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Best Poet 

Chinaka Hodge

Chinaka Hodge has been on a roll ever since being crowned the Bay Area Teen Poetry Slam Champion in 2001. In short order, Hodge published a book of her works entitled Know These Limbs, received a scholarship from Dave Eggers' 826 Valencia nonprofit, cowrote a hip-hop theater piece, "Scourge," with Marc Bamuthi Joseph, appeared in the McSweeney's anthology My Words Consume Me, and was featured on PBS, NPR, and Def Poetry Jam. Hodge also contributed spoken-word interludes to "conscious slap" rappers the Attik's auspicious debut album Jungle Electric in 2006, the same year she graduated from NYU. To which we can only say, slow down Chinaka! Currently associate program director at SF's Youth Speaks, Hodge already rates over 2,300 entries on Google, many of which are gushing with unconditional praise. She's been called "one of the young leaders of [the youth poetry] movement," and her tendency to not pull any punches, ever, is all over her blog ThickWitness ("for girls with hips"). Check her there for regular doses of articulate brilliance and realism; even her hastily-penned scrawls are brimming with prose.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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