Spoken-word artist Williams to talk Feb. 16

The celebrated spoken-word artist Saul Williams will give a presentation on “The Connection Between Hip-Hop and Poetry” at 11 a.m. Feb. 16 in Graham Chapel. The Assembly Series event will serve as the Social Justice Center Lecture.

His poetry, known as “spoken word,” consists of fast words that have an innate rhythm to them, like hip-hop. The goal of the spoken-word movement is to bring poetry back to the people.

Saul Williams
Saul Williams

Spoken-word artists often compete in “slams,” where one poet sounds off against another. Audience members chosen at random judge the events.

Williams became the Grand Slam Champion in 1996 at the Nuyorican Poet’s Café in New York City. The café has become an acclaimed forum for innovative poetry, music, hip-hop, visual arts, comedy and theater.

In 1998, Williams appeared in Slam, a film that details the life of a young man in prison who discovers the power of poetry and uses it to regain his sense of self. The film won awards at both the Cannes and Sundance film festivals.

Besides acting and poetry, Williams has written several books including: She; The Seventh Octave: The Early Writings of Saul Williams; and, said the shotgun to the head. As a musician/poet, Williams has three CDs to his credit. These are the recently released Saul Williams, 2003’s Not in My Name and his 2001 debut, Amethyst Rock Star.

Williams earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s in acting from New York University.

Assembly Series talks are free and open to the public. For more information, go online to assemblyseries.wustl.edu or call 935-4620.