THE WORD is growing

Word Coop cast 2014This year 100 students at 12 New Haven schools wrote original poems and raps published in a chapbook or performed at two Citywide Youth Poetry Jams. (Check out articles in the Independent, Register, and a special feature on Solar Youth poets, with videos!) They were helped by 3 poets-in-residence and 20 classroom teachers and organizers. If you were one of those who made it happen, thank you. If not, here’s how you can be down in 2014-15:

If you are a New Haven middle school or high school student poet, emcee or spoken word artist, contact me to be a part of next year’s Citywide Poetry Jam.

If you are a New Haven teacher excited about engaging students through poetry, hip-hop and spoken word, contact me: I have resources for you, and stuff to learn from you.

If you are a badass poet or emcee who wants to ignite a poetic renaissance in the New Haven Public Schools, where have you been all my life? Contact me.

If you want to help fund any of this, contact the Institute Library, and/or me.

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Composer Byron Au Yong and I were artists-in-residence at the 2014 International Festival of Arts & Ideas to develop Trigger, a theatrical oratorio about belonging and isolation prompted by the Virginia Tech Tragedy.

We learned from inspiring performances and meetings with the creators of County of Kings, Cry You One, The Events and Santa Cecilia.

Here is the poem I read at the Water, Arts & Activism panel (Apologies to all of you to whom I promised I’d post it the next day, which was a month ago).

Byron asked Can Art Mediate Conflict?, and we wrote a bunch of new songs and raps for Trigger, which a brave group of 32 workshop participants helped us play with in our (un)master(ful) class Working Through It.

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HOW TO BREAK is on a top-secret mission

Amber Reauchean Williams as Ana, by Benjamin Heller

After headlining the 2012 Hip-Hop Theater Festival at HERE in NYC, HOW TO BREAK came to New Haven in 2013 with Collective Consciousness Theatre and Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital’s Arts for Healing Festival, which featured the art and poetry of 50 young patients living with chronic illness, and a new musical created by local teenagers with sickle cell disease. Afterwards, HOW TO BREAK was heard yelling something like “Yarrrr! This Arts for Healing Festival was so transformative I want to collaborate with children’s hospitals and theatres all over the country… no… the world!”

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STUCK ELEVATOR kick-starts comprehensive immigration reform in my brain

Me and Byron’s show is so ready to tour, the Variety review calls it a “ready-to-tour” title. Tour producer Thomas Kriegsmann / ArKtype is kicking butts and taking names of presenters bringing Stuck Elevator (and the NEFA National Theatre Project touring subsidy that comes with it) to their theatres in 2014-2016. Contact Tommy ( 917-386-5468) if you want to jump on the bandwagon tour of the critically-acclaimed ACT/Long Wharf/International Festival of Arts & Ideas version. Contact my agent Peregrine Whittlesey ( / 212-787-1802) if you love the show so much you have to create your own production and/or if you want practice saying “Peregrine Whittlesey.”

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The name of my new literary agent is Peregrine Whittlesey.

I know. It’s the coolest name of anyone I know personally who’s not an imaginary friend. Contact her if you’re a theatre interested in KINGDOM, STUCK ELEVATOR or HOW TO BREAK: / 212-787-1802.

P.S.- “Peregrine” means roving or traveling, and a Peregrine Falcon is the fastest animal in the world. What.PeregrineFalconNet

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HOW TO BREAK in NYC Oct 18-Nov 4

A brand-new creation by the Mixing Texts Collective (playwright Aaron Jafferis, breaking pioneers Kwikstep + Rokafella, beatboxers Adam Matta + Yako 440, indie rocker Rebecca Hart, director Christopher Edwards) and a dynamite team of actors and designers, HOW TO BREAK will bring its sick self to NYC this October 18 – November 4 with HERE and the Hip-Hop Theater Festival, in association with Collective Consciousness Theatre.

Check out the feature “Writing on the Paper of Hip Hop” on

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  • “Creative riches explode from one small, claustrophobic space in ‘Stuck Elevator,’ the extraordinary musical that... pack[s] an epic’s worth of inspired music and inspirational content, performances and design... A vibrant opera-musical theater hybrid with a story both personally compelling and eye-opening.” – San Francisco Chronicle
  • About Aaron

    Aaron Jafferis is a hip hop poet and playwright. Read his bio, his CV, or contact him.