Spoken Word – Conflict Resolution – Community Engagement – Self-Expression
Kane “Novakane” Smego is a nationally-recognized spoken word poet and Artistic Director of Sacrificial Poets whose dynamic workshops explore the power of stories and voice as tools for self-transformation, non-violent resistance, and community engagement. Immediately following the popular revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt in January 2010, Kane recorded the stories of the young people driving these powerful movements, teamed up with two other young poets and a film-maker and created the multimedia project “Poetic Portraits of a Revolution”.
Kane’s performances are individualized, depending on the theme and context of the event. They can range from serious issues to light humor and cover topics from social commentary to introspection.
Through the use of the spoken and written word, the YouTh ink. curriculum helps participants “find their voice” through a focus on exploring identity, understanding the historical context and power of the oral tradition, and using poetry as a tool for therapy and healing, community engagement, conflict resolution, and non-violent resistance.
In Praise of Our X Chromosomes (performance/presentation)
In this dynamic presentation Kane weaves performance poetry and storytelling to chronicle his experience growing up in a single mother household, and his journey towards becoming an ally against misogyny and homophobia. His poems and anecdotes explore the ways in which young men are socialized to exercise male privilege and reinforce heterosexism, and challenge them to redefine masculinity by confronting patriarchy in their daily conversations, in their communities, and within themselves.
Imaginary Borders: This dynamic performance and lecture explores the issue of immigration policy and the obstacles that many face upon arriving in the United States. As a non-Latino Spanish speaker, Kane also explores his role as ally in the fight for immigrant rights, and challenges students to think critically about the issues of citizenship and migration, as well as what it means to be a member of a global community.
Poetry is Our Weapon: This performance and lecture explores the ways in which youth around the world are using spoken word poetry as a tool for self-empowerment, for promoting diversity, and for facilitating community building and engagement. His poems and anecdotes celebrate the vibrant legacies of oral history, and take students through his odyssey as co-founder of an arts and education nonprofit aimed at transforming communities at home and abroad.
The Art of Personal Stories: Humanizing the News, Journalism, and History:
This performance and lecture explores the legacy of the oral tradition and its role in the transmission and preservation of history and knowledge, the celebration of diversity, and the creation of counter-narratives to mainstream media. He recounts his journey as co-creator of the Poetic Portraits of a Revolution (PPR2011) project, which sent him and a group of artists to Egypt and Tunisia for two months in 2011 to document the popular revolutions through poetry, radio, and videography.
“Finding Your Voice in Leadership”: This performance and lecture discusses the role that our identity, experiences, and stories play in developing leadership, building collaborative relationships, and designing creative ways to engage our communities. Kane recounts his own experience as a co-founder and Artistic Director of a youth arts and education nonprofit.
Who I Really Am: Spoken Word and Constructing Identity: This performance and lecture examines spoken word poetry and storytelling as tools for expressing and constructing identity, celebrating diversity, and building relationships across lines of difference. As a young person whose own life was changed through his introduction to the art form, Kane discusses the ways in which his work as a youth educator and nonprofit director gives young people the tools to discover and express who they are and who they wish to be.
“Metaphor and Medicine: Poetry as Therapy and Introspective Healing”:
This performance and lecture examines creative writing and performance as tools for exploring and transforming oneself. Kane shares his experiences working for over the last decade with youth and adults from diverse backgrounds, and their inspiring metamorphoses through the arts.
Kane’s workshop utilize his unique YouTh ink. Curriculum and are designed to lead participants in exploring their identities and life experiences, and in utilizing literary devices to communicate their stories through powerful works of spoken word poetry. Workshops can be customized depending on the experience level or age-group involved, as well as tailored to touch on certain themes or topics of a course or event.
Standard workshops are designed to be accessible to beginner and experienced writers alike. Participants with no experience at all will be taken through a writing process and come out of a workshop with their own original piece of spoken word poetry.
For groups made up entirely of veteran poets and slammers, workshops with more advanced writing prompts and techniques are available, as well as activities to improve their performance and public speaking abilities.
Writing a New MANifesto
In this workshop for men, Kane leads participants in writing activities and interactive exercises that help them explore how our experiences with heterosexism, misogyny and homophobia contribute to unhealthy forms of masculinity. Groups examine masculinity as a cultural construct and discuss the ways in which their own masculinities are influenced by language, media, and social pressures that oppress women and deprive men of their humanity. Through written reflections and sharing, participants are challenged to redefine their own concept of masculinity and to explore ways that they can support other men in MANifesting healthier gender identities.
“Kane Smego was an exceptional presenter and a highlight of the NASW 2014 National Conference! He was inspiring, powerful, thought-provoking, and passionate, all at the same time. As the opening presenter, he very effectively set an excellent tone for the entire event that followed.”
Richard E. Loomis
Manager, Conference and Event Planning
National Association of Social Workers