Rachel McKibbens


Poet, activist, playwright and essayist Rachel McKibbens is a New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow and author of the critically acclaimed volume of poetry, Pink Elephant (Cypher Books, 2009.) Regarded as one of the most dynamic speakers in the country, McKibbens is a legend within the poetry slam community, noted for her accomplishments both on and off the stage: she is a nine-time National Poetry Slam team member, has appeared on eight NPS final stages, coached the New York louderARTS poetry slam team to three consecutive final stage appearances, is the 2009 Women of the World Poetry Slam champion and the 2011 National Underground Poetry Slam individual champion. For four years McKibbens taught poetry through the Healing Arts Program at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan and continues to teach poetry and creative writing and give lectures across the country as an advocate for mental health awareness, gender-equality and victims of violence and domestic abuse. Source

Remember the Boys

chucking rocks at the wasps’ nest,

their gathered hum then sudden sting

at the nape of my neck. Oh, how I paid—

still pay—for the recklessness

of boys. Little Bretts. Little Jeffs.

Little knives to my breast. 

How lucky they were to never 

be held down, to never see

their voices crawl the air like fire!


How desperately I yearned to be them,

to storm the halls in macho gospel:

matching blue jackets, blood-filled

posture and made-you-flinch. 

How different would I be, 

how much bigger, if I had been

given room enough to be 

a country's golden terror? 





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Childhood & Coming of Age


Literary Devices:

Interrupted Clause

a word group (a statement, question, or exclamation) that interrupts the flow of a sentence and is usually set off by commas, dashes, or parentheses

Media Res

a literary work that begins in the middle of the action (from the Latin “into the middle of things)

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered