RIP: Maggie Estep, ’90s Slam Poet, Dead At 50

If you were alive in the ’90s and liked poetry, chances are you liked slam poetry. Or at least went to a slam poetry performance, even if you didn’t like it. My first exposure to slam poetry was during a creative writing class at summer camp when I was 14; we watched the PBS series “The United States Of Poetry.” One poet in particular stood out: Maggie Estep. Her slam poem from “The United States Of Poetry,” called “I’m An Emotional Idiot,” was unlike any of the Emily Dickinson or e.e. cummings poems that bored me in school. She was brave, bold, opinionated, and stomped the streets of New York City with more attitude that I assumed a mousy poetess could ever have. Throughout the ’90s. Estep appeared on MTV’s “Spoken Word Unplugged” (yeah, that was actually a thing) and “Beavis And Butthead,” HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam,” and performed at Lollapalooza and Woodstock. She recorded two spoken word albums and wrote seven books.  The A.V. Club reports through the blog East Village Grieve that Maggie Estep died on Monday at age 50. I was sad not to have seen more of her work during her living years. But I hope that Estep knew during her life that she was an inspiration to at least one teenage girl with lots of feelings. [AV Club, MaggieEstep.com]