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Spoken Word

Let’s Learn About Performance Poetry!

Throughout history stories have been told to entertain, to pass down customs, and of course to connect communities. This tradition existed long before there was written language. Born out of the jazz poetry scene of the 1920s, Spoken Word, the modern descendant of oral tradition, has become a powerful format for protest, social justice, and self-expression. Join interdisciplinary and UMS teaching artist Karilú Alarcón Forshee as she shares her artistic inspirations and guides you through activities to become a Spoken Word poet.

To learn more about Spoken Word, explore the accompanying slides and worksheets.

Recommended for

Grades 5-12 (Ages 10-17)

Accompanying Presentation

View on Google Slides or download as a PDF


Brainstorming (PDF)
Fill In the Blank (PDF)
Literary Devices: Imagery (PDF)
Literary Devices: Metaphor (PDF)

About the Artist

Karilú Alarcón ForsheeKarilú Alarcón Forshee was raised in Juárez, México. She began her artistic education at a young age at La Academia Municipal de Arte and has been performing ever since. Forshee is an interdisciplinary performing artist with a degree in theater arts and English-Spanish translation from the University of Texas (2009). She has been a Detroit-based performer and was recognized as a Kresge Arts Fellow in 2020. She has been a Detroit teaching artist since 2011, and a member of A Host of People theater company since 2013. Forshee currently works as a teaching artist for Living Arts Detroit, University Musical Society, and Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit.


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