Spoken Word Videos

Here are videos of my poems.  There are often multiple versions of each piece online, so I've tried to collect the ones that display the best performances here.  Rather than embed each one, I've put an hour-long playlist at the top of this page; below are links to individual videos. Be sure to check out and subscribe to my YouTube channel if you appreciate the work.

Poems on Masculinity, Gender, and Consent:
  • Ten Responses to the Phrase "Man Up"This was my first poem to go viral, thanks to a bunch of different blogs, tumblrs and facebook walls. The video linked to here is the third version, which is the best footage/performance. The Button Poetry version has over a million views, and the Facebook video version went up over ten million though, so that's cool.
  • Handshakes: Another poem dealing with what boys and young men are taught about what it means to be a man.
  • Consent at 10,000 FeetA poem about the central importance of consent when it comes to healthy sexuality. There's also a Facebook video version.
  • Action: A poem about men's responsibility to talk to other men about sexual assault and gender violence, to bring those conversations into the spaces to which we have disproportionate access.
  • "Pro-Life": A poem on reproductive justice; link also shouts out some other poems on that topic.
  • The Art of Taking the L: A poem about the stories we tell, and are told, about masculinity. The link also has a bunch of good resources.
Poems on Racism, Whiteness, and Solidarity:
  • How to Explain White Supremacy to a White Supremacist: A poem about systems thinking, and how racism is bigger than interpersonal bigotry. There's also a Facebook video version (shared by George Takei, Daily Kos, and more).
  • Police Make the Best Poets: A short poem about dominant narratives and memory.
  • The Invisible Backpacker of Privilege: A poem about whiteness and hip hop that attempts to shine a light not just on that scene, but how privilege functions in other spaces too.
  • Quicksand: I think a lot about continuums and spectrums. This is a poem (which is also the foundation of my TEDx Talk) about how we respond to injustice, especially when it doesn't directly affect us.
  • Cherry Spoon Bridge to Nowhere: A poem about the iconography of the Twin Cities, and how the symbols used to represent a place can sometimes silence many of the people who live in that place. More here.
  • Dust: A poem I was commissioned to write about the Day of Remembrance, while also tying in current struggles against xenophobia and anti-immigrant hate.
Poems on Class Identity and Activism:
  • The Family BusinessThis is a piece about work and identity, and the relationship between who does the work and who benefits the most from that labor.
  • StarfishI think a lot of activists-- and people in general-- struggle with the tension between doing positive, face-to-face direct service work and trying to create large-scale, sustainable, institutional change.  We need both, obviously, but it can be a challenge to figure out where you fit in.
  • When They Look Right Through You: A poem about invisibility and exploitation, but also about solidarity.
  • A Pragmatist's Guide to Faith: A poem about legacy and drawing strength from those who have come before us.
  • Thoughts and Prayers: A poem partly about gun violence, but really about activism and where change really comes from.
  • A Pragmatist's Guide to Magic: A poem about activism, agency, and hope.
  • Matches: This is a song too, but this video captures an a capella performance.
Other Poems:
  • Smalltalk: A poem about why I make art, even when it's exhausting because I'm an introvert.
  • REACHThis is an artists' statement poem; it's me trying to work out in my head what the goal of an artist is.
  • Love in the Time of Undeath: A love poem. I would also note that I wrote this way back in like 2006, before zombies were cool.
  • A Prayer for Indie RappersThe title refers to hip hop artists, but this is really an anthem for anyone who does any kind of creative work. This is my personal mantra, a poem that keeps me moving forward.
  • Level Up: My Autobiography as a Learner: A writing prompt asked me to trace my journey through education, and through systems of education.
  • The Mommy Effect: On some level, this is a poem about military recruitment. It's also, however, about mothers, and the lack of respect afforded to them by the powers-that-be.
  • Lightning: An a capella rendition of a song me and Big Cats made with Chastity Brown.
  • The Last Words of a Roach, Underfoot: Kind of a love poem; kind of just what it sounds like.
  • A Visit from the PC Police: A poem about the power of language and reframing the idea of "political correctness."
  • NeutralWhile specifically addressing the Anoka-Hennepin teen suicides, this poem is really about the political ramifications of neutrality.  Like Howard Zinn said, you can't be neutral on a moving train.
  • Hope is Something You Build (Children's Cancer Research Fund commission)

A Big List of Poems by Other Poets that I Would Recommend

1 comment:

Mehedii Hasan said...

Nice. Just Loved it.