Powerful poetry by fierce women

Masterful, riveting performances of lyric, rhythm and rhyme.

  1. 4:36
    Sunni Patterson "Wild Women"

    With lightning on her tongue, Sunni Patterson performs her powerful poem, "Wild Women," accompanied by the entrancing moves of dancer Chanice Holmes.

  2. 18:25
    Sarah Kay If I should have a daughter ...

    "If I should have a daughter, instead of Mom, she's gonna call me Point B ... " began spoken word poet Sarah Kay, in a talk that inspired two standing ovations at TED2011. She tells the story of her metamorphosis — from a wide-eyed teenager soaking in verse at New York's Bowery Poetry Club to a teacher connecting kids with the power of self-expression through Project V.O.I.C.E. — and gives two breathtaking performances of "B" and "Hiroshima." Sarah is also the host of TED's podcast "Sincerely, X."

  3. 6:23
    Asali DeVan Ecclesiastes "Chasms"

    Writer and activist Asali DeVan Ecclesiastes lights up the stage with a powerful poem about hope, truth and the space between who we are and who we want to be.

  4. 11:57
    Robin Morgan 4 powerful poems about Parkinson's and growing older

    When poet Robin Morgan found herself facing Parkinson’s disease, she distilled her experiences into these four quietly powerful poems — meditating on age, loss, and the simple power of noticing.

  5. 7:49
    Mwende "FreeQuency" Katwiwa Black life at the intersection of birth and death

    "It is the artist's job to unearth stories that people try to bury with shovels of complacency and time," says poet and freedom fighter Mwende "FreeQuency" Katwiwa. Performing her poem "The Joys of Motherhood," Katwiwa explores the experience of Black mothers in America and discusses the impact of the Movement for Black Lives — because, she says, it's impossible to separate the two.

  6. 29:18
    Natalie Merchant Singing old poems to life

    Natalie Merchant sings from her poetry-inspired album "Leave Your Sleep," which pairs lyrics from poets — from Gerard Manley Hopkins to a near-forgotten 10-year-old girl in Brooklyn — with simple melodies and her unmistakable voice. Stay for an encore performance of her hit "Thank You," dedicated to a notable philanthropist in the audience.

  7. 3:57
    Chinaka Hodge What will you tell your daughters about 2016?

    With words like shards of glass, Chinaka Hodge cuts open 2016 and lets 12 months of violence, grief, fear, shame, courage and hope spill out in this original poem about a year none of us will soon forget.