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Poetry out loud 

Sarah Kay was just 14 years old when she discovered spoken word poetry, but she knew she was hooked.

“I felt that my two secret loves, poetry and theater, had come together and had a baby,” the teacher and poet explained during a recent TED conference.

click to enlarge KAY AND KAYE:  Sarah Kay and fellow spoken word poet Phil Kaye (no relation) are the co-directors of Project V.O.I.C.E. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SHELLEY MALCOLM
  • KAY AND KAYE: Sarah Kay and fellow spoken word poet Phil Kaye (no relation) are the co-directors of Project V.O.I.C.E.

In 2004, Kay started Project V.O.I.C.E. (Vocal Outreach Into Creative Expression) as a way to bring spoken word poetry to new audiences and promote the art form as a relevant means of communication and expression. Kay and the project’s co-director, fellow poet, published author, and teacher Phil Kaye (no relation), frequently take their spoken word performances and workshops on the road. To date, the two have performed at the United Nations and in India, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

Kaye, who grew up in California, has appeared on NPR, coached and performed on the 2011 Providence National Poetry Team, and published his first book, A Light Bulb Symphony, in 2011.

Kay hails from New York City, where she spent many evenings at the Bowery Poetry Club, a famed spoken word venue. “I use poetry to help me work through what I don’t understand,” she said, “but I show up to each new poem with a backpack full of everywhere else I’ve been.”

On Sunday, Jan. 15, at 7:30 p.m., Kay and Kaye’s original poetry will captivate audiences at Arroyo Grande’s Clark Center for the Performing Arts. General admission is $10; students pay $5. The Clark Center is at 487 Fair Oaks Ave. in Arroyo Grande. Call 489-9444 or visit for tickets or more information. A meet and greet for sponsors and patrons will follow at Gather Wine Bar.

The public is also invited to two free Project V.O.I.C.E. workshops on Sunday, Jan. 15 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. and on Monday, Jan. 16 (TBA) at La Perla Del Mar Chapel, located at 205 Windward Ave. in Shell Beach. Call 748-5587 or visit for more information.

For more on Project V.O.I.C.E., visit


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