Real People, Real Poetry

New Spoken Word workshop inspires creative growth in students

Dasha Kelly

Alison Malek / Clarion

Dasha Kelly, a speaker and author from Milwaukee, worked with students at a Spoken Word workshop.

Spoken Word is a new series of workshops Madison College that help students invest in their own writing. Spoken Word offers students an opportunity to learn performance poetry and presentation skills though workshops, open mic sessions and poetry slam competitions.

Sabrina Madison, the adviser for Spoken Word, was inspired to create a team at Madison College after being involved with Slam For Madison Urban Spoken Word and Word is Bomb Poetry Slam. Madison believes that students need an outlet and these workshops could offer students a chance to get their work in national poetry contests.

“The goal is to bring in great artists such as [speaker and author] Dasha Kelly,” Madison said.

Dasha Kelly was featured in a recent Spoken Word event last month. Kelly holds an MFA in creative writing, is the author of several novels, and has been featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. Earlier this year she was selected as a U.S. Embassy Arts Envoy to teach and perform in Botswana.

At the first open mic Kelly attended, she noted that her view of poetry changed after witnessing “real people referring to their life.” Kelly was invited to try and was immediately hooked.

“It’s an opportunity to build,” said Kelly, speaking of poetry in general. “It’s important to be honest on the page, ‘cause it’s easy to get sidetracked with the adornments. You need to read.”

Madison looks forward to seeing students’ growth as writers, and what she calls “the fruits of the writing.” In addition to writing skills, the workshops teach teamwork, self-confidence and networking tools.

“It’s not just about poetry,” said Madison, “it’s about the arts of performance. Give of yourself and let stuff go. Come with an open mind,” Madison said.

All Madison College students are welcome to join the spoken word team, and students wishing to improve their writing are especially recommended to attend. For more info on workshops, contact Sabrina Madison at [email protected],

or call (608) 243-4745. More info on Dasha Kelly can be found at