Friday, May 6, 2011

Speaking Volumes: A NYC Spoken Word & Music Benefit for Behind the Book - Wed, May 11

The Inspired Word proudly presents a special Wednesday night fundraiser - Speaking Volumes: A Spoken Word and Music Benefit for Behind the Book, featuring such amazing artists as Carlos Andrés Gómez, The Robin and The Lady Poet, Samantha Thornhill, Shanelle Gabriel, Ainsley Burrows, Bonafide Rojas, and Doron Lev. Hosted by Punchline.

100% of the proceeds go to Behind the Book.

Behind the Book’s mission is to excite children and young adults about reading. Working with low-income students in New York City’s K-12 public schools, Behind the Book brings authors and their books into individual classrooms to build literacy skills and nurture a new generation of book readers.

The Inspired Word is a popular performance series that happens every Thursday night in Manhattan's East Village/Lower East Side.


Few artists await their solo debut after already being featured on a certified gold album, and lyricist Rashaan “Punchline” Truell is by far not a newcomer to this industry. Being surrounded by the conscious hip-hop scene, Punchline first found his calling in high school, writing rhymes in the back of class. From there, he formed the three member group, Uprising. After losing one member of the group, Punchline met up with upcoming rapper Wordsworth. After losing another original member of Uprising, Punchline and Wordsworth continued to work together and became the duo Punch ‘N’ Words. For more info, please visit

Carlos Andrés Gómez is an actor, playwright, and Pushcart Prize nominated poet from New York City. A former social worker and public school teacher, he has appeared on HBO’s “Def Poetry” and in Spike Lee’s #1 movie “Inside Man” with Denzel Washington. You can visit him online at: He is honored to be a part of this event.

The Robin and the Lady Poet are a hybrid-mix of music, poetry and performance. Robin Andre (musician, singer/songwriter and performer) and Erica Miriam Fabri (poet and performer) are NYC-based artists and partners in love. Their work embraces romantic and political storytelling and a touch of sexy humor and genuine heart goes into all that they do. For more info, please visit

An international poet, Samantha Thornhill has travelled throughout Africa and Europe to share her poetry with audiences of all types. In 2004, she received her Masters of Fine Arts in poetry from the University of Virgina. In New York City she serves as writer in residence at the Bronx Academy of Letters. In addition, she teaches poetry to actors in training at the Juilliard School. Last year, Scholastic Press published her ode to the late singer Odetta in the form of a picture book for children and adults, receiving starred reviews in Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, and School Library Journal. Under the umbrella of Bowery Arts & Sciences, Samantha founded the collective PUP (Pop Up Poets), galvanizing local poets to curate free poetry readings in unexpected public spaces. Thanks to a Jerome Foundation grant, Samantha was able to spend three months in her homeland, Trinidad & Tobago. For more info, please visit

Bonafide Rojas is a poet, musician, teacher, the author of "Pelo Bueno: A Day in the Life of a Nuyorican Poet" (Dark Souls Press, 2004), The 2002 SLAM THIS! Champion and member of the 2002 NYC/Union Square Slam team and 2003 Wicker Park/Chicago Slam Team. He has worked with Teachers and Writers (NY), ASPIRA of NY (NY), ENLACE (NY), Muevete! (NY), Youth Speaks (CA), The Guild Complex (IL), Young Chicago Authors (IL), and the Louder Arts Collective (NY). His work can be found in Bum Rush the Page: a Def Poetry Jam (Three Rivers Press, 2002), RoleCall: "A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art" (Third World Press, 2002) among others.

Internationally acclaimed poet, Ainsley Burrows has performed at festivals, cafés and institutions across Europe, America, Canada and the Caribbean, receiving numerous awards. These include Best International Performer of 2001 and 2002 from the Farrago Poetry Café in London, Munich’s International Poetry Slam Championship award in 2001 and awards from the Nuyorican Poet’s Café in 2001 (for participating in the National team) and the in 2004 (for being the Coach of the National team). In addition, Ainsley has conducted many workshops from London’s Hackney Community College to New York’s Julliard School of Music. For more info, please visit

Shanelle Gabriel is a soulful singer and a gifted writer/lyricist. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, she both opened and featured on the 6th season premier of HBO's Def Poetry Jam, and has performed in productions with Nas, Q-Tip, Les Nubians, Erick Sermon, and more. She was a member of the 2006 Nuyorican Poets Cafe National Slam Team and a competitor in the 2007 Individual World Poetry Slam Competition. Shanelle is presently working on her second album while facilitating creative writing workshops as an Urban Word Mentor and with Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. For more info, please visit

Doron Lev is a musician with a three-art band. Please visit his site at

Harvey Milk High School Students

A class of students worked with spoken word artists, Staceyann Chin and Samantha Thornhill to develop their own poems that will cover a range of topics including LGBT activism, immigration, their own family and childhood experiences. Harvey Milk High School, located in the East Village, is a public school that serves primarily gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered youth. It is also open to all New York City students who are seeking an alternative education from their current high schools. The school strives to provide students with an inclusive, safe, and supportive academic environment; one where students can freely express their identities and individuality. Harvey Milk has been a Behind the Book partner school for over five years.


Date: Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Location: One and One (downstairs Nexus Lounge) 76 East 1st Street (corner of 1st Avenue), Manhattan, New York 10009

Minimum donation: $25 @ the door, $20 if paid in advance online through this link:

Doors open @ 6:30pm, Show starts @ 6:45pm

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