A former Chicago social worker, Peter Kahn has been an English teacher since 1994 and a Spoken Word Educator since 2003 at Oak Park/River Forest High School. Kahn created the Spoken Word Poetry Educator position to help promote student engagement and voice, to close the opportunity gap, and to combat high ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) scores.
Kahn is the founder and sponsor of Oak Park's Spoken Word Club — the largest school-based club of its kind in the world. Alumni include NBA champion, Iman Shumpert; former Scholastic Arts National Youth Poet Laureate, Natalie Richardson; National Youth Poet Laureate, Kara Jackson; and comedian, Langston Kerman (HBO, MTV, IFC, NBC, Comedy Central). Several have gone on to earn full-tuition scholarships to university as a result of poetry and to earn MFA’s in Creative Writing. Several have been published in Poetry magazine, two with work written while in high school. His students can be seen in the documentary, Louder Than a Bomb and Steve James’ Starz docu-series, America to Me.
A founding member of the London poetry collective Malika’s Kitchen, he co-founded the London Teenage Poetry Slam and, as a Visiting Fellow at Goldsmiths-University of London, created the Spoken Word Education Training Programme.
Kahn earned his MA in English Education from The Ohio State University, student taught at Columbus East High School and taught for the Young Scholars Program. He was a featured speaker at the National Council of Teachers of English’s annual convention and runner-up in the NCTE and Penguin Random House Maya Angelou Teacher Award for Poetry.
Along with Patricia Smith and Ravi Shankar, he edited "The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks" reviewed in The New York Times by Claudia Rankine. Along with Hanif Abdurraqib, Franny Choi, and former student Dan “Sully” Sullivan, he edited "Respect the Mic: Celebrating 20 Years of Poetry from a Chicagoland High School," deemed “Electric and Expansive” by Kirkus Reviews. Kahn’s 2020 poetry collection, "Little Kings" has poems featured in The London Guardian and The Forward Book of Poetry.
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