A page from the "Poetry through the Ages" exhibit...

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Jack Kerouac reads a novel aloud, accompanied by Steven Allen on the piano.

Marc Smith, the founder of the poetry slam movement, performs “Nobody is here.”

Amiri Baraka speaks and scats on Def Poetry Jam, displaying the political consciousness often undertaken by performance poets.

Sarah Kay intertwines the persona and political in her piece, “Hiroshima.”

Shane Koyczan is a National Poetry Slam champion. "Beethoven" is an excellent example of a slam poem that works both on stage and on the page. Koyczan has a masterful use of the English language and infuses it with his heartfelt emotions on stage.

Big Poppa E has been doing poetry slam since its infancy. "Wussy Boy Manifesto" is an example of the comedic slam poem, a staple of every competition.

Patricia Smith, both an academic and a journalist, is one of the original slam poets. "Medusa" is an example of a feminist poem with literature at its core.

Rachel Mckibbens is the newest Individual World Poetry Slam champion. Her work is informed by her difficult life experiences.