BreakBeat Poetry: Letting ‘the Local Live Universally’

“The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop” is the first anthology of poetry by and for the hip hop generation. Released earlier this year, the anthology features the work of 78 poets born between 1961 and 1999. With stories of DJs and emcees on topics from racism and the war on drugs, it’s the kind of book that editors Kevin Coval, Quraysh Ali Lansana and Nate Marshall say was meant to expand the idea of who a poet is and what a poem is for.

To celebrate the release of the book, a series of events were held in May across New York City, the birthplace of hip hop. Reporter Melissa Noel went to the Housing Works Bookstore Cafe for a live reading which featured poets whose works appear in the anthology, and recently interviewed one of the book’s editors about it.

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