The University of Hip-Hop

Trade Paper – $9.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3509-3
Publication Date
January 2017
Page Count
48 pages
Trim Size
5 x 7

The University of Hip-Hop

Mayda Del Valle, foreword by Chris Abani

The University of Hip-Hop is a love letter to the city of Chicago, more specifically a particular moment in Chicago—of growth and development, coming of age, of learning how to construct a new self from old-world customs and new-school traditions. It is a meditation on movement and migration that asks what it means to leave home, how to take home with you, and how to build a new home elsewhere.
These poems invoke nostalgia tempered with the knowledge that one cannot return to the past. They employ tonal and structural variations that account for said nostalgia without risking naïveté, taking all the influence of that time (hope, youth, love, music, art, and engagement) as a formal device, yet one filtered through the condensation of a current, more mature and nuanced understanding. The worldview learned then is employed in the now and frames the approach to the work, moving through formal registers that include spoken word, American lyric and narrative traditions, experimental thrusts, and documentary honed with the edge of hip-hop.                      
About the Author

MAYDA DEL VALLE is a poet and performer. A proud native of Chicago’s South Side, she appeared on Russell Simmons's Def Poetry Jam on HBO and was a contributing writer and original cast member of the Tony Award–winning Def Poetry Jam on Broadway. She is currently program director of the poetry-based, nonprofit youth organization Street Poets Inc., and a dancer and vocalist with the Los Angeles–based Afro-Puerto Rican bomba group Cuny.

"The poet manages the collection by curating it so that the reader can DJ the poems, arrange their own set, and thus, to borrow a phrase from the world of hip-hop, ‘spin’ their own performance. I invite you into this book to play."—Chris Abani, from the foreword