003 Cambridge Poetry Award for “Best CD.” His first book of poems, From the Limbs of my Poetree, was published in 2004 through Free Your Mind Publishing, which Omekongo founded in early 2004. Other CD’s include Reality Show, which is Omekongo’s first hybrid spoken word and hip-hop CD. Omekongo has been published in Essence Magazine, Sister 2 Sister, and several other publications.

A dedicated educator and community activist for over 20 years, Omekongo plans to continue focusing on improving cultural understanding and growing greatness among all of humanity’s children, because, as Omekongo believes: “We are only as humane as our most inhumane soul.”

Octavia McBride-Ahebee

Octavia’s work has appeared in many journals and anthologies including Damazine; A Literary Journal of the Muslim World, Fingernails Across The Chalkboard: Poetry And Prose on HIV/AIDS From the Black Diaspora, Under Our Skin: Literature of Breast Cancer, Sea Breeze- A Journal of Contemporary Liberian Writing, The Journal of the National Medical Association, Art in Medicine Section and the Beloit Poetry Journal. Assuming Voices, a poetry collection, was published in 2003 by Lit Pot Press. Her newest collection of poetry, Where My Birthmark Dances, was published in 2011 by Finishing Line Press.

Julian Curry

Julian Curry started writing poetry in 1999. Besides receiving the 2003 crown at the Nuyorican, he was also the 2003 Bowery Poetry Club Co-Grand Slam Champion. His poetry is a glimpse into the inner city, Wall Street, family, and a regular guy’s everyday life.

Originally from the Bahamas, Julian now calls Harlem his home. He has been featured in Forbes Magazine & on BET’s Lyric Cafe. He was also featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam.

Jon Goode

Jon Goode is an Emmy nominated writer raised in from Richmond, VA and currently residing in Atlanta, GA. Jon’s work has been featured in CNN’s Black in America, HBO’s Def Poetry, BET’s Lyric Café and TVOne’s Verses and Flow. Jon has also written radio commercials for McDonalds, print ads for Nike, and appeared in commercials, vignettes and interstitials for Chick-Fil-A and TVLand/ Nick @ Nite. In 2006 Jon’s work with Nick @ Nite earned him an Emmy nomination alongside the 2006 Promax Gold award for best copyright North America.

Cornelius Eady

Cornelius Eady was born in 1954 in Rochester, New York. He is the author of seven books of poetry. the most recent being the critically acclaimed Hardheaded Weather (Penguin, 2008), which has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award. His other titles are: Kartunes, (Warthog Press, 1980); Victims of the Latest Dance Craze, (Ommation Press, 1986), winner of the 1985 Lamont Prize from the Academy of American Poets; The Gathering of My Name, (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1991), nominated for the 1992 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry; You Don’t Miss Your Water, (Henry Holt and Co., 1995); The Autobiography of a Jukebox (Carnegie-Mellon University Press, 1997); and Brutal Imagination (Putnam, 2001). His work appears in many journals; magazines; and the anthologies Every Shut Eye Ain’t Asleep, In Search of Color Everywhere, and The Vintage Anthology of African American Poetry, (1750-2000) ed. Michael S. Harper.

With poet Toi Derricote, Eady is co-founder of Cave Canem, a national organization for African American poetry and poets. He is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Literature (1985); a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry, (1993); a Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Traveling Scholarship to Tougaloo College in Mississippi (1992-1993); a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship to Bellagio, Italy, (1993); and The Prairie Schooner Strousse Award (1994).

Camille T. Dungy

Camille T. Dungy is author of Suck on the Marrow (Red Hen Press, 2010) and What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison (Red Hen Press, 2006), a finalist for the PEN Center USA 2007 Literary Award and the Library of Virginia 2007 Literary Award.

She is editor of Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (University of Georgia Press, 2009), coeditor of From the Fishouse: An Anthology of Poems that Sing, Rhyme, Resound, Syncopate, Alliterate, and Just Plain Sound Great (Persea, 2009) and assistant editor of Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade (University of Michigan Press, 2006).

Dungy has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Cave Canem, the Dana Award, the American Antiquarian Society, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Once the Writer-in-Residence at Rocky Mountain National Park, Dungy has also been awarded fellowships and residencies by The Corporation of Yaddo, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Norton Island/Eastern Frontier Society, and the Ragdale Foundation.

A graduate of Stanford University and the University of North Carolina, Greensboro’s MFA Program, Dungy is currently Associate Professor in the Creative Writing Department at San Francisco State University. Her poems have been published widely in anthologies and print and online journals.

Herbert Woodward Martin

Herbert Woodward Martin, born in 1933, served as professor of English and poet-in-residence at the University of Dayton in Ohio, United States of America, for more than three decades where he taught creative writing and African-American literature. He is the author of nine volumes of poetry and has devoted decades to editing and giving performances of the works of the poet and novelist Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906).

Martin’s publications include:

  • New York The Nine Million, Abracadabra Press, 1967
  • The Shit-Storm Poems , Pilot Press, 1972
  • The Persistence of The Flesh, Lotus Press, 1976
  • The Forms of Silence, Lotus Press, 1980
  • Galileo’s Suns, Bottom Dog Press, 1999
  • The Log of The Vigilante, Mellen Press, 2000
  • Escape To The Promised Land, Bottom Dog Press, 2005
  • Inscribing My Name, Kent State University Press, 2007
  • On the Flyleaf: Poems, Bottom Dog Press, 2013


  • Paul Laurence Dunbar: A Singer of Songs, State Library of Ohio, 1980
  • In His Own Voice: The Uncollected Works of Paul Laurence Dunbar, Ohio University Press, 2002
  • Paul Laurence Dunbar: Selected Poems, Penguin Press, 2004
  • The Collected Novels of Paul Laurence Dunbar, Ohio University Press, 2009

Hakim Bellamy

As the inaugural Poet Laureate of Albuquerque, NM (2012-2014), Hakim Bellamy is a national and regional Poetry Slam Champion and holds three consecutive collegiate poetry slam titles at the University of New Mexico.

His poetry has been published in Albuquerque inner-city buses and various anthologies. Bellamy was recognized as an honorable mention for the University of New Mexico Paul Bartlett Re Peace Prize for his work as a community organizer and journalist and was recently bestowed the populist honor of “Best Poet” by Local iQ (“Smart List” 2010, 2011 & 2012) and Alibi (“Best of Burque” 2010, 2011 & 2012). He is the co-creator of the multimedia Hip Hop theater production Urban Verbs: Hip-Hop Conservatory & Theater that has been staged throughout the country. He facilitates youth writing workshops for schools and community organizations in New Mexico and beyond.

Hakim is currently finishing his MA in Communications and Journalism Department at the University of New Mexico. He is the proud father of a 4 year-old miracle and works as the Strategic Communication Director at Media Literacy Project.

Hakim’s journey as a poet has come full circle as of late, wearing the hat of musician. A product of the Hip Hop generation and influenced by his parents extensive wax collection (which included the likes of Janis Joplin, Sly and The Family Stone, Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles, The Grateful Dead, Gil Scott Heron, The Temptations, Teddy Pendergrass & The Last Poets), Bellamy is equal parts musical artist, archivist and archeologist. He digs music. Piano lessons, recitals and many years singing in the church choir prepared him for the funk-infused, experimental yet melodic brand of Hip Hop that he produces today with creative partner Colin “Diles” Hazelbaker. He’s shared the musical stage with Zion-I, The Wailers, The Last Poets, Amiri Baraka, Cecil Taylor & Blacklisted Individuals.

As an actor, Hakim has grown his talent on both the screen and the stage. He made a cameo in the independent film Romeo & Juliet Vs. The Living Dead (2009) and has made multiple appearances in local commercials (Television and Radio). He has done voice work for television and radio, worked for two years as a radio journalist at KUNM 89.9FM in Albuquerque, NM and has been cast as an extra in such films/tv shows as Gamer (2009), Swing Vote (2009) & Crash the Television Series, Season II (2010). On the stage Hakim was cast in a major role in the 2009 Albuquerque production of The Exonerated, produced by In the summer of 2011, Hakim secured a major role as the Friar in the Vortex Theater’s Summer Shakespeare Festival production of Romeo & Juliet for a 14 show run. He has since co-written and starred in Urban Verbs: Hip Hop Conservatory & Theater with his creative partner Carlos Contreras.

Anis Mojgani

Anis Mojgani is a two time National Poetry Slam Champion and winner of the International World Cup Poetry Slam. A TEDx Speaker and former resident of the Oregon Literary Arts Writers-In-The-Schools program, Anis has performed at numerous universities, festivals, and venues around the globe and has performed for audiences as varied as the House of Blues and the United Nations. His work has appeared on HBO, NPR, and in the pages of such journals as Rattle, Forklift Ohio, Used Furniture Review, and Thrush.

A founding member of the touring Poetry Revival, Anis is also the author of three poetry collections, all published by Write Bloody Publishing: Songs From Under the River (2013)The Feather Room (2011), and Over the Anvil We Stretch (2008). A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, he still tries to make tiny spaces for visual art, doing the covers for his own books, and occasionally providing work for others, be it illustrations, the random poster, or whatever else may spark up. Originally from New Orleans, Anis currently lives in Austin TX in a little house with his wife and their dog, Trudy.

Amir Sulaiman

Amir Sulaiman is an accomplished poet, activist, recording artist and a 2 time HBO Def Poet. Host and performer for national Breed Love Odyssey Tour with Mos Def and Talib Kweli and special guest on KRS-ONES Hip Hop Lives Tour there is a steady but ever increasing buzz building around Amir quickly gaining the attention of everyone from Kanye West and Russell Simmons (who referred to Amir as “blessed”), to Dave Chapelle. In addition, organizations such as the ACLU, Amnesty International and Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition have used Amir’s poetry and voice to bring life to multiple campaigns dealing with social justice and art.

His growing popularity garnered him a record deal with UPRISING Records, the label that delivered the hugely successful multi-platinum band, Fall Out Boy. His national debut album, Like a Thief in the Night, has been released nation wide to critical acclaim. The album fuses disparate genres with impassioned narratives of tragedy, redemption, and revolution. Boasting guest appearances from Mos Def, Goapele, and The Last Poets, Like A Thief in The Night has created a soundscape that could easily serve as the score for a classic Martin Scorcese film. In a nutshell, this ground-breaking album signals a desired change bringing about a level of consciousness sorely needed in today’s music industry and society in general.
Amir has been performing at countless colleges, universities, high schools and community centers. As a member of Youth Speaks in the Bay Area California, Amir works regularly teaching kids by way of spoken word and focusing on the union of art and education.

Consistently working across the United States and Canada, Amir has shared the stage with artists such as Kanye West, Lauryn Hill, Common , Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Pharoah Monch, Floetry, Black Thought of The Roots, Goapele, Stevie Wonder, The Last Poets, Dead Prez, Ghostface of Wu-Tang Clan, MOP, and more.

Patricia Smith

Patricia Smith is the author of five books of poetry, including Blood Dazzler, a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award, and Teahouse of the Almighty, a National Poetry Series selection.

Her work has appeared in many literary journals, including Poetry, The Paris Review, TriQuarterly, and she has received a Pushcart Prize.

Smith is a professor at the City University of New York/College of Staten Island, and is on the faculty of both Cave Canem and the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine.

Roger Bonair-Agard

Roger Bonair-Agard is a native of Trinidad and Tobago, a Cave Canem fellow and author of two collections of poetry, tarnish & masquerade (Cypher Books, 2006) and GULLY (Cypher Books, Peepal Tree Press, 2010).

He is co-author of a third collection, Burning Down the House (Soft Skull Press, 2000). An MFA candidate at the University of Southern Maine Stonecoast program, Roger is also a 2-time National Poetry Slam Champion and the co-founder and Artistic Director of the louderARTS Project. He is poet-in-residence at Young Chicago Authors and teaches at the Cook County Juvenile detention Center. He lives mostly in Chicago.

Scott Woods

Scott Woods has published work in a variety of publications, and has been featured multiple times in national press, including multiple appearances on National Public Radio.

He was the President of Poetry Slam Inc. and MCs the Writers’ Block Poetry Night, an open mic series in Columbus, Ohio. In April of 2006 he became the first poet to ever complete a 24-hour solo poetry reading, a feat he has bested every year since by performing without repeating a single poem. His first full-length collection of work is We Over here Now.

The Mighty Third Rail

The Mighty Third Rail, aside from being a clever riff on that special rail on the train tracks that will shock the ish out of you, and aside from being a metaphor in politics to avoid controversial issues, is also a three man trio that mixes the elements of Hip Hop, poetry, beat-boxing, violin and bass. From poetry cafes to colleges to concert halls, whether it’s jamming at the legendary Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Joe’s Pub, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, or performing at the prestigious Lincoln Center , The Mighty Third Rail undoubtedly delivers.

Featuring the dashing Darian Dauchan on vocals, the indelible Ian Baggette on bass, and the courteous Curtis Stewart on violin. With daring vocals, booming basslines and a vivacious violin, this bold, urban collective creates politically challenging works that push the boundaries of Jazz and Hip Hop to define the next generation’s voice.

Tracy K Smith

Tracy K. Smith (born April 16, 1972) is an African-American poet and educator. She has published three collections of poetry. She won the Pulitzer Prize for a 2011 collection, Life on Mars.About this collection, Joel Brouwer wrote in 2011: “Smith shows herself to be a poet of extraordinary range and ambition. … As all the best poetry does, Life on Mars first sends us out into the magnificent chill of the imagination and then returns us to ourselves, both changed and consoled.”

Smith is a native of Falmouth, Massachusetts.She was raised in northern California in a family with “deep roots” in Alabama. She received her B.A. from Harvard University in 1994, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Columbia University in 1997. From 1997 to 1999 she was a Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University. She has taught at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York, the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia University. In 2005 she joined the faculty of Princeton University, where she is professor of creative writing.


New York spoken word artist and performance poet, Tantra-Zawadi’s rousing poetry has established her as a force in the genre. Her work has been extensively published and televised and her numerous stage performances include the iconic Nuyorican Poets’. For Tantra-Zawadi poetry is “breathing, walking, doing, loving and awakening – limitless in its ability to reach across genres and varying walks of life”.

T.J. Anderson

T.J. Anderson III is an associate professor of English at Hollins University and was former Fulbright Scholar in Cairo, Egypt. His poetry has been published in the Sarasota Review of Poetry, Sulfur, lift, Callaloo, and Indiana Review.  He is the author of At Last Round Up (lift books, 1996) and  River to Cross (The Backwaters Press, 2009) and a critical book on jazz poetry Notes to Make the Sound Come Right: Four Innovators of Jazz Poetry was published in 2004 by University of Arkansas Press.

Uche Nduka

Poet, photographer, essayist, Uche Nduka considers the making of poetry the pivotal drive of his life. He attempts to encompass the world physically and spiritually in each poem he writes and in his words “these poems are questions, celebrations, refusals and prayers that hopefully will move from my being to other hearts”. He has several published anthologies and has travelled widely across the USA, Europe and Africa lecturing and presenting his poetry.