Gayle was born in New York City and, at age 8 months, moved with her family to Atlanta, Georgia. It was not until after she finished school that she learned about slam poetry. She embraced it almost immediately won the 1994 National Individual Slam Poet in Ashville, NC just months after being exposed to slam poetry. In Heidelberg, Germany, she became the 1996 International Slam Poet Champion.
The mission of Poetry Slam Incorporated (PSI) is to promote the performance and creation of poetry while cultivating literary activities and spoken word events in order to build audience participation, stimulate creativity, awaken minds, foster education, inspire mentoring, encourage artistic statement and engage communities worldwide in the revelry of language.
Slam combines movement, voice, drama and the written word for an unforgettable spoken word experience. Slam made its debut back in the late 1980’s in Chicago when a local poet named Marc Smith grew tired of the stale presentations of poetry that seemed to pervade the coffee shops and libraries around town. Thus slam was born as a way of expressing oneself briefly, powerfully and impactfully.
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary
organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience.
"If I should have a daughter, instead of Mom, she's gonna call me Point B ... " began spoken word poet Sarah Kay, in a talk that inspired two standing ovations at TED2011. She tells the story of her metamorphosis -- from a wide-eyed teenager soaking in verse at New York's Bowery Poetry Club to a teacher connecting kids with the power of self-expression through Project V.O.I.C.E. -- and gives two breathtaking performances of "B" and "Hiroshima."
By turn hilarious and haunting, poet Shane Koyczan puts his finger on the pulse of what it's like to be young and … different. "To This Day," his spoken-word poem about bullying, captivated millions as a viral video (created, crowd-source style, by 80 animators). Here, he gives a glorious, live reprise with back story and violin accompaniment by Hannah Epperson.