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BreakBeat Poets’ Professional Development Poetry Workshop at Armstrong

The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop

Poetry is experiencing a renaissance due primarily to the insistence of Hip-Hop’s cultural, public practice. Hip-Hop is the largest youth culture the globe has ever witnessed. It has given birth to a new generation of poets who translate and capture the ethos of the culture in their verse. Similar to the effects of Blues in the Harlem Renaissance and Jazz in the Black Arts Movement, Hip-Hop’s music and cultural force has shaped the aesthetics and given rise to a new generation of American poets.

This multifaceted professional development-in-service opportunity explores poetry and Hip Hop as organic elements of daily instruction at all grade levels. BreakBeat Poet editors will introduce methods for utilizing poetry as a vital tool for learning and literacy in literature, creative expression, comprehension, inference, cross-curricular learning, and assessment, with direct correlation to the national common core learning standards, state and local standards and curriculum requirements. The workshop will include hands-on activities and collaborative curriculum design. The in-service will include the core elements of Hip Hop, Social Justice inquiry methods and media consciousness.

Meet the Artists Who Will Be Conducting the Workshop

Samantha Thornhill headshotSamantha Thornhill is a Trinidadian poet, writer, performer, and educator. The Henry Hoyns and Cave Canem fellow earned her MFA in poetry from the University of Virginia in 2004. Since then, she has performed her work globally, and her poems have been published in over 20 journals and anthologies. For the past decade, Samantha has lived in New York City and taught poetry to actors at The Juilliard School. Since giving birth to her son in 2015, Samantha has been traveling the world, working on poems and children’s books, and freelance writing. You can find her at

Quraysh Ali Lansana headshotQuraysh Ali Lansana is the author of the poetry collections mystic turf, They Shall Run: Harriet Tubman Poems, and Southside Rain; his chapbooks include reluctant minivan, bloodsoil (sooner red), Greatest Hits: 1995-2005, and cockroach children: corner poems and street psalms, and other works. Recent books include The Walmart Republic, with Christopher Stewart and The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop. He has been a literary teaching artist and curriculum developer for over a decade and has led workshops in prisons, public schools, and universities in over 30 states. He is a former faculty member of the Drama Division of The Juilliard School, and served as Director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University from 2002-2011, where he was also Associate Professor of English/Creative Writing. Currently, Lansana is on faculty in the Creative Writing Program of the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and the Red Earth MFA Creative Writing Program at Oklahoma City University.

Learn more about The BreakBeat Poets

Nandi Marshall, DrPH

“At Armstrong, I feel like I am part of a family. I absolutely love that I have the opportunity to help this family grow and have a positive impact on our campus community and the community at large.”

Nandi Marshall, DrPH
Teaching since: 2013