We, at The Poetry Lab, are so excited to announce our collaboration with Nigerian American film-maker, rapper, and spoken word artist, Amanda Eke (EH-kay) in sponsoring Season 3 of The Poet Speaks Podcast. In each episode, Amanda interviews a different poet from around the globe and highlights and celebrates the many ways spoken word poetry and oral traditions shape our unique communities.
While living in Malta as a Fulbright Scholar, Amanda, who earned her MA in Pan African Studies from Syracuse University, called upon the power of poetry and rap to support migrants and refugees learning English in her Maltese community. This work evolved into her workshop, The Poet Speaks.
Why “The Poet Speaks”?
Amanda Eke (pronounced EH-kay)
Why “The Poet Speaks” as a title? It’s an homage to her younger self who remained nonverbal until age four, an acknowledgment that beginnings don’t have to determine the rest of the story, and so often don’t. Each person has the power to find their own “voice”—however, that manifests—at any age. Amanda was touring The Poet Speaks workshop across the United States and globally in Trinidad and Tobago and Nepal before the pandemic hit in 2020, bringing travel to a standstill both domestically and internationally. To continue her work of building connections between individuals and communities through poetry, Amanda branched off into the world of podcasts. With guests including global poetry slam champions and poets laureates, within months The Poet Speaks Podcast began topping podcast charts and was included in Strategic Media Inc.’s Top 5 podcasts for celebrating Black History Month.
The podcast features global poetry slam champions and poets laureate
“I’m pretty humbled by the response,” Amanda said. “I’m living in Japan recording the podcast from my kitchen table in my tiny one-bedroom apartment. I wasn’t expecting the podcast to receive the attention it’s been getting. It was totally unexpected, and I’m really humbled by it.”
Meeting Poetry Idols
Through The Poet Speaks Podcast, Amanda has invited her guests to share their personal and regional histories, cultures, and ideas surrounding poetry. Guests have hailed from Colorado, Wyoming, and California in the States; and abroad from Canada, Nepal, India, Singapore, Japan, Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.
“I’m privileged to have met some of my poetry idols doing this show,” Amanda said about how her show has impacted her since its start. “I’m really looking forward to Season 3 because I was able to interview some people I really look up to, and it has been a moment of retransformation for me in terms of who I want to be as a poet and what I want to put out into the world.”
“it has been a moment of retransformation for me”
Because The Poetry Lab is dedicated to mentoring and encouraging poets and writers to craft their learning journeys through non-traditional means, we love how Amanda’s podcast spotlights guests from around the world, each with their own unique lived experience, perspective, and poetic journey. Community is the central pillar of The Poetry Lab; we build community by holding space, which is to say, making room for marginalized voices and for those who feel under-served in traditional academic spaces. We felt drawn to Amanda’s dedication to helping others find their poetic voices. Amanda uses her podcast to share often untold stories of poetic oral traditions.
We are thrilled to be joining forces with a talented poetry powerhouse like Amanda by supporting The Poet Speaks Podcast as its first sponsor, and we know our Poetry Lab stans will love this podcast as much as we do!
Season 3 of The Poet Speaks Podcast premiers on Sunday, July 3, with a new episode debuting every Sunday through August. It’s poetry magic in the making, y’all!
Find The Poet Speaks Podcast on your preferred podcast streaming service by searching “The Poet Speaks” or follow along here.