In the realm of performance poetry (or more popularly coined “spoken word”), there are poets and then there are POETS. Sefu Kafele is what one would call a POET. This European born and New York raised wordsmith has been a significant player in the New York City underground poetry scene for more than a decade now. His unique mixture of revolutionary commentary and urban life narratives has sizzled the ear of many a listener, keeping all on the edge of their seats impatiently awaiting the next verse. Know for his rapid and fiery delivery, he has been requested for numerous performances and has appeared at virtually every poetry venue across New York as well as across the nation.
Sefu can be regarded as an early pioneer of sorts. during the reemergence of performance poetry in the late eighties and early nineties, poetry amongst most black, Hispanic and some whites were for the most part divided into two groups, those poets whose material leaned more towards political/revolutionary/social subject matter, and those poets who were more into abstract thought and unique live performances which often attracted a large hip hop audience. Being able to blur the lines, Sefu was able to blend in comfortably in both groups, thus being one of a small group of poets who were able to bridge the gap and thus lay the foundation for the all inclusive performances that are prevalent today.
not just a fantastic poet, sefu kafele can be easily regarded as a poet’s poet, meaning his huge body of work and performances has been studied and analyzed by many of his peers throughout the years. He has left a lasting impression on many of his contemporaries, from writers and poets such as asha bandela and saul williams to grioys of an older generation such as the last poets. His style of word play and strong desire to be candidly out spoken has made him a luminary figure amongst a new emerging breed of writers and poets. But for the exception of the late novelist Donald goines, sefu is more influenced by revolutionary philosophers and leaders such as Malcolm x and George Jackson than other poets. This is not to say that Sefu Kafele does not listen to or study other poets. But what it does say is that he has the ability to take speeches historical information and without any formal “literary” training, weave some of the most incredible, explosive and three dimensional poems ever. Through his long awaited and first publication, No Boys in Brooklyn, Sefu is able to give the reader a view of the world through his eyes, both good and bad. And for him, the goal is not to get the reader to agree with him, bit to entice the reader to think.
Sefu kafele has been a member of numerous poetry groups and has shared many affiliations with different artist throughout the years. He is currently working on his second cd on an independent label. He has also appeared on multiple compilations cds of poetry. I am honored to have had the opportunity to share the stage and perform with such a great artist and I hope all will find his work exciting and as enlightening as I have.