Babel Poetry Group


An audience snaps their fingers and some make that agreeing “mmmhmm” sound. They leave their skillful rhetoric on the stage.

Babel is Temple University’s one and only poetry group. The organization was created in 2008 by Temple School of Communications and Theater senior Malcolm Kenyatta. The organization gives students the opportunity to express themselves freely while receiving critiques from fellow poetry performers.

Babel developed out of Kenyatta’s love of poetry. “Poetry is my passion so Babel’s creation was almost inevitable”, Kenyatta said. This creation took place after taking Dr. Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon’s class, called Poetry as Performance. It was through this class that Kenyatta formed Babel, which is “an organization dedicated to re-establishing poetry as a priority of study in the literary canon.”

The students in Dr. Willilams-Witherspoon’s class were also involved in forming Babel. “We learned to hone our skills as performers and writers in a way that I had not experienced before”, said Kenyatta, reflecting on what the class learned.

The organization now has 12 members and has been very successful. When speaking about the members’ helpfulness, Kenyatta stated that “we challenge each other and push our ideas to the next level. We are a family of artists maturing our crafts in this amazing creation that is Babel.”

This small group of enormous talent started a performance poetry show called Babylon, which explained by Kenyatta, “gives the artists on campus and throughout the city a platform to perform and attendees a great experience.”

Their show, Babylon: The Experience, has held over seven shows, and has an upcoming event on April 12th, 2012 in The Underground of the Student Activities Center.

Adding to the success of Babylon, the organization is also working on an anthology of all of its members’ work. With Kenyatta graduating this May, he will be leaving Babel, but is positive about the future efforts of this 4-year-old organization. “Even though I’m graduating I know the organization is in good hands” said Kenyatta. “As we move to five years in 2013, I know we will have to throw an amazing event to celebrate”.