October 18, 2011

The Nation’s Third Oldest College Newspaper

Volume 82, Issue 3

'Def Poetry Jam' originator comes to NU

A Niagara University alumnus and the co-founder of Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam, Bruce George is returning to Niagara University next week to speak about the politics of artistic expression.

George explained that he founded the popular HBO series.

I'm the creator of it; I actually brought the concept of ˜Def Poetry Jam' to Danny Simmons, who is Russell Simmons' big brother, who brought it to Russell, he said.

George is coming to NU to speak about the politics or the art of artistic expression in cartoons, film, television “ you name it. In other words, all art is political. I'm going to talk about the politics of cartoons, the politics of television, the politics of film and the politics of literature, as well.

Director of Multicultural and International Student Affairs David Blackburn said that, in addition to the spoken piece, He'll be doing a creative writing workshop. ... And he'll be doing a poetry/spoken word showcase, which George may participate in as well as supervise.

NU students are encouraged to participate in the showcase. People who took part in the workshop can share some of their writings. Also, there are a lot of poets on campus “ a lot of students are writing “ so we'd like to give a platform for people to share those things, Blackburn said.

George will be on campus Thursday, Oct. 27. His presentation will be at 3:30 p.m., the creative writing workshop will begin at 6 p.m., and the spoken word/poetry showcase will be at 7:30 p.m. All three events will be held in Bisgrove Hall, Room 350.

George's appearance is sponsored by MISA, NU Diversity Advocates and the Niagara University Poetry Society.

George looks forward to returning to NU. I'm an alumni of Niagara University and I'm proud of that. I love the fact that I had great professors. ... It was a good education, he said.

George has a B.A. in psychology with a minor in philosophy from NU. He spent seven years in the mental health field and got into sales before co-founding Def Poetry Jam. He created the concept for The Bandana Republic, which is an anthology of poetry and stories from gang leaders, members and affiliates. George is currently working on another anthology: Street Smarts: An Anthology of Urban Survival Strategies.

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