F134. The Written Orality of Hip Hop Lyricism

Room 207B, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Friday, February 10, 2017
9:00 am to 10:15 am


From the early rap record liner notes to the annotation explosion of Genius.com, hip hop artists and audiences have always engaged the written as well as the oral textuality of rap lyrics. However, treating hip hop lyricism as written literature is a fraught proposition. Locating rap at the crossroads of written and oral traditions of African American culture, the panel evaluates rap as a written art that is symbiotically wedded to oral culture.



Victorio Reyes is an activist and artist. He holds an MFA degree from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches poetry classes at Siena College. His poems are forthcoming or have been published in the Mandala Journal, Word Riot, and the anthology It Was Written: Poetry Inspired by Hip Hop.

Tara Betts is the author of Break the Habit and Arc & Hue, as well as the chapbooks Never Been Lois Lane and 7 x 7: kwansabas and the libretto THE GREATEST!: An Homage to Muhammad Ali. She is a visiting lecturer in the First Year Writing Program at University of Illinois-Chicago.

Jonah Mixon-Webster is a poet, sound artist, and educator from Flint, Michigan. He is a PhD candidate in English studies at Illinois State University. His work is featured or forthcoming in Muzzle, Kinfolks, Spoon River Poetry Review, Blueshift Journal, Assaracus, Callaloo, and Voluble.


March 8–11, 2023
Seattle, Washington

Seattle Convention Center