Sarah Kay, a spoken word poet known for her TED talks, performed some of her latest work in honor of the official release of her new book for a full house at the Oberon theater Sunday night.
The poetry collection, entitled “No Matter the Wreckage,” includes poetry written within the last decade, beginning when she was 14.
Hosted by comedian Lori Strauss, the launch event had both emotional and humorous moments. Kay, along with friends and artists such as poet Laura Lamb Brown-Lavoie and singer Kayla Ringelheim, presented poems on a range of topics, including love, pain, and womanhood.
She recounted stories of her first love, New York City roots, and passion for teaching.
“The thing I love about Sarah is [not only] her poetic genius, but the stories she has to tell,” said TEDGlobal Fellow and guitarist Usman Riaz, who also joined Kay at the launch event.
A graduate of Brown University, Kay founded Project V.O.I.C.E., a movement to encourage students worldwide to express themselves through spoken word poetry, in 2004. Her widely popular TED talk, entitled “If I Should Have a Daughter,” has been viewed over five million times online. She appears in a number of other YouTube videos with similar success.
“I am always excited about poetry,” Kay said. “I continue to be excited by this book and that people continue to be excited to hear poetry.”
Despite her online success, Kay said she still faced many obstacles in the process of creating “No Matter the Wreckage.”
“I write spoken word to be performed,” Kay said. “I had to find a way to put my poems on paper in such a way that when you would read them it sounds to the reader the way I intended.”
Kay previously published a book entitled “B,” which is a transcription of her TED talk “If I Should Have a Daughter.”
When teaching at workshops around the world, Kay said she is frequently asked about her writing process and difficulties she faces as a writer. She often jokingly offers wisdom to her younger students.
“A poem is like pooping. If the poem is inside you, it has to come out,” Kay said.