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Poet Jamila Woods expands the boundary of the medium

JamilWoods. Phoby Allen Daniels

Jamila Woods. Photo by Allen Daniels

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What: Singer/Poet/Playwright/Teacher

School: Brown University

From: Hyde Park

Updated: February 20, 2013 9:44AM



There may not be enough hours in the day for Jamila Woods. The do-everything 23-year-old is a sort of modern-day Renaissance woman. With all that she does, it’s a wonder she can find time to do anything at all. “I really find that I can’t really do just one thing,” said Woods. “I get a lot of energy from that balance of other things, and I think my craft benefits from doing all of it.”

Woods sings as part of the Chicago duo Milo and Otis, who opened for Chance The Rapper at The Metro last October, and play the Hard Rock Cafe on March 1. Her poetry has won her two Louder Than A Bomb College slam poetry titles (2009 and 2011). “Being onstage for poetry has helped me so much because if I have a nervous feeling now, it’s more of a familiar feeling,” said Woods. She has also produced two plays and has a book of poetry, “The Truth About Dolls” (New School Poetics Press). Woods also spends her down time helping at Young Chicago Authors.

“Working with students, they don’t care what I do in my free time. It’s humbling because I have to come in and convince them that poetry is worth their time, which, at the same time pushes me to do the kind of poetry that I’m writing.”

Jake Krzeczowksi is a
local free-lance writer.

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