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Arkind, Ken
Writer's File

Ken Arkind

Auckland - Tāmaki Makaurau
Arkind, Ken
In brief
Ken Arkind is an American poet, author, performer and educator originating from Steamboat Springs in Colorado. Arkind is highly celebrated, holding the 2006 title of the American National Poetry Slam Champion and the 2010 title of Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam Champion amongst other awards. As well as performing his work throughout the world, Arkind has also delivered tremendous TedX talks and worked in initiatives such as Denver Minor Disturbance and Action Education NZ. Arkind now resides in Auckland and is a recent graduate from the Manukau Institute of Technology’s Creative Arts Programme.
  • Primary publisher
    Penmanship Books


Arkind, Ken (1982 - ) was born in Steamboat Springs, but spent the majority of his American literary career in Denver. Arkind received his first award in 2005 as the Denver City Slam Champion, followed closely by his 2006 title as the American National Poetry Slam Champion. In 2006 he became the Executive Director for the Denver Minor Disturbance, an independent non-profit literary arts organisation that’s committed to helping Denver youth discover a voice through poetry and performance. While occupying this role, Arkind has also been writing and performing his poetry professionally since 2008, including the likes of TedX talks. Arkind became the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam Champion in 2010 and was the Coach for the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Champion team in 2012/2013.

Arkind has had his work published numerous times, with poems such as Denver (Fast Geek Press, 2013) published as a book accompanied by linocut print illustrations by Charly Fasano that collaboratively tour Denver’s history. Arkind’s poetry collection Coyotes was published in 2014 by Penmanship Books, and has been praised by reviewers such as Mario Dematteo for hitting him “like a brick through an abandoned apartment window”, going on to say “it’s punk, it’s gritty, it’s subversive, it’s filled with story, and it will cut you if you aren’t careful” (2014 SPIT Journal).

After 9 years as Executive Director for the Denver Minor Disturbance organisation, Arkind made the decision in 2015 to move to New Zealand and begin the Creative Arts Programme at the Manukau Institute of Technology in Auckland. Arkind has since graduated, earning his BCA in 2017. In his interview with Jesse Mulligan from Radio New Zealand, Arkind reflected on how great it was to help create the “first spoken word course at a tertiary level in New Zealand.” Arkind has also received the Kairangatira Award for Leadership and Achievement.

In February 2016 Arkind became the Poet Youth Development Worker for Action Education, an organisation that seeks to employ action and creative based methods in order to engage young people at all stages of development. A strong believer in the spoken word and the opportunities it offers young people, Arkind continues to live in Auckland working with Action Education to help creative youth engagement while continuing to pursue his own work.


Stasis Journal: A Portrait of my Mother Through Skype

Pantograph Punch pieces by Ken Arkind