Asian American Literature, Asian American Studies, Multiethnic Studies, African American Literature, U.S. Literature to Realism
A twice-Emmy nominated and multiple award-winning spoken word poet, educator, and activist, Michelle Myers shares work that emphasizes personal empowerment and community building. For almost 20 years, Michelle has inspired audiences with her spoken word poetry performances and raised awareness through her workshops.
Michelle first gained national and international acclaim by appearing on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam as an original cast member and as a founding member of the spoken word poetry group Yellow Rage. She is the recipient of a Leeway Foundation Transformation Award as well as an Art and Change Grant for her art and social justice work. Based in the Philadelphia-area, Michelle and her performance work have been featured at hundreds of college campuses and many distinguished venues around the country, including the Painted Bride Arts Center, the Bowery Poetry Club, the Asian American Writers Workshop, the Asian Arts Initiative, the Kennedy Center, the Loft Literary Center, the Sierra Arts Foundation, the Japanese American National Museum, and the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. Employing multiple poetic forms and delivery styles—including storytelling, hip-hop-influenced rhyme, and song—Michelle harnesses the raw and intimate power of spoken word poetry in her performances in order to take audiences on an unforgettable journey that educates, challenges, and inspires. She is currently working on a new volume of poetry, tentatively titled Prayers from the Lost-and-Found.
As an educator, Michelle holds a PhD in English from Temple University; she currently is an Associate Professor in the English Department at Community College of Philadelphia and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Asian Studies Program at Temple University. As a faculty member at Temple, Michelle supports the Asian Students Association with many on-campus activities as well as collaborates with ASA on offering a workshop series called “Girls Make Better Ninjas: AAPI Feminism Workshop.” At Community College of Philadelphia, she serves as the faculty advisor of the Spoken Word Poetry Club; the club was presented with a 2015 Spotlight Award and was nominated for Club of the Year. During the 2014-15 academic year, Michelle collaborated with CCPTV to develop a spoken word competition TV show for CCP students called Drop the Mic, which she also hosts. In addition to receiving a 2015 and 2016 nomination for a Mid-Atlantic Emmy, the show has won a 2015 Silver Communicator Award and a 2015 Bronze Telly Award.
Born in Seoul, South Korea to a Korean mother and a white American father serving in the U.S. Air Force, Michelle draws from her personal experiences as a biracial Korean American woman to write poetry that challenges mainstream misconceptions of Asianness and explores the intersections of race, culture, gender, community, and self. Ultimately, she believes in the transformative power of spoken word poetry.