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University of Oregon

A Campus Visit with the BreakBeat Poets

Oct 7, 2015

The BreakBeat Poets

Wednesday, October 7, 2015 at 7:00pm in the EMU Ballroom: The BreakBeat Poets, featuring Kevin Coval, Jamila Woods, and Fatimah Asghar with a performance by the UO Poetry Slam Team. This event is free and open to the public.

The English Undergraduate Organization (EUO), inspired by the new anthology, The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (edited by Kevin Coval, Quraysh Ali Lansana, and Nate Marshall) and the diversity of voices it includes, has invited The BreakBeat Poets to campus to conduct workshops open to University of Oregon undergraduates and give a performance on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 (week two of fall term). The Alpha Tau Phi Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, International English Honor Society, will hold a reading group to discuss selections from the anthology on Thursday, October 1 from 4:00-6:00pm in PLC 108 (Booth Lounge). Stop by for the conversation whether or not you’ve read the book.

Wednesday, October 7 workshops are open to all University of Oregon undergraduates:

  • Workshop I: 11:00am-11:50am, EMU Maple Room;
  • Workshop II: 1:00pm-1:50pm, EMU Maple Room.

Tickets to the workshops will be available on Thursday, October 1 in 118 PLC and will be distributed on a first-come-first-served basis. You must show your UO student ID.

Kevin Coval proclaims in the anthology’s introduction that “This is the story of how generations of young people reared on hip-hop culture and aesthetics took to the page and poem and microphone to create a movement in american letters in the tradition of the Black Arts, Nuyorican, and Beat generations and add to it and innovate on top. We are in the Tradition—and making one up. Hip-hop saves young people from voicelessness and art-less public educations” (xv).

Watch the book trailer.

Watch the trailer for the award-winning documentary, Louder Than A Bomb.

KevinhighresphotoKevin Coval is the poet, author and organizer the Chicago Tribune called “the voice of the new Chicago” and the Boston Globe says is “the city’s unofficial poet laureate”. Author of Schtick, L-vis Lives!: Racemusic Poems, Everyday People, Slingshots: A Hip-Hop Poetica, and More Shit Chief Keef Don’t Like. Coval is the founder of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival, the world’s largest youth poetry festival, which has expanded nationally & internationally to other cities since 2010 when the documentary film by the same name premiered in film festivals around the world. Coval is the Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors, LTAB’s non-profit home, and teaches hip-hop aesthetics at The University of Illinois-Chicago. He is a 4x HBO Def Poet and has written for CNN.com, The Chicago Tribune, The Huffington Post, National Public Radio in Chicago, The Spoken Word Revolution: Redux (Source), Handbook of Public Pedagogy (Routledge) 101 Changemakers: Rebels and Radicals Who Changed U.S. History(Haymarket) & It Was Written: Reading Nas’s Illmatic, ed. by Michael Eric Dyson (Basic). Coval is the recent recipient of a New Voices/New Visions award from the Kennedy Center for a play he co-authored with Idris Goodwin about graffiti writers titled, This is Modern Art – which premeried at Steppenwolf Theater in the winter of 2015. His latest projects include The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop, released in April 2015 on Haymarket Books and organizing the 16-year anniversary of Louder Than a Bomb. stay up with him @kevincoval on the internets.

Jamila photo by JJPoet and vocalist Jamila Woods was raised in Chicago, IL and graduated from Brown University, where she earned a BA in Africana Studies and Theatre & Performance Studies. Influenced by Lucille Clifton and Gwendolyn Brooks, much of her writing explores blackness, womanhood & the city of Chicago. Her first chapbook, The Truth About Dolls (2012), was inspired by a Toni Morisson quote & features a Pushcart-nominated poem about Frida Kahlo. Her poetry is included in the anthologies The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop(2015), Courage: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls (2014), and The UnCommon Core: Contemporary Poems for Learning & Living (2013).

Jamila is also a vocalist & songwriter, focusing primarily on soul/hip-hop centered music. Her musical lineage includes Erykah Badu, Imogen Heap, Kirk Franklin, and Kendrick Lamar. Raised in her church choir, Jamila’s musical aesthetic involves choral layering in addition to the hip-hop tradition of sampling & allusions. Her work with her band, M&O (fka Milo & Otis) has been featured by Okayplayer, Spin, JET and Ebony Magazine.

Jamila is currently the Associate Artistic Director of non-profit youth organizationYoung Chicago Authors, where she helps organize Louder Than A Bomb (the largest poetry festival in the world), designs curriculum for Chicago Public Schools, and teaches poetry to young people throughout the city.

Fatimah Asghar is a nationally touring poet, photographer and performer. She created Bosnia and Herzegovina’s first Spoken Word Poetry group, REFLEKS, while on a Fulbright studying theater in post-violent contexts. She has performed on many stages, including the Dodge Poetry Festival, The Nantucket Project, and TedX. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in POETRY Magazine, The Paris-American, Drunken Boat, and Word Riot. She is a member of the Dark Noise Collective and is a Teaching Artist for Young Chicago Authors. Her chapbook Medusa, They Would Sing is forthcoming on Yes Yes Books fall of 2015.

“A Campus Visit with the BreakBeat Poets” is made possible through the generous sponsorship of the English Undergraduate Organization, the College Scholars Program, Associate Dean for the UO Department of English; English Undergraduate Organization; College Scholars Program; Karen J. Ford, Associate Dean for the Humanities, College of Arts and Sciences; Oregon Humanities Center; Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics; UO Cultural Forum; Lisa Freinkel, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies; Division of Equity and Inclusion; Ian McNeely, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education; Loren Kajikawa; Ed Wolf; and Corbett Upton, Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies, UO Department of English.