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Do The Work, Then Write A Poem About It: An NC Poet’s Take On Poetry And Activism

Byrd holding his fists together in front of his face, with his thumbs facing outward in opposite directions.
Courtesy of Hausson Byrd

Writing poetry in this moment of civil unrest is not much different than writing poetry at any other time in American history, according to Hausson Byrd. He says poets have been writing about police brutality, racism and violence since the beginning. 

Still, he views the latest wave of protest and demonstrations as an opportunity to reinvigorate conversations about race. Byrd is a slam poet and senior at North Carolina A&T University and member of the Bull City Slam Team. His first brush with poetry was only an extra credit opportunity for one of his freshman classes. But after getting on stage to spit poems about life, he was hooked.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Byrd about his coupling of poetry and advocacy. You can view live poetry readings at Byrd’s NC A&T poetry club Instagram account @aggielivepoets.

You can read Byrd's poem "Edgelord" here, and his poem "Barbecue" here.

Josie Taris left her home in Fayetteville in 2014 to study journalism at Northwestern University. There, she took a class called Journalism of Empathy and found her passion in audio storytelling. She hopes every story she produces challenges the audience's preconceptions of the world. After spending the summer of 2018 working in communications for a Chicago nonprofit, she decided to come home to work for the station she grew up listening to. When she's not working, Josie is likely rooting for the Chicago Cubs or petting every dog she passes on the street.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.