James Kass and Paul S. Flores

Thursday, May 3, 2018, 7:00 pm
Photos of James Kass and Paul S. Flores performing on stage
The Youth Speaks co-founders read from their poetry. Founded in 1996, Youth Speaks is one of the leading nonprofit presenters of spoken word performance, education and youth development programs in the country. The Ford Foundation recently named Youth Speaks as one of the 10 most important arts organizations in the nation’s future; the Wallace Foundation named Youth Speaks among the eight exemplary arts education organizations in the nation. Free.
Humanities Building, The Poetry Center (Room 512)
The Poetry Center
The Poetry Center
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James Kass

Kass (M.F.A., Creative Writing, ’99) is an award-winning writer, educator, producer and media maker. He is widely credited with helping to launch the youth spoken-word movement, working with tens of thousands of young people from across the country — and helping launch more than 50 programs nationwide — to help them find, develop, present and apply their voices as leaders of societal change.

Creator and co-executive producer of the HBO series Brave New Voices, Kass also created the concept and served as the artistic director of the PBS series Poetic License, created the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival and serves as executive editor of First Word Press.

Kass has received several awards for his writing, his work in the nonprofit sector and his work as an educator. Widely published, James curated the poetry for the first-ever White House Poetry Jam, performing in front of the First Family, and was invited to be one of the first 35 people to meet the administration’s arts action team.

Paul S. Flores

Flores (M.F.A., Creative Writing, ’00) is a published poet, performance artist, playwright and well-known spoken-word artist. He was raised in Chula Vista and spent much of his youth in Tijuana, Mexico. Flores’ PEN Award-winning novel Along the Border Lifes reflects this experience.

Flores’ work explores the intersection of urban culture, hip-hop and transnational identity. His spoken word poem “Brown Dreams” from HBO’s Def Poetry has been viewed on YouTube more than 100,000 times and continues to inform and influence young people all over the United States.

Flores manages the Latino Men and Boys Program, funded by The California Endowment, at the Unity Council in East Oakland. He is also adjunct faculty of theatre at University of San Francisco. He lives in San Francisco with his children.


Photo of James Kass by Bethanie Hines. Photo of Paul S. Flores by Ralph Alswang.