Kane Smego – Spoken Word Poet, Hip Hop Artist // Stories for Change

Kane Smego’s programs offer the possibility of a virtual performance/keynote, a workshop, and a Q&A session. The duration and content of each component is flexible, and the material presented can be tailored to appropriately fit the age group with whom he is working (see below for specific program offerings). In addition, Kane is an experienced event emcee and can be hired to host your virtual open mic, talent show, or performance showcase!


Kane Smego is an international touring spoken word poet and hip hop artist, youth educator, and National Poetry Slam finalist. He has performed across the country and abroad on five continents, and his poetry and music has been featured on NPR, American Public Media, BET, and All Def Digital. Kane’s one-man show, Temples of Lung and Air, is an autobiographical work of hip hop theater that has played in North Carolina, Detroit, and New York City. Kane has also been a performer and keynote speaker at dozens of conferences, has worked with over 70 colleges and universities, and won the award for best Educational Session at NACA South 2017. A native of Durham, NC Kane currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.

Smego’s dynamic presentation shares his experiences navigating the complexities of race, class, and gender in his own life, and addresses issues related to multiculturalism, inclusion, and intersectional identity.

Literacy, and Social-emotional Wellness: His workshops promote social-emotional wellness, explore themes of identity and inclusion, while also building formal writing and public speaking skills. His unique curriculum can be tailored to match the age group with which he is working, from elementary, middle and high school students, to undergraduate and graduate university students, and even teacher trainings for faculty or administrators. In all of his workshops, Kane offers examples and models through live performance of his own work, and through the sharing of videos and texts from other writer-performers.


Word Up! (High School and College)

We all have a story to tell, what’s yours? Drawing on the concept of intersectionality pioneered by Kimberly Crenshaw and harnessing the power of poetry, this dynamic workshop helps students tell their own stories and delve into their unique perspectives. As they are guided through a specific process, students will explore the myriad layers that make up their social identities, and create original works that celebrate the experiential wisdom each of them wields. Whether self-identified writers or beginners attempting the art form for the first time, this workshop will provide participants with the tools and guidance they need to craft powerful narratives in their own words.

Writing Our Origin Stories: (Elementary and Middle School)

“I am from” poems, or poems about our origins, are a great introduction to narrative poetry, and spoken word. They are universal, as everyone has an origin and a place where they find their roots. This workshop serves as an exploration of identity through describing the place, people, and culture that one comes from. In addition, it introduces the concept of “showing” rather than “telling” in poetry, or using vivid imagery rather than plain, explanatory language to tell a story. For participants in Middle/High school, this workshop can be expanded to include mini-lessons on figurative language and other literary devices

History Through My Eyes: (High School) 

This workshop leads students in creating powerful retellings of historical events that they are studying in class, while utilizing the literary devices of personification and anthropomorphism, and 1st person point of view. Kane designs the lesson to correspond with subjects covered in class, from courses on the Civil Rights Movement, the Great Depression, World War II, or events from more recent history. 

Banking On Our Knowledge: (High School)

This creative writing workshop helps students improve their use of figurative language and literary devices in their personal narratives, including simile/metaphor, extended metaphor, double entendre, and other forms of wordplay. Building on the idea that we are all experts in different areas of knowledge, students are first asked to tap their memories in choosing important moments from their own lives. Then, by accessing their “areas of expertise,” students develop word lists that harness the vocabularies of these areas and infuse them into their written pieces. This exercise in making connections between seemingly unrelated texts demonstrates the power of figurative language in linking ideas and creating striking images.

Course Content

YouTh ink. Curriculum and Literacy for Elementary, Middle, and Highschool