Crossing Cultures in Verse: Kane Smego and Will McInerney, Spoken Word Artists
Study abroad and other international experiences transform us. But processing those experiences can leave us tongue tied, despite the magnitude of change within. This groundbreaking workshop solves this problem by inspiring, fostering and promoting artistic expression of your students’ powerful cross-cultural experiences through the use of the spoken and written word. Their YouTh ink workshop combines writing activities that help youth develop strong figurative language, storytelling techniques and imagery with performance that focuses on delivery, voice, inflection and articulation, body movement and gestures, eye contact, expression of emotion, rhythm and cadence and conventions of theater and public speaking. In addition to enhancing technical writing and performance skills, the YouTh ink workshop places a large emphasis on helping participants “find their voice” through a focus on exploring identity, understanding the historical context and power of the oral tradition, and using poetry as a tool – not only for cross-cultural interaction – but also for therapy and healing community engagement, conflict resolution, and non-violent resistance. The program is designed to be relatable and relevant to youth and adults across the spectrum of race, class, gender, ethnicity, culture, and sexual orientation.
This workshop is ideal for any of your students (or faculty/staff) who have crossed cultures and are looking for a way to process and express the experience – for example: re-entry for study abroad, international students pursuing a degree abroad or preparing to return home, multicultural teams, etc. It is designed for non-poets and can even be delivered to non-native English speakers! You do not have to be a lyrical wizard to participate, create and reflect on your international experience. (Please scroll down to request information on booking Kane and Will.)
” I thought this exercise was fantastic! I’ll be quite honest, I was somewhat skeptical since I have always intensely disliked poetry–reading, writing, listening (basically anything to do with it). But I was quite pleased and surprised to see how my work came out.” – Katie A., USA
“What better medium to talk about us – our lives, our faults, our aspirations, our losses, our deepest problems – than poets who can see to the bottom and depth of everything, and make it an experience at the same time? We are blessed to have such magic in our midst.” – Ellie Kinnaird, North Carolina State Senator, 23rd District ,
“Will and Kane’s workshop unlocked the special part of my right-brain that’s lain dormant for a number of years. How incredibly invigorating it was to see what I could produce artistically. Kane was very patient and encouraging and, not to mention, cool– I felt as if I was in a safe space and could connect with him, even on an online session.” – Danielle, USA
“I really enjoyed this workshop. To be honest, beforehand, I felt a bit neutral about it since I don’t consider myself a poet. But I was very happy with the results. Kane is very clear and encouraging at the same time. I felt it gives me another tool of self exploration, communication, and a way to express creativity while at the same time remembering and recording important moments. “ – Maria, Spain
“One of the best things I did all year as a language arts teacher was to invite the Sacrificial Poets to our school. The entire morning was inspirational. The students were so impressed by the amazing performances, saying afterwards that the Sacrificial Poets made them see poetry in a whole new light. They did a phenomenal job of structuring an engaging lesson on writing spoken word poetry; they emphasized the use of refrain and metaphor, making these poetic techniques relevant and appealing to my 8th graders. My students were so excited by what the Sacrificial Poets had them doing that many wanted to just keep writing all afternoon! I cannot recommend this wildly talented group of artist-teacher-performers enough! ” – Katie H, Language Arts teacher, North Carolina, USA
Kane “Novakane” Smego is from the Triangle area in North Carolina and is a nationally-recognized spoken word poet and Artistic Director of Sacrificial Poets. Immediately following the popular revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt in January 2010, Kane felt inspired to learn from the stories of the young people driving these powerful movements, and to share them with the world through art and oral history documentation. Smego teamed up with two other young poets and a film-maker and created Poetic Portraits of a Revolution (PPR2011), a project produced by the Academy Award-winning documentary film organization the Empowerment Project. The PPR2011 experience kicked off an eight week radio series on “Morning Edition.” In addition to his travels to North Africa, Kane has spent time abroad in Bolivia, Mexico, and Costa Rica. In 2008, he volunteered for at a shelter for youth living in prisons with incarcerated parents in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba. In 2009, he traveled by bus through the Southern Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca. After returning from his travels fluent in Spanish, Kane completed his training in the language by earning a BA in Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010 and was awarded the Sterling A. Stoudemire Chancellor’s Award for Excellence, given to the top graduating student in the department. Kane is a National Poetry Slam Finalist who has featured at such historic venues as the Nuyorican Poets Café in NYC, the 2010 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, and the birth place of Slam Poetry, Chicago’s Green Mill. He was a four-time member of the Bull City Slam Team that finished 3rd at the 2010 National Poetry Slam (St. Paul, MN), won the 2010 Southern Fried Southern Regional Poetry Slam Champion (Knoxville, TN), won 2010 National Poetry Awards ‘Slam Artist of the Year, took 1st place at the Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF) annual poetry slam amidst some of the nation’s top poets and finished 14th in the world out of at the 2008 Individual World Poetry Slam.
Will McInerney is the Director of Sacrificial Poets/YouTh ink, a nationally competing youth poetry organization devoted to fostering social transformation. Born and raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Will has been actively involved in his local community through various groups since a young age. Working with the Academy Award winning non-profit organization, The Empowerment Project, McInerney was able to help advocate for issues of social justice and human rights on a regional as well as global level. Upon entering college, McInerney discovered the art of Spoken Word and began working with the Sacrificial Poets. Will uses poetry as both a form of personal expression and a means of continuing his fight for social justice. In 2008, after competing at the International Youth Poetry Slam, Brave New Voices, McInerney performed across North Carolina including a first place finish at the 2008 Shakori Hills Poetry Festival and as a featured poet at the 2009 Mo Soul Poetry Festival. In 2010 McInerney earned a spot on the Bull City Slam Team and subsequently placed first in the South East Regional and third in the nation. In addition, McInerney was a member of the 2010 National Duo Slam champion team. Alongside writing and performing, McInerney has a passion for sharing his art through education. In June of 2010, McInerney traveled to Israel-Palestine upon invitation and taught poetry at the Ramallah Friends School in the West Bank. This two week intensive poetry class entitled, “Poetry as a Means of Non-Violent Resistance,” focused on utilizing the art of Spoken Word as a form of activism with teenagers in the Palestinian West Bank. In 2011, McInerney was a creator and leader on the Poetic Portraits of a Revolution (PPR) project. PPR sent McInerney and three other artists to Egypt and Tunisia to document the ongoing popular movements through poetry and photography and had their work broadcast nationally on the American Public Media radio show “The Story” with Dick Gordon. McInerney holds a degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelors degree in Peace, War, and Defense, having graduated Phi Beta Kappa.