33 years old // Poet, author, professor, and cofounder of the teen poetry festival Louder Than a Bomb // Raised in Northbrook; lives in Ukrainian Village
I get up at 7:23 in the morning and I write. I attribute everything I've done to that time. I've been building my whole life around 7:23. // My childhood was not what we imagine life in the suburbs to be. My folks got divorced when I was seven, and we moved nine times because we were running from landlords and debt collectors. My mom was just trying to keep us in the school system. // I go out to suburban high schools, and the kids say they don't have any stories to tell. I'm like, "Really? Actually, you do." My hope is that they become comfortable with the everyday stories of their lives and understand that, in those, there is meaning and history. // I do my little bits in between my stories and anecdotes. * I'm a little like the Woody Allen of hip-hop and poetry. // Dating a poet could be a good gig. Poets are attentive. And it doesn't get more romantic than a poet, does it?
* When performing onstage, including repeat gigs on Russell Simmons's Def Poetry on HBO
Green chair from Orange Skin, 223 W. Erie St., Suite 1 NW, Chicago, IL 60610, orangeskin.com; Crow from Phroggart Studios