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Spoken word artists Arisson Stanfield and Kent Washington are young men engaged in an age old art form. Long before writing but through a cycle of reciting, listening and memorizing, each language drew on its resources of sound structure for aural patterns that made spoken poetry very different from ordinary discourse and easier to commit to memory.

Arisson is a philosophy major at Colorado State University—and it shows in his poetry. Thoughtful and evocative, each word is, unto itself, a work of art. He speaks to issues African American men face in today’s society.

Kent, also a CSU student, is a theater major concentrating on lighting design. In addition to being a slam poet, he is a rap artist. Like Arisson, his poetry points a lens at how society views young African American men and what that means to his life.