Kane "Novakane" Smego
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Kane "Novakane" Smego

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"Poetic Portraits of a Revolution"

Poetic Portraits of a Revolution

This summer on Morning Edition, we're keeping tabs on three young poets and a photographer as they travel through North Africa. This section collects their reports and poems.

Poetic Portraits of a Revolution

Poetry and politics take the stage in a new play based on the travels of young artists who visited Egypt and Tunisia following the Arab Spring.

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Poetic Portraits of a Revolution: Home Sweet Home

The poets return home safely after a summer trip to Egypt and Tunisia to see the revolution unfold before their eyes, and document it all.

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Poetic Portraits of a Revolution: Ramadan

The poets we've followed through North Africa send back this Portrait of a Revolution

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Poetic Portraits of a Revolution: Ayya

The next installment of Poetic Portraits of a Revolution as three Triangle poets travel through Tunisia.

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Poetic Portraits of a Revolution: Tunisia

The three young poet's we're following on Morning Edition continue their project with a visit to Tunisia.

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Poetic Portraits of a Revolution: The Pyramids

The next installation of Poetic Portraits of a Revolution: The Pyramids

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Poetic Portraits of a Revolution: Tahrir Square

The third installment of Poetic Portraits of a Revolution: three Triangle poets encounter a demonstration in Tahrir Square.

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Poetic Portraits of a Revolution: Cairo

Three young poets from the Triangle continue their interpretation of the recent revolution in Egypt.

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Poetic Portraits of a Revolution: Airports

Three young poets from the Triangle present the first installment in a series of pieces from their trip to Egypt and Tunisia.

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Printed through Kunaki 2011
13 Tracks of poetry and hip hop

Poem featured on King Mez's album "My Everlasting Zeal" which was co-produced by Soundtrack and J. Cole.



Kane “Novakane” Smego is a nationally-recognized spoken word poet and Artistic Director of Sacrificial Poets whose dynamic workshops explore the power of stories and voice as powerful tools for self- transformation, non-violent resistance, and community engagement. Immediately following the popular revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt in January 2010, Kane felt inspired to learn from the stories of the young people driving these powerful movements, and to share them with the world through art and oral history documentation. Smego teamed up with two other young poets and a film-maker and created Poetic Portraits of a Revolution (PPR2011), a project produced by the Academy Award-winning documentary film organization the Empowerment Project.
While in North Africa, the interviews, on the ground experiences at protests and rallies, and poetic reflections which Smego helped create in Poetic Portraits of Revolution were aired as an eight week radio series on “Morning Edition” and are also are currently being transformed into a live performance accompanying Tony Award-winning South African playwright Athol Fugard’s Blood Knot. Kane continues to travel and engage new audiences, having just recently returned from a three and a half month national tour in which he performed his work and facilitated workshops in 32 cities and 17 states.
Kane grew up in the Durham-Chapel Hill area, and recently graduated with highest distinction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill class of 2010, where he was awarded the Sterling A. Stoudemire Award for Excellence. He is a National Poetry Slam Finalist who has featured at such historic venues as the Nuyorican Poets Café in NYC, the 2010 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, and the birth place of Slam Poetry, Chicago’s Green Mill. His accolades include:

•Four-time member of the Bull City Slam Team that finished 3rd at the 2010 National Poetry Slam (St. Paul, MN)
•2010 Southern Fried Southern Regional Poetry Slam Champion (Knoxville, TN)
•2010 National Poetry Awards- ‘Slam Artist of the Year’
•Won 1st place at the Lake Eden Arts Festival (LEAF) annual poetry slam amidst some of the nation’s top poets.
•Finished 14th in the world out of 80 poets at the 2008 Individual World Poetry Slam (IWPS)
•Primary author of the Sacrificial Poets/YouTh ink. curriculum, and is the founder of Poetic Justice, an afterschool program focused on teaching Spoken Word and Hip Hop education to “at risk” and underserved youth in Durham, NC.

Kane’s performances are individualized, depending on the theme and context of the event. They can range from serious issues to light humor and cover topics from social commentary to introspection.

Education - Writing and Performance Workshops:
Through the use of the spoken and written word, the Youth ink. curriculum helps participants “find their voice” through a focus on exploring identity, understanding the historical context and power of the oral tradition, and using poetry as a tool for therapy and healing, community engagement, conflict resolution, and non-violent resistance.

Kane presents on a number of topics that include “Poetry is our Weapon: How Youth Voices are Changing the World”, “The Art of Personal Stories: Humanizing the News, Journalism, and History”, “Who I Really Am: Spoken Word and Constructing Identity”, and “Metaphor and Medicine: Poetry as Therapy and Introspective Healing.” He also explores art as a tool for community engagement and activism, as well as knowledge acquisition and information transmission.