Intercultural Education ends autumn series with spoken-word poets

The Office of Intercultural Education presents spoken-word poets Alix Olson and B Yung at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, in the Benjamin Mays Center, 95 Russell St.

Readers, please note: Some listings indicate an incorrect date for this event, but Oct. 23 is correct.

The event concludes the autumn 2013 OIE Speaker Series and is open to the public at no cost. For more information, please call 207-786-8303.

Olson is an internationally touring spoken-word artist and activist. One part peace vigil, one part protest rally and one part joyful raucous concert, Olson performances are known for igniting audiences every time. The late populist historian Howard Zinn called her “an ingenious poet, a brilliant performer, a funny person, a serious thinker. Quite simply, extraordinary.”

Since winning the 1998 National Poetry Slam with her New York City team and 1999’s OutWrite LGBT Slam, Olson has toured worldwide, edited Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution (Seal Press), co-authored Burning Down the House: Selected Poems from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe’s National Poetry Slam Champions (Soft Skull Press, 2000), self-published two books of poetry, and produced two albums and the award-winning feature documentary film Left Lane.

Olson has performed on radio and on television programs on Oxygen, CNN and HBO, where she twice headlined Def Poetry Jam. In 2004 she performed for a million people at the Washington, D.C., March for Women’s Lives. Olson was raised in Bethlehem, Pa., attended college at Wesleyan University and resides in Northampton, Mass.

For B Yung, a wordsmith from Brooklyn who aims to make a difference in hip hop culture, there is no phrase more fitting than “a passion-filled youth.” Still in his 20s, he has recorded with such Grammy-winning producers as Miri Ben-Ari, Reefa and Keezo Kane.

Yung has toured France, Italy, Spain, Austria and Germany with London-based band Us3. He performed alongside Mos Def and Wyclef Jean at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

The previous year, he ranked second in the nation with Urban Word NYC’s youth slam team at the Brave New Voices National Youth Poetry Slam, and was featured on HBO’s Brave New Voices documentary. He also ranked first place in the affiliated Speak Green Poetry competition, held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Yung is now working with producer Phonix while continuing to perform at colleges and other venues around the nation.