Michelle Myers is an award-winning poet, community activist, and educator. As a founding member of the Asian American female spoken word poetry group Yellow Rage, she was one of the first Asian American women to appear on HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry; in the first live Def Poetry Jam show presented at the 2001 HBO U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado; and in the Def Poetry Jam College Tour. Over the past 20 years, Michelle has featured at hundreds of college campuses as well as at many distinguished venues around the country, including the Kennedy Center, the BAMcafé, the Bowery Poetry Club, the Asian American Writers Workshop, the Sierra Arts Foundation, the Japanese American National Museum, and the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience. As a solo artist, Michelle has received numerous grants and awards, including a Transformation Award (2014) and an Art and Change Grant (2011) by the Leeway Foundation and a Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship First Alternate (2018) and Honorable Mention (2014) by The Loft Literary Center. Her work has been published in Apiary Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Title Magazine, and Brevity Magazine. Most recently, she has been selected as a Dodge Poet by the Dodge Poetry Program, an affiliate of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, and featured as a Festival Poet in the 2020 Dodge Poetry Festival. Employing multiple poetic forms and delivery styles—including narrative, folk arts/storytelling, hip-hop-influenced rhyme, and song—Michelle attempts to employ the raw and intimate power of spoken word poetry in the hopes of taking audiences on an unforgettable journey that educates, challenges, and inspires.
Michelle’s poetry also informs her work as an Associate Professor in the English Department at Community College of Philadelphia where she has received recognition, such as a 2018 President’s Award for Excellence in Service to the College; a 2016 President’s Award for Excellence in Fostering Student Success; a six-time Mid-Atlantic Emmy Nomination for the Drop the Mic Spoken Word Poetry Competition television program that she hosts and co-created; and a 2010 Student Club Advisor of the Year Award (Spoken Word Poetry Club).
Born in Seoul, South Korea to a Korean mother and a white American father serving in the United States Air Force, she draws from her personal experiences as a biracial Korean American woman to write poetry that challenges mainstream misconceptions of Asianness and explores the intersections of race, culture, gender, community, and self. She believes in the transformative power of spoken word poetry.
In her performance memoir “Mudang Magic,” Michelle Myers explores how words can hang onto grief and how memory can create a landscape of both loss and healing. The vulnerability of her storytelling and performance allows Myers to meditate on the entwining of experience as both emotional departure and spiritual return as she shares her reflections on her relationship with her mother and of losing her mother to cancer. Myers’ performance plumbs the depths of memory and delves into the idea that, sometimes, to know who we are, we have to retrace our steps. Utilizing spoken word poetry, storytelling, and song, “Mudang Magic” joins her and her mother’s stories in a way that acknowledges that with loss comes not only deep pain but revelation and renewal.