Poet and performance artist Sarah Kay – a writer, educator, and co-director of an organization dedicated to improving children’s lives through poetry – will visit SMU Tuesday, Jan. 25 to speak in the 2015-16 Tate Distinguished Lecture Series. She will speak at 8 p.m. in McFarlin Auditorium
Kay is a spoken-word poet who began performing in New York at age 14 at the renowned Bowery Poetry Club in the East Village. In 2006, she became a member of the club’s Slam Team and a featured poet on “HBO’s Def Poetry Jam,” as well as the youngest poet to compete at the National Poetry Slam in Austin.
In 2011, Kay created a sensation at the TED Conference in Long Beach, California with a performance of her poem B (If I Should Have a Daughter). The performance earned two standing ovations and has since been viewed almost 4 million times online via YouTube.
The poem itself has since been made into a short hardcover book, B, illustrated by Kay’s lifelong friend Sophie Janowitz, and has been ranked as the No. 1 poetry book on Amazon.com. An anthology of her works, No Matter the Wreckage, was published in 2014 by Write Bloody Publishing. Kay’s poems and articles have also been published in Pear Noir!, the Literary Bohemian, DecomP, Damselfly Press, Union Station Magazine, Foundling Review, the Huffington Post and CNN.com, among others.
Kay holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Brown University and an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Grinnell College.
She is the founder and co-director of Project VOICE (Vocal Outreach Into Creative Expression), which uses spoken-word poetry to entertain, educate and inspire young students.
All SMU community members are invited to hear Sarah Kay speak and answer questions at the Turner Construction/Wells Fargo Student Forum at 4:30 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom. Doors open at 4 p.m. Please tweet your questions for the forum to #SMUtate.
Students can go to the basement of McFarlin Auditorium at 7 p.m. with their SMU IDs for possible seating on a first-come, first-served basis.