BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Mayhem Poets performed their unique blend of hip hop, theater, improv and stand-up comedy at Columbia Middle School for the seventh graders on Friday, May 19.

Their poetry challenges people's perception of what poetry can be, using art to "emancipate and empower the light within...and illuminate forever," in the words of Mikumari Caiyhe. They make poetry relevant to our experiences of the world today and encourage creativity. Some poems discuss the importance of taking care of the environment, some encourage tolerance of diversity, some break down stereotypes and ask for an end to bullying and war, while others riff on pop culture topics such as the Kardashians.

The slam poets held the audience’s attention and even had teachers and students participate in the act of creating call and response and one-word poems. It was an engaging and inspirational show! Check them out at: mayhempoets.com.

The internationally acclaimed performance poetry trio is based in New York City and features Scott Raven Tarasevitz, Mason Granger and Mikumari Caiyhe. The Mayhem Poets first met while students at Rutgers University, and later won first place and a grant of $100K in 2006 in the Microsoft “Idea Wins” Challenge. Since then they have toured all over the world and performed at places such as Lincoln Center, the Apollo Theater and hundreds of universities. They have also done arts outreach programs in local schools, group homes and correctional facilities. Their work has been featured on the Today Show, CNN, Eyewitness News and other prominent media venues.