Steve Connell is a new-millennium troubadour in Urban Outfitters cargo pants. He’s the eighty-dollar Nike shirt of hip-hop romance poetry. Instead of wasting time with an old east-coast-west-coast feud about New York literary poetry versus Los-Angeles-Jim-Morrison stage performance, Steve embraces his acting training and serious music connections to produce spoken word like a filmmaker makes a film. When I auditioned his CD, The Intimate Nature of Knife Fights, I felt like I was watching a film instead of listening to the usual poetry recitals set to music. This is because Steve Connell’s work is saturated with rich imagery and witty stage drama—very suitable for an award-winning veteran of slam poetry and Def Poetry.

The vibe of this work shivers with a collective effort. It is representative of the North of Wilshire School of Los Angeles Poetry that includes such social luminaries as Saul Williams, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Gina Loring, Bridget Gray, Jerry Quickly and, of course, Tony-Award-winning Poetri.

The Intimate Nature of Knife Fights is sensual poetry in a time of war. It takes an adult swim in the sea of anti-patriarchy north of the Isle of Lesbos without life guard training. This is something I tried in my twenties as a poet but eventually I stopped well short of the achievements of Steve Connell and “retreated” into my controversial African roots that people like Poetri avoid for whatever wisdom that governs him and people like Saul Williams suspect is anti-social madness. Let Steve adeptly represent what is recognizable under the current social circumstances. Malcolm-Jamal Warner just stared at me after my poetry reading. He just stared… Anyway, back to Steve: Feel his “knife fight.” Here in the kinté space we present six audio tracks. Listen to all of the tracks at


Words by . . . . . . . Steve Connell 

Flow and Voice Characterizations by . . . . . . . Steve Connell

Music Arranged and Performed by . . . . . . . Zack Mathers and Anita Coats

Engineered by . . . . . . . Zack Mathers

Mastered by . . . . . . . Robbin E. Broad

Interactive and Visual Design by . . . . . . . Bryan Wilhite

Streaming Audio Engineering by . . . . . . . Bryan Wilhite