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Invited Articles

Vol. 4 No. 1 (2022): American Studies as Vulnerability Studies

Performing Vulnerability and Resistance in Spoken Word Poetry

  • Kosal Khiev
  • Iris-Aya Laemmerhirt
  • Martina Pfeiler
March 19, 2023


This article explores the duality of Kosal Khiev's poetry performances as performing vulnerability and resistance within global cultural contexts. While his live performances vocalize several forms of systemic racism that he experienced as a refugee, in the US foster care system and with the US prison-industrial complex, his live-streamed performances reach beyond national borders that have jeopardized his very existence. Over the past few years, his livestreams and social media posts have most succinctly served as creative channels through which Kosal Khiev addresses his vulnerability. His poetry included in this article not only acknowledges and comments on his vulnerability as interconnected with US politics but also writes himself back into the national discourse from the perspective of an exiled poet.


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