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Verbal Blend Honors Endsley with 2019 Poetic Icon Award
Verbal Blend will honor Crystal Leigh Endsley, Ph.D. with the Poetic Icon Award as part of the Sixth Annual Spoken Word Poetry Institute, held Friday, Oct. 25 through Saturday, Oct. 26. Verbal Blend is recognizing Endsley for her contributions to the art of spoken word poetry and her long-standing commitment as an artist, activist and academic.
Endsley is an internationally renowned spoken word artist and assistant professor of Africana studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, where she was also honored with the 2016 Distinguished Teaching Award. Her co-authored book entitled “Open Mic Night: College Programming that Champions Student Voice” (Stylus Publishing, LCC, 2017) was awarded a 2018 Outstanding Book Award by Division B from the American Educational Research Association and her first book, “The Fifth Element: Social Justice Pedagogy Through Spoken Word Poetry,” explores spoken word poetry as a tool for social justice, critical feminist pedagogy and new ways of teaching and learning. With a global reach, Endsley’s spoken word poetry performances, workshops and curriculum development have taken her around the world, including Tanzania where her most recent scholarship-activism has focused on how spoken word poetry and performance can connect girls to each other globally.
The Spoken Word Poetry Institute consists of a panel and live performances from members of the campus community and guest poets on Friday, Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. in Bird Library, suite 550, and a writing workshop on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 11 a.m. in Bird Library, suite 548. This year’s guest poets and workshop leaders are Endsley, DaMaris B. Hill, Ph.D. and Imani J. Wallace ’16.
“Having the opportunity to engage and interact with professional spoken word poets helps students learn firsthand how they can give voice to social issues through spoken-word poetry and contribute to greater society,” says Cedric T. Bolton, coordinator of student engagement in the Office of Multicultural Affairs. “Through the Spoken Word Poetry Institute and the incredible poets we bring to campus like Crystal, Imani and DaMaris, our community sees how scholarship and arts intersect and have no boundaries. We hope that through the weekend’s activities, student performers will stretch their imagination and create a new world through dramatic wordplay.”
Hill is an associate professor of creative writing, English and African American studies at the University of Kentucky. She is the author of her memoir in verse “A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing” (Bloomsbury, 2019), “The Fluid Boundaries of Suffrage and Jim Crow: Staking Claims in the American Heartland” and “\Vi-zə-bəl\ \Teks-chərs\(Visible Textures).”
A Syracuse University graduate and Bronx native, Wallace is the co-founder of a young-adult open mic and showcase in Harlem known as The Bomb Shelter. Since the age of 12, Wallace has been writing and performing, taking her to stages across the world. She was also named the Syracuse University 2015 Poet of the Year.
For more information or to register for the workshop, contact Bolton.
About Verbal Blend
Verbal Blend, Syracuse University’s premier spoken word poetry program, is designed to enhance students’ confidence in writing and performing original poems. Coordinated by the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Verbal Blend members participate in a writer’s workshop series, performances and peer reviews.