Getting the word out about spoken word poetry at Mepham High


Koromone Koroye came to Long Island from Lagos, Nigeria, to pursue an undergraduate degree at Hofstra University in 2008. There, she discovered her love for spoken word poetry.

“You can perform your poetry how you want it to be heard,” she said of spoken word in a 2012 video on the Hofstra University YouTube page, noting that “people may read it differently than how it sounds in your head.”

Koroye shared her talents and offered advice to students at Mepham High School during a Jan. 30 workshop. The program was offered to more than 30 students through the Enriching Learners in Tomorrow’s Education afterschool program.

ELITE provides after-school enrichment activities that augment students’ classroom learning experiences. Programs are designed to enrich and educate the “whole student,” while encouraging young people to pursue their passions.

English teachers Melanie Sirof and Nicole Maresca coordinated the program featuring Koroye, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree in poetry at Hofstra. She also performs for Artists Without Walls, an organization designed to inspire and unite diverse people and communities through artistic endeavors, and she has taken the stage at The Cell, Lehman College and St. John’s University.

Koroye answered questions and facilitated a workshop in which students were asked to write their own spoken poetry. Students learned about Koroye’s creative process and how her experiences influence her as an artist.

Sirof noted that spoken word poetry is “as modern as poetry gets,” and thanks to YouTube, the art form has gained a wider audience. Spoken word poetry, she said, often appeals to students who have not previously thought of themselves as poets.

“Watching this type of performance gives our students another way to be heard,” she said. “If our students can find their voices here, then they have an artful and honest means of expression. That seems like a pretty powerful tool with which to leave high school.”