READS 2016 Authors/Performers
Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye Sarah and Phil Kaye
Distinguished Guest
April 18, 2016 at 7:00 pm


An American poet, known for her spoken word poetry, Kay is the founder and co-director of Project V.O.I.C.E., founded in 2004, a group dedicated to using spoken word as an educational and inspirational tool. Kay, a graduate of Brown University, was born in New York City, New York to a Japanese American mother and a Jewish American father.[5] Sarah Kay now currently writes, reads, and performs poetry for all different kinds of audiences. She is also the co-director and founder of her current project, project VOICE. She began performing poetry at the Bowery Poetry Club in the East Village at the age of 14, joining their Slam Team in 2006.[6] That year, she was the youngest person competing in the National Poetry Slam in Austin, Texas. She has participated in many poetry slams. In 2007 Kay made her television debut, performing the poem "Hands" on HBO's Def Poetry Jam.[7] She has performed at events and venues like the Lincoln Center, the Tribeca Film Festival, and at the United Nations where she was a featured performer for the launch of the 2004 World Youth Report.

In May 2010, she performed at *spark!, a benefit for the Acumen Fund in New York, New York. On March 3, 2011, she performed at the TED conference in Long Beach, California as part of a series entitled "Beauty, Imagination, Enchantment." Along with a talk about her upbringing, she performed the poems "B" and "Hiroshima. Although Kay works primarily in spoken word poetry, she has published poems in magazines such as Foundling Review, DamselFly Press, and decomP literary magazine.


Raised in a California beach town to a Japanese mother and Jewish-American father, Phil first fell in love with spoken word poetry at age 17. Since then, he has performed in hundreds of venues in over a dozen countries. His work has been viewed online over five million times and featured in media outlets ranging from NPR to Al Jazeera America to Upworthy. Com. He is the co-director of Project VOICE, an organization that uses poetry as a tool to promote empowerment, improve literacy, and encourage empathy and creative collaboration in classrooms and communities.

Phil is a graduate of Brown University, where he was head coordinator of Space in Prisons for the Arts and Creative Expression (SPACE) and taught weekly poetry workshops in maximum security prisons. He is the two-time recipient of the National College Poetry Slam award for “Pushing the Art Forward,” given for outstanding innovation in the art of performance poetry—the only person to receive the award both as a performer and coach.


Hook: Appeal especially to a young audience; Poetry is cool and inventive. Not your grandfather’s poetry!



Sarah Kay - If I should have a daughter
PHIL KAYE performs "TEETH" Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye "When Love Arrives"


Phil Kaye and Sarah Kay co-direct Project V.O.I.C.E. together, performing and teaching Spoken Word Poetry to students of all ages.

Project V.O.I.C.E. (Vocal Outreach Into Creative Expression) is a national movement that celebrates and inspires youth self-expression through Spoken Word Poetry. Conceived in 2004, Project V.O.I.C.E. encourages young people to engage with the world around them and use Spoken Word Poetry as an instrument through which they can explore and better understand their culture, their society, and ultimately themselves.  Project V.O.I.C.E. brings together performance, writing, and a supportive environment to inspire youth to recognize that their views are significant.