Speak up!

Mar 20, 2013, 00:57 IST | Ruchika Kher

American poet Sarah Kay, best known for her spoken word poetry, is in Mumbai on her first visit. She will share her expertise with children and talk about her initiative, VOICE

Spoken word poetry, a performance art, that is word-based and often includes collaboration and experimentation with other art forms such as music, theatre, and dance, has been a passion for New York-born Sarah Kay ever since she was 14.

(Left) Sarah Kay and co-founder of VOICE, Phil Kaye during a workshop

Now after 10 years, Kay has made a mark as a performance poet and has launched VOICE (Vocal Outreach Into Creative Expression) with fellow spoken word poet Phil Kaye. An international movement, it celebrates and inspires self-expression among youth through the art. The two are currently in the city to familiarise school kids with the same.

“This is the first time we’re visiting Mumbai. We promote spoken word poetry through our project VOICE that we conceived in 2004 and use as a way to entertain, educate and inspire,” says Kay.

Kids’ special

Kay and Kaye are taking workshops with the students of Oberoi International School to help them understand the art form. “The kids are a really wonderful and curious group of students, ready to engage, which was a great thing,” shares Kay, who has conducted workshops with her partner in different parts of the world and for varied age groups.

“We even hold performances for children with special needs and have also conducted workshops with children in juvenile detention centres in many cities,” informs the 24-year-old.

It’s all words

Even though she was often the youngest poet, Kay made herself at home at the Bowery Poetry Club, one of New York’s most famous Spoken Word venues, in no time. In 2006, she joined the Bowery Poetry Club’s Poetry Slam Team, NYC Urbana, and competed in the 2006 National Poetry Slam in Austin, Texas.

She has also performed internationally in the Czech Republic, the UK, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, France, Spain, Sweden, Australia, Mexico, and Singapore among other countries.

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