superpowerpoetry – Spoken Word meets Slam Poetry meets Hip-Hop

Yugen Blakrok

Yugen Blakrok © Christopher Terhart

Since the release of her debut album, but especially since Anima Mysterium (I.O.T Records 2019), Yugen Blakrok (born in 1984 in the Eastern Cape Province) has been regarded as South Africa’s queen of underground rap. She herself describes her work as “alternative hip hop” which combines the “darker and more lyrical sides” of the genre. Her lyrics and Spoken Word texts are futuristic, bulging, virtuoso and complex. They are full of dense metaphors and old knowledge.

Yugen Blakrok grew up on a farm in the Eastern Cape Province and began listening to hip hop in the late 1990s – artists such as Public Enemy, Zulu Nation, Wu-Tang Clan and De La Soul. In 2002 she moved from Cape Town to Grahamstown and made her first public performance in 2004 at the Hiphocalypse Mixtapes Festival. In 2007 she moved to Johannesburg where she was signed by the producer and sample artist Kanif the JhatMaster. Her first album, Return of the Astro-Goth, was released in 2013. The appearance of a song by Blakrok, recorded with Vince Staples and Kendrick Lamar, on the soundtrack of the Marvel blockbuster Black Panther was a major moment for contemporary South African music.


Return of the Astro-Goth, Iapetus, 2013    

Anima Mysterium, I.O.T Records, 2019

Sarah Kay

Sarah Kay © privat

Sarah Kay is a poet from New York City. Since she was just 13 she has been writing and performing Spoken Word poems. She came to fame in 2006 when she was a guest on HBO‘s “Russell Simmons presents Def Poetry Jam” and was also the youngest poet in the National Poetry Slam. Since then Kay has been presenting her work on stages and in classrooms all over the world. Her 2011 TED Talk has been watched online more than 7 million times.

Sarah Kay has a master’s degree in The Art of Teaching from Brown University and an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Grinnell College. Her first book, B, reached No. 1 in Amazon’s “Poetry Book” category. Her latest book, No Matter the Wreckage was also a bestseller in the ‘American Poetry’ section. Sarah Kay is a passionate educator who assists in professional development workshops and speaks at conferences such as IBO, NAIS, ECIS and AISA.


book B, The Domino Project, 2011

No Matter The Wreckage. write bloody publishing, 2014

Francesca Beard

Francesca Beard © Carlos Cazurro

Francesca Beard was born in Malaysia and grew up in the 1970s in Penang, an idyllic island paradise. She is a writer, performer and workshop leader. Beard has toured at home and around the world as a solo artist, in various poetry collectives and with her solo show “Chinese Whispers”.

She represents British literature for the British Council all over the world and was Lead Artist for Speechless, a three-year programme in the whole of East Asia, which culminated in an appearance in the Royal Festival Hall by aspiring poets from Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. Her children’s show Animal Olympics, developed in collaboration with the Chinese Arts Center and the Soho Theatre, was premiered at the Imagine Children’s Festival on the South Bank before going on tour around Britain and throughout the world. She has written plays for BBC Radio 4 and in 2008 was involved with the Royal Court Theatre as one of the UK’s most exciting young writers.


White Open Spaces, Oberon Books Ltd, 2006

The Dictionary of Lost and Found Ideas: An Anthology by the First Story Group at Saint Gabriel's College, First Story Limited, 2018

Julian Heun

Julian Heun © Fabian Stuertz

Julian Heun (b. 1989 in Berlin) is a writer, slam poet and show host from Berlin-Konradshöhe. He writes and speaks in the space between artful humour and humorous art. Three times German-language Poetry Slam Champion, he works for Fritz Radio and the creative agency DOJO. He has been a feature of poetry slams and cabaret stages since 2007 and has won more than ten prizes. He has been a guest of the Goethe Institute at international poetry festivals in Europe, Africa and South and North America. Julian Heun studied Comparative Literature and German, while also writing for the Bildzeitung newspaper and the satiric TV show Neo Magazin Royale. In 2013 his first novel, Strawberry Fields Berlin, was published by Rowohlt. In addition he organises and hosts with the “Edellauchs” Berlin’s biggest poetry slams in the Ritter Butzke, the Volksbühne theatre and the Strandbad as well as the 2019 German-language Poetry Slam Championships.


Strawberry Fields Berlin. Roman, Rowohlt, Reinbek 2014


German-Language Poetry Slam Champion (U20) 2007

Winner Slam Tour with Kuttner 2008

Berlin Poetry Slam Champion 2009

Goldener Stuttgarter Besen, 2010

Audience Award Stuttgarter Besen 2010

Herborner Schlumpeweck 2011

Berlin Poetry Slam Champion 2011

German-Language Poetry Slam Champion (Team) 2013

German-Language Poetry Slam Champion (Team) 2017

Berlin Poetry Slam Champion 2019