Dasha Kelly Hamilton: What Makes a Spoken Word Archive Special?

Episode Guide: “What Makes a Spoken Word Archive Special?”

Holding History Podcast

Season 1: Episode 4



“It took me a long time to reconcile…to find out that this language that I speak, the way that I approached my stories, were poems all along… piecing those words together in a particular way, not to make people work for the understanding, but an invitation to find understanding…”

-Dasha Kelly Hamilton

Dasha Kelly Hamilton

This episode features a conversation with Wisconsin Poet Laureate, Dasha Kelly Hamilton. Dasha is a poet, performance artist, and creative change agent. Author of two novels, three poetry collections, and four spoken word albums, her impact as a creative change agent has taken her beyond the stage and the classroom and includes serving as a member of the Arts Envoy for the U.S. Embassy. Whatever form her work takes, it uniquely engages communities in a forward dialogue on race, class, and equity.


Dasha welcomes Sarah and Josh to the world of spoken word poetry, talking in-depth about the logistics, ethics, and challenges of performing spoken word, teaching poetry, and organizing shared community experiences.


The second half of our interview focuses on archives, specifically the pitfalls and possibilities of YouTube and social media platforms as repositories for spoken word and slam poetry. Dasha discusses how, despite their issues, such platforms can help bring spoken word poetry to new audiences and preserve live poetry slams for future generations.

Read more: