Ep. 109 Gabriel Cortez

What an episode! This show features multiple kinds of initiation: the first dance with someone you’re excited to dance with, the time young ones learn teenage no-dance masculinity, the loss of a beloved grandmother who had held the family together, an unexpected turn from an outspoken student to the internal writing life. Come. Through. These pieces are penned by careful, thoughtful poet Gabriel Cortez, who also pairs his poems with the tracks they’re named for. You’re gonna want to settle in for this, fam.


Gabriel Cortez is a biracial poet, educator, and organizer of Panamanian descent. His work has appeared in The New York Times, National Public Radio, and Huffington Post and is forthcoming in The Breakbeat Poets Anthology Volume 4 (2020). He is a VONA fellow, NALAC grant recipient, and winner of the Judith Lee Stronach Baccalaureate Prize. Gabriel is a member of the artist collective, Ghostlines, and co-founder of The Root Slam, an award-winning poetry venue dedicated to inclusivity, justice, and artistic growth, as well as Write Home, a project working to challenge public perceptions of houselessness and shift critical resources to houseless Bay Area youth through spoken word poetry. Gabriel currently works as Lead Poet Mentor at Youth Speaks, one of the world’s leading presenters of spoken word performance, education, and youth development programs.

You can find Gabriel here:


  1. LIT: Ms. Fat Booty
  2. Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def) – Ms. Fat Booty
  3. LIT: Lean Back at the 9th Grade Dance
  4. Fat Joe – Lean Back (radio edit)
  5. LIT: Black On Both Sides
  6. Black Star – Thieves in the Night
  7. Erykah Badu feat. Common – Love of My Life (An Ode To Hip Hop)
  8. Chance The Rapper feat. Noname – Israel (Sparring)


Recorded 12/6/19; release date 1/16/20


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