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Joshua Bennett

April 11 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

North Carolina A&T State University’s F.D. Bluford Library in partnership with Greensboro Bound is pleases to present author, an award-winning poet, professor, and slam champion JOSHUA BENNETT,  Thursday, May 11 at 7:00PM in the McNair Hall Auditorium. This event is FREE and open to the public however, registration is required.

JOSHUA BENNETT is a Professor of Literature and Distinguished Chair of the Humanities at MIT. He is the author of five books: Spoken Word: A Cultural History (Knopf, 2023), which was named a New York Times Notable Book of 2023; The Study of Human Life (Penguin, 2022), which won the Paterson Poetry Prize, and is currently being adapted for television in collaboration with Warner Brothers Studios; Owed (Penguin, 2020), a finalist for the New England Book Award; Being Property Once Myself (Harvard University Press, 2020), winner of the MLA’s William Sanders Scarborough Prize, and The Sobbing School (Penguin, 2016), winner of the National Poetry Series and a finalist for an NAACP Image Award.

Dr. Bennett earned his Ph.D. in English from Princeton University, and an M.A. in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Warwick, where he was a Marshall Scholar. He has recited his original works at the Sundance Film Festival, the NAACP Image Awards, and President Obama’s Evening of Poetry and Music at the White House. He has also performed and taught creative writing workshops at hundreds of middle schools, high schools, colleges, and universities across the United States, as well as in the U.K. and South Africa.

For his creative writing and scholarship, Joshua has received fellowships and awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Whiting Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Society of Fellows at Harvard University. Alongside his friend and colleague, Dr. Jesse McCarthy, he is the founding editor of Minor Notes, a Penguin Classics book series dedicated to minor poets within the black expressive tradition. Joshua is also the founding editor of Life Studies: an MIT Press imprint which celebrates the relationship between poetic practice and literary criticism. He lives in Massachusetts with his family. LEARN MORE

Spoken Word: A Cultural History
A fascinating history of the art form that has transformed the cultural landscape, by one of its influential practitioners, an award-winning poet, professor, and slam champion. In 2009, when he was twenty years old, Joshua Bennett was invited to perform a spoken word poem for Barack and Michelle Obama, at the same White House “Poetry Jam” where Lin-Manuel Miranda declaimed the opening bars of a work-in-progress that would soon revolutionize American theater. That meeting is but one among many in the trajectory of Bennett’s young life, as he rode the cresting wave of spoken word through the 2010s. In this book, he goes back to its roots, considering the Black Arts movement and the prominence of poetry and song in Black education; the origins of the famed Nuyorican Poets Cafe in the Lower East Side living room of the visionary Miguel Algarín, who hosted verse gatherings with legendary figures like Ntozake Shange and Miguel Piñero; the rapid growth of the “slam” format that was pioneered at the Get Me High Lounge in Chicago; the perfect storm of spoken word’s rise during the explosion of social media; and Bennett’s own journey alongside his older sister, whose work to promote the form helped shape spaces online and elsewhere dedicated to literature and the pursuit of human freedom.    A celebration of voices outside the dominant cultural narrative, who boldly embraced an array of styles and forms and redefined what—and whom—the mainstream would include, Bennett’s book illuminates the profound influence spoken word has had everywhere melodious words are heard, from Broadway to academia, from the podiums of political protest to cafés, schools, and rooms full of strangers all across the world.

“A “rich hybrid of memoir and history” (The New Yorker) of the literary art form that has transformed the cultural landscape, by one of its influential practitioners, an award-winning poet, professor, and slam champion.”

“Bennett…transport[s] us back to the city blocks, bars, cafes and stages these artists traversed and inhabited…an instructive text for young poets, artists or creative entrepreneurs trying to find a way to carve out a space for themselves…Shines with a refreshing dynamism.” —The New York Times




April 11
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


NC&AT Bluford Library


McNair Hall Auditorium
1601 E Market St