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Friday October 27, 2000

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Poetic renaissance

UA Poetry Center sponsors hip-hop slam

Despite its academic prestige, literary poetry has long been saddled with an image problem - it is seen as staid and stuffy, the province of turtlenecked intellectuals or old men writing rhymes about snow.

But this may be changing. Modern poetry is currently in the grips of a renaissance sparked by hip-hop and slam poetry - work meant to be performed aloud.

Tucson audiences can get a taste of this new vitality tonight at the Rialto Theatre as the UA Poetry Center presents Mondo Hip-hop, a multimedia celebration of contemporary poetry. Although it is billed as part of the Poetry Center's Visiting Poets and Writers Reading Series, the event is more than just a poetry reading.

In addition to readings by nationally-established spoken-word artists Tracie Morris and DJ Renegade, Mondo Hip-hop will feature performances by local poets Heidi Haro and University of Arizona fine arts sophomore Anton Smith (see sidebar), as well as local DJs, breakdancers and African drummers.

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