Kane Smego and Will McInerney ARE Crossing Cultures in Verse
Education abroad transforms us. Yet processing these international experiences can leave us tongue tied, despite the magnitude of change within. This groundbreaking workshop solves this dilemma by inspiring, fostering and promoting artistic expression of powerful cross-cultural experiences through the use of the spoken and written word. Designed for non-poets, the Crossing Cultures in Verse workshop combines writing activities that help 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” by 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 anyone who has crossed cultures and is 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, repatriates, etc. It is designed for non-poets and can also be delivered to non-native English speakers and in Spanish. You do not have to be a lyrical wizard to participate, create and reflect – we promise!
Here they are in action (Kane is on the left, Will on the right):
This is Kane’s spoken word about the Dream Act:
Katie Ahlman’s blog post about feedback on this workshop.
“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.” – Danielle, 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 ,
“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 a nationally-recognized spoken word poet and Artistic Director of Sacrificial Poets from the Triangle area in North Carolina. 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. PPR2011 kicked off an eight week radio series on NPR’s “Morning Edition.” In addition to his travels to North Africa, Kane has spent time abroad in Bolivia, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Kane has volunteered at a shelter for youth living in prisons with incarcerated parents in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba. Having traveled by bus through the Southern Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, Kane completed earned a BA in Spanish from the UNC at Chapel Hill and was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence, given to the top graduating student in the department. Kane is also National Poetry Slam Finalist who has featured at such historic venues as the Nuyorican Poets Café in NYC, the 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, won the 2010 Southern Fried Southern Regional Poetry Slam Champion, 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, a nationally competing youth poetry organization devoted to fostering social transformation. Working with the Academy Award winning organization, The Empowerment Project, McInerney was able to advocate for issues of social justice and human rights on a regional as well as global level. 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, Will 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. He earned a spot on the Bull City Slam Team and subsequently placed first in the South East Regional and third in the nation. Will was a member of the 2010 National Duo Slam champion team. Alongside writing and performing, Will has a passion for sharing his art through education. In June of 2010, he 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. Will was a creator and leader on the Poetic Portraits of a Revolution (PPR) project. PPR sent him 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. Will holds a degree from UNC at Chapel Hill with a BA degree in Peace, War, and Defense, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa.