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Common and Rosario Dawson Host New HBO Poetry Show

Jeff Vespa, WireImage

Common and Rosario Dawson have both been producing thought-provoking work since the ’90s and now they’re teaming up for a new HBO program centered around poetry. Entitled ‘Brave New Voices,’ the show focuses on a series of up-and-coming poets throughout the world that performed at an annual 5-day festival that goes by the same name. The concept is inspired by Russell Simmons — the original HBO poetry king.

“Poetry to me is expression, man,” said Common, reflecting on the show and performances. “It’s being able to say, ‘This is my voice. This is what I’m feeling inside of me that I want to get out. I need to get it out.’ When you’re able to be yourself, man, that’s one of the freest things you can do.”

Dawson also takes a humanistic approach to poetics. “Poetry to me is what makes us more than just animals,” she said. “Any other action that we do isn’t nearly as appreciated as the words we share with each other. You feel yourself choking from the emotion coming out of you… You made me feel like you.”

In addition to Common and Dawson, the program features a judge panel that includes wordy rapper Talib Kweli, as well as Beau Sia, Mayda De Valle and Penn Jillette. The show airs Saturday nights on HBO.

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