timeline

born 1988

When New York City girl Sarah Kay went to her first National Poetry Slam with the Bowery Poetry Club, she was the youngest person in the competition. Sarah was called to the spoken-word stage at 14. Ever since then, she has used performance poetry as a platform for sharing stories that matter...stories that inspire, educate and create understanding.

Having experienced firsthand the power of spoken-word poetry to "crack open locks," Sarah wanted to help others explore the form together. She founded Project VOICE while still in high school. Today, being its co-director is her full-time job as Sarah + her talented team of poet-educators tour the world, spreading creativity from stage to classroom.

bio bits

her quotes

all quotes by Sarah Kay (15)

"There's nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it's sent away."

B | 2007

"You will put the wind in win some, lose some. You will put the star in starting over, and over."

B | 2007

"This world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily, but don't be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it."

B | 2007

"Spoken-word poetry cracks open locks."

If I should have a daughter... | march 2011

"I use spoken word to help my students rediscover wonder, to fight their instincts to be cool and unfazed and, instead, actively pursue being engaged with what goes on around them, so that they can reinterpret and create something from it."

If I should have a daughter... | march 2011

"I use poetry to help me work through what I don’t understand, but I show up to each new poem with a backpack full of everywhere else that I’ve been."

TED2011 | march 2011

"Listen to each other like you know you are scholars, artists, scientists, athletes, musicians. Like you know you will be the ones who shape this world."

Mrs. Ribeiro | 2013

"So much of our lives are spent hiding parts of ourselves that we think should be attached to shame. When I chose not to hide it, it allowed someone else to say, ‘me, too.’"

Grinell Commencement Address | may 2013

"Every person alive has certain privileges and lacks others; one of the things I’ve been trying to do is to stop attaching shame to it."

Grinnell commencement address | may 2013

"Don’t be tricked into thinking it’s always your turn to talk. Sometimes your privilege means that it is your turn to listen."

Grinnell commencement address | may 2013

"I will love you with too many commas, but never any asterisks."

Love Poem #137 | march 2014

"I can't do a pull-up. But I'm great at excuses."

Love Poem #137 | march 2014

"Little girls learn to sing the perfect man before we ever know what the lyrics mean. Strong arms. Good hair. Wide eyes. Brave heart. Big money."

No Matter the Wreckage | march 2014

"No matter your wreckage . . . Let them see the cracks. Someone will come to sing into these empty spaces."

No Matter the Wreckage | march 2014

"Do not mistake yourself for a guardian Or a muse, or a promise, or a victim, or a snack You are a woman, skin and bones, veins and nerves, hair and sweat You are not made of metaphors, not apologies, not excuses"

The Type | march 2014
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curated with care by Alicia Williamson