Spoken-Word Artists Bring Poetry to Life

January 15, 2013

From Jan. 2 – 9, 2013, Punahou was buzzing with poetry, from the Omidyar K – 1 Neighborhood to Academy English classrooms. Spoken-word poets Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye spent a week sharing their art with students and faculty, making poetry in classrooms, and answering questions about life as poets. As co-directors of Project V.O.I.C.E (Vocal Outreach into Creative Expression), these young artists from New York and California perform, teach workshops and encourage others to experiment with poetry and the spoken-word genre.

Watch the video to learn more about how the duo inspired and engaged students, and about how they were inspired in turn!

At presentations for a variety of audiences that included students, faculty, staff and the general public, Kay and Kaye shared poems that ranged over topics from love letters to family members to a spoken-word duet that celebrates their friendship. Humor, freshness and moments of sudden depth characterized their impeccable performances. Following their poems, Kay and Kaye answered questions about the nature of crafting poetry and finding one’s voice.

In Junior School and Academy classrooms, they worked like a tag-team, urging students to explore likes and dislikes, and to write down how these things look, sound, taste, smell and feel. "Piece these observations together into a constellation that make a poem," said Kaye. Throughout their workshops, Kay and Kaye urged students to listen to what their classmates were saying and “steal” any phrases or images that they liked. For students and teachers, it was a reminder of how much fun it can be to express thoughts and ideas. Anna ’16 appreciated the example that the poets provided: "If you are interested in making art, it’s inspiring to see people who have careers doing what they love."

Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye were hosted as part of Punahou’s Innovation Series, presented by the School’s Institute for Teaching, Learning and Instructional Innovation, in conjunction with Thurston Memorial Chapel and Luke Center for Public Service.

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