159: Amena Brown - On Writing A Talk Like a Poet


Amena Brown - poet, author, speaker - is a powerhouse performer. I got to see her on stage at the STORY Gathering this past September, and immediately knew I wanted to have her on the show. She is brilliant, funny, passionate - and so incredibly thoughtful about her craft. What moved me so much about her work on stage is that she is a poet who speaks. She is a craftswoman - focusing on the power of words. And there's so much that we can learn from her on this.


On the show, we talked about:

  • How Amena transformed from the "shy kid" to a powerhouse slam-poet and speaker
  • Fearing the editing process, and how to manage that fear better
  • The power of one person to shine a light on your talent and encourage you to keep going
  • Four essential aspects of poetry we need more of in our talks





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Last spring I fell in love with the podcast Heavyweight by Gimlet Media. Here's what I love love love about it: It's both sad and funny. It dives so thoughtfully - and also in some ways totally carelessly - into conflict. And as someone who doesn't like conflict, I somehow love this show. It's full of paradoxes!


I think when we can live in the paradoxes (cause that's so much of what life is) - and bring the paradoxes to life for our audiences - that's moving.


Amena talked about a powerful movie she saw recently called The Big Sick. A comedy about not funny things. (More paradoxes!) She was moved by the craft of this movie - a beautifully created comedy about love, recovery, healing... and the story of how we oftentimes end up living a life unlike the one we thought we would.

You guys! I haven't watched this movie yet, but I already love it. Just watch this trailer and tell me you don't feel the same: