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Jamila Woods uses poetry and song to reflect on her native Chicago




Chicago singer-songwriter Jamila Woods combines her love of poetry with hip hop and gospel music.
Chicago singer-songwriter Jamila Woods combines her love of poetry with hip hop and gospel music.
Zoe Rain

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April is National Poetry Month — a fitting time for singer and poet Jamila Woods to release a new project.

She co-edited The BreakBeat Poets Vol 2: Black Girl Magic, a collection of writing by black women poets and musicians that was just published.

Woods was born and raised on the south side of Chicago where she discovered her love of poetry at the Young Chicago Authors, a community writing center where she now teaches. Woods explains how she discovered her purpose through poetry:

In the Chicago literary tradition, it's very much about writing about what you know and reporting on what you see in your environment. I was coming from a place of thinking my life was pretty boring, and making up stories or doing persona poems because that was more interesting than my life. But learning about Gwendolyn Brooks and other poets from Chicago really taught me that my story is valid and worth telling.

In 2016, Woods released her debut album, "HEAVN," which combines her love of poetry with gospel and hip hop. It also features appearances by several other Chicagoans, including Chance The Rapper.

Jamila Woods

 



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