Robert Karimi is a performance poet, mulit-artist, and teacher, originally from California. He was the artistic director of Chicago's Guild Complex from 2002 through 2004. Beyond his writing, he is renowned for his magnanimity and fellowship. When, without precedent, his Silicon Valley slam team tied for the lead in the 1999 National Poetry Slam, he declared before the entire Chicago Theater that his team would share the top prize and so avoid a sudden death round. The the other team accepted, the house went wild, and MC Marc Smith was left speechless... something also without precedent at that time.
Karimi's poetry explores character, ethnicity and identity through a particularly American counterpoint, coloring the text through expert shifts in articulation, accent, and vocal register. Growing up in an Iranian/Guatemalan home, he has experienced significant cultural contrasts simply living with his parents. (See Parents' Fairy Tale below.) However, he has taken this cultural adventure much further by pursuing careers in film and video, hip-hop performance and DJ'ing that includes work with I Was Born with Two Tongues, and performance art including work with MacArthur fellow Guillermo Gomez Peña.
Comprehensive background material on Robert Karimi and his creative output can be found at kaoticgood.com, the poet's website. Or, you may read a critical review of Robert Karimi, written by Jason Pettus and published on e-poets.net in April 2000.
Audition the following pieces by clicking on their titles:
- June 2004