Tate Modern Workshop

The BreakBeat Internationally Known Master Class Workshops

The Breakbeat Poets

Join the BreakBeat Poets for a masterclass in hip-hop poetic practice

The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop is the first poetry anthology by and for the Hip-Hop generation. Join BreakBeat Series editor and poet Kevin Coval and fellow writers and editors Safia Elhillo and Nick Makoha in a cypher-style workshop rooted in the vibrancy of hip-hop aesthetics and in sharing remixing the next and now movement(s) in poetics across the globe.

Meeting at Tate Modern’s Tank Studios at 11 am, Kevin and Safia will explore the Tate Modern building and artwork with you to get inspiration for the afternoon workshop. Participants are invited to perform their texts created during the workshop as a 10 Minute Talk, a popular format for anyone to express their responses to artworks in the Tate galleries.

About the BreakBeat Internationally Known

The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop was published in 2015 and features 78 poets, born between 1961 and1999, who are creating the next and now movement(s) in American letters. Series editor and poet Kevin Coval, and fellow writers and Editors Safia Elhillo and Nick Makoha are making an inquiry into to who and where the vibrancy of the poetic form is taking hold in poetic communities around the globe. Internationally Known is a call and shout out to the poets around the planet who are innovating the pen and page and mic, rooted in poetic traditions and also catapulting into the future.

The BreakBeat Poets anthology is for people who love Hip-Hop, for fans of the culture, for people who've never read a poem, for people who thought poems were only something done by dead white dudes who got lost in a forest, and for poetry heads. This anthology expands the idea of who a poet is and what a poem is for. The BreakBeat Poets are the scribes recording and remixing a fuller spectrum of experience of what it means to be alive in this moment. The BreakBeat Poets are a break with the past and an honouring of the tradition(s) we inherit. We are in search of our crew who is expanding the canon for the fresher.

Kevin Coval

Poet and community builder Kevin Coval is the author of 10 books, including A People’s History of Chicago, editor of The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, and co-writer of the play This is Modern Art, which premiered at Steppenwolf Theater in 2015. Additionally, he is the Artistic Director of Young Chicago Authors — winner of a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions in 2016 — founder of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival, and co-host of the WGN Radio podcast The Cornerstore. His work has appeared on The Daily Show, four seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, CNN.com, Poetry Magazine, and Fake Shore Drive. He is the editor of the Haymarket Books imprint BreakBeat Publishing, which is dedicated to publishing radically fresh voices, and teaches hip-hop poetics in high schools, colleges, and community centres around the globe. Find him on Twitter and Instagram @kevincoval.

Safia Elhillo

Safia Elhillo is the author of The January Children (University of Nebraska Press, 2017). Sudanese by way of Washington, DC, she received a BA from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and an MFA in poetry at the New School. Safia is a Pushcart Prize nominee, receiving a special mention for the 2016 Pushcart Prize, and recipient of the 2015 Brunel University African Poetry Prize and the 2016 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. She has received fellowships from Cave Canem, The Conversation, and Crescendo Literary and The Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Incubator. Safia’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in POETRY Magazine, Callaloo, and The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-day series, among others, and in anthologies including The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop and Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism. Her work has been translated into Arabic, Japanese, Estonian, Portuguese, and Greek. With Fatimah Asghar, she is co-editor of the anthology Halal If You Hear Me (Haymarket Books, 2019). Safia has shared her work on platforms such as TEDxNewYork, Under Armour’s ‘Unlike Any’ campaign, the South African State Theatre, the New Amsterdam Theater on Broadway, and TV1’s Verses and Flow. She was a founding member of Slam NYU, the 2012 and 2013 national collegiate championship team, and was a three-time member and former coach of the DC Youth Slam Poetry team.

Nick Makoha

Nick Makoha’s debut collection Kingdom of Gravity was shortlisted for the 2017 Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection and nominated by The Guardian as one of the best books of 2017. He won the 2015 Brunel International Poetry prize and the 2016 Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize for his pamphlet Resurrection. A Goldsmiths, Cave Canem and Complete Works Alumni. His poems appeared in The New York Times, Poetry Review, Rialto, Triquarterly Review, Boston Review, Callaloo, and Wasafiri. Find him at www.nickmakoha.com.

Tate Modern

The Tanks

Tanks Studios

London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit

Date & Time

4 May 2018 at 12.00–18.00