To commence and close the conference, the Department has invited a State-based scholar, Dr. Maisha Tulivu Fisher (of Emory University), a retired public school teacher, Joe Ubiles (of New York City), and a dynamic group of four young performance poets, representing The Rebel Poets, a spoken word collective with whom Fisher and Ubiles have worked over the past several years. Dr. Fisher and Mr. Ubiles’ keynote lecture will focus on the significance of language and literacy in the lives of marginalized, urban, public school youth and the trajectory of the Rebel Poets, from their early years as struggling students in a neglected, under-resourced Bronx high school, to their gradual emergence as powerful writers and spoken word performers who have dynamically and unapologetically presented their critical and witty reflections to audiences across New York and the wider United States, as well as in international forums.

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