By Gianna Macchia
Today we’re pleased to welcome Peter Kahn to the WNDB blog to discuss Respect the Mic: Celebrating 20 Years of Poetry from a Chicagoland High School, which was released on February 1, 2022 by Penguin Workshop.
A former Chicago social worker, Peter Kahn has been an English teacher since 1994 and a Spoken Word Educator since 2003 at Oak Park/River Forest High School. His students can be seen in Louder Than a Bomb and America to Me. A founding member of the London poetry collective Malika’s Kitchen, he co-founded the London Teenage Poetry Slam and, as a Visiting Fellow at Goldsmiths-University of London, created the Spoken Word Education Training Programme. He earned his MA in English Education from The Ohio State University, student taught at Columbus East High School and taught for the Young Scholars Program. Peter was a featured speaker at the National Council of Teachers of English’s annual convention and runner-up in the NCTE and Penguin Random House Maya Angelou Teacher Award for Poetry. Along with Patricia Smith and Ravi Shankar, he edited The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks reviewed in The New York Times by Claudia Rankine. Along with Hanif Abdurraqib, Franny Choi, and former student Dan “Sully” Sullivan, he edited Respect the Mic: Celebrating 20 Years of Poetry from a Chicagoland High School, deemed “Electric and Expansive” by Kirkus Reviews. Peter’s 2020 poetry collection Little Kings has poems featured in The London Guardian and The Forward Book of Poetry.
Gianna Macchia is a Milwaukee-based educator and high school literacy coach. She believes reading cultivates empathy, and the more educators can encourage students to read, write, think, and discuss outside of their own perspective, the more they can contribute to building a more accepting, socially aware world. She thinks we should never doubt the power of representation and visibility, especially for adolescent youth. When Gianna isn’t engrossed in YA books, she and her wife enjoy traveling, live music, hiking, cooking, and snuggling their pets Gatsby, Atticus, and Huckleberry, the literary brothers from different mothers.