Video: Local Slam Poet Natalie Illum
Local spoken-word poet Natalie Illum isn't one of those lifelong writers who'd have you believe she was some child prodigy writing prose between cartoons and cereal on Saturday mornings. Her foray into the world of poetry was something of an accident—a lucky pick from a college course catalog that would change her life's ambition.
I first saw Illum onstage last year at the University of Maryland, giving a heartfelt delivery of one of her most gut-wrenching poems as part of the traveling Sister Spit art collective. Her deeply personal writing, which takes on issues of rape, family troubles and her own experience living with cerebral palsy, kept me covered in goosebumps at the edge of my seat. When Illum opened for her friend and fellow queer-identified poet Andrea Gibson at The Fridge last fall, she brought Gibson—and half the audience—to tears.
Get to know Illum and hear some choice excerpts of her poetry in our exclusive video below.