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Poetry pros

Brooklyn Daily

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill, neighborhood poe-jam.

On Mar. 9, the Brooklyn Academy of Music is hosting “Poetry 2012: Grand Slam,” a night of performances from the country’s most talented slam-poets, beat-boxers, and hip-hop artists in a multi-cultural, interdisciplinary extravaganza celebrating the art of the spoken word.

“It will be weird,” said poet Joshua Bennett, a Princeton grad student who is performing with the poetic ensemble Striver’s Row. “There will be polyphonic type stuff going on. Expect music — it is definitely not going to be all a cappella.”

Hosting the poetic performances will be the all-star duo of Hip-hop duo Baba Israel, a hip-hop emcee, poet, and beat boxer, who has been featured on MTV, VH1, and BET; and DJ Reborn, who’s performed in live collaborations with The Roots, Common, India Arie, Will Power, and John Legend.

“Grand Slam” is a part of Brooklyn Reads, an education program at BAM that teaches students to express themselves through poetry. The event was originally developed to showcase the work of the program’s budding poets, but according to BAM’s Education Manager, John Foster, the general public caught wind of the poetry reading, and there was enough demand to justify calling in the poetry pros.

“We scout for the best poets nationally and internationally,” said Foster. “When choosing the artists to be involved, we look for poets who have a strong message to share with the students.”

The performers hope their audience will walk away with a new appreciation for, and a deeper understanding of, the craft.

“Some people think that slam poetry is all about guys banging on bongos and people screaming about oppression,” said Bennett. “My favorite stuff is a mix of improve theater, stand up comedy, and storytelling. These spoken word performers are some of the most talented cats out there.”

BAM Harvey Theater [651 Fulton St. between Rockwell and Ashland places in Fort Greene, (718) 636-4100] Mar. 9, 7:30 pm. $10, for info, visit

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at or by calling (718) 260-4514.

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