I Am Spoken Courage

The artist stands in a formal red and black gown against wall painted with graffiti that reads, "Speak."

Howard County Library System invites you to an exceptional series of four poetry slam workshops with Lady Brion this February and March. 

Slam poetry is a spoken-word form of poetry meant to be performed live, with topics that tend to be political and provocative. It has an energy to it that is mesmerizing, and slam poets strive to elicit cheers, laughs, or gasps from their audience. Slam poets evoke strong feelings and the power of everyday language and delivery with their enthusiasm and voice, versus more formal or academic poetry techniques. 

Poetry slams started in Chicago in 1984. The first slam competition originated to move poetry recitals from academia to a popular audience. American poet Marc Smith, finding the poetry scene at the time to be “too structured and stuffy,” began experimenting by attending open microphone poetry readings, then turning them into slams by introducing the element of competition. 

Lady Brion has said, “Poetry creates a unique opportunity to galvanize and unify people. It shows us the universality of the human experience by allowing us to see similarities more than differences as we share stories and frustrations…a poet and their work can reflect the audience in which it is being read before. That is affirming because as an audience member it means that we are seen, we are recognized, and we are not alone. Poetry can evoke the voices and the emotions of those society consistently silences and marginalizes and there is real power in that.” 

Lady Brion is an international spoken-word artist, poetry coach, activist, organizer, and educator, and  she has performed since the age of twelve across the world, including London, Ghana, Zanzibar and many US states. She is a recipient of the Open Society Institute Fellowship, centered around her project facilitating poetry workshops in prisons and group homes throughout Maryland. During her time as a competitor in slam competitions, Lady Brion became the 2016 National Poetry Slam Champion and the 2017 Southern Fried Regional Slam Champion. 

She received her B.A. in Communications from Howard University and her MFA in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts from the University of Baltimore.  

The University of Baltimore’s Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences calls Lady Brion, “bold, dedicated and inspirational,” fitting in perfectly with slam poetry’s power to trigger emotional responses from a live audience. “I will speak for those you forgot to listen to yelling blindside from jaded views. I am courage passed down. I am the dismantling of power structures on surround-sound.” To see and hear Lady Brion perform is to truly witness the power and beauty of slam poetry. 

Brion uses her poetry—focused on the Black struggle, gender equality and women’s empowerment, and religious themes—to merge the space between art and activism. 

The Anthem – February 16. Explore writing celebratory unapologetic anthems about themselves, especially in the midst of an oppressive society that rarely gives space for anyone to express their fullest and truest identity. REGISTER.

Picketed – March 9. Discuss the history of social movements and the way that radical demonstrations and protests can lead to change. This context will be used to have students create their own picket signs and craft a poem from it.  REGISTER. 

If these streets could talk – March 16. Explore a social justice issue that is important to them by personifying a space, place, or object connected to their chosen social ill. REGISTER. 

Open Mic – March 23. Participants are encouraged to share poems created in one of the previous workshops or any other work that they have created. Host Lady Brion performs some of her social justice-related works. REGISTER. 

For more detailed information on class sessions and to register, please visit here:  https://live-howardcounty.pantheonsite.io/events/lady-brion-anthem-poetry-slam-workshop-1 

To see Lady Brion perform click here: https://www.ladybrion.com/reels-1 and here: https://tinyurl.com/mphdpcc2 

Supported by Howard County Poetry and Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo).

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