Def Poetry Jam

Artists and Mental Illness Interview Series: Bassey Ikpi

Artists and Mental Illness Interview Series: Bassey Ikpi

Bassey Ikpi is a Nigerian-born poet, writer, spoken word artist, and mental health advocate. She has been a cast member of Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam and is the founder of The Siwe Project, a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote mental health awareness throughout the global black community. Both Ikpi's work and her advocacy reflect passion and social consciousness, woven together with raw and fervent honesty. In this interview, Ikpi shared with me her story.

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Talking Paper Interview Series: Amy Saul-Zerby

Talking Paper Interview Series: Amy Saul-Zerby

Amy Saul-Zerby is a Philadelphia-based poet and managing editor of Voicemail Poems. Her writing has appeared in The YOLO PagesPainted Bride Quarterly, and other publications. Among her inspirations are digital image macros, and in 2013 she self-published a collection of Snapchat poetry titled 10 Seconds in Heaven. She joined Voicemail Poems in 2014, two years after its founding by Jamie J. Mortara during 2012’s National Poetry Month. A collection of Saul-Zerby’s poetry, Paper Flowers (Imaginary Birds), is being published through Punk Hostage Press. In July 2015, she journeyed to New York City to take part in a Nomadic Press-organized reading at Nunu Chocolates Café & Tap Room with fellow Punk Hostage authors A. RazorPuma Perl, and James Anthony Tropeano. I later followed up with Saul-Zerby and interviewed her about working with Punk Hostage Press, Voicemail Poems, the importance of readings, and the Philadelphia literary scene.

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