Alix Olson is an internationally touring spoken word artist-activist. One part peace vigil, one part protest rally, and one part joyful raucous concert, Olson has ignited stages from South Africa, Australia and Europe to Lincoln Center and The March for Women’s Lives. Howard Zinn (historian/activist) calls Alix “an ingenious poet, a brilliant performer, a funny person, a serious thinker. Quite simply, extraordinary.”
Olson has published two books of poetry, produced three spoken word albums and the award-winning feature documentary Left Lane and her poetry, essays, interviews and columns have appeared in dozens of anthologies and magazines. She is the editor of Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution (introduction by Eve Ensler, Seal Press) and co-author of Burning Down the House (Soft Skull Press).
Olson’s innumerable stage, broadcast, radio and print appearances include twice headlining HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam,” and television performances on Oxygen, CNN, MindTV and In the Life. Her radio appearances include Air America’s Unfiltered with Rachel Maddow, WXPN’s World Cafe, This Way Out, Progressive Radio, Sirius Radio and internationally on Holland National Radio and Australia National Radio. Alix has been featured on the covers of Ms. and Curve Magazines and in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time Out, The Progressive, The Advocate, Girlfriends Magazine, OUT Magazine, Poets and Writers, Woman Rock, Venus, Lesbian News, Gay and Lesbian Times, Nervy Girl, Salon, the Lesbian Review of Books, and hundreds of regional newspapers and magazines.
Alix was voted OutMusician of the Year (OutMusic) for most significant contributions to the artist-activist field and has received the “Visionary Award” from the DC Rape Crisis Center for her “exceptional commitment to the promotion of social justice.” Past honorees include Gloria Steinem, Tori Amos, Patricia Ireland and Sarah Jones. Olson has also received a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship and a Barbara Deming grant.
Her documentary Left Lane: On the Road with Alix Olson has been featured at international film festivals in New Zealand, Canada, Sweden, Ireland, Israel, France, Australia, Germany, and Hungary, as well as in festivals across the U.S. Left Lane has been the recipient of five awards for Favorite Audience Feature and Favorite Documentary including the Paris Feminist Film Festival.
The New York Times says Alix is “fueling the never-ending struggle to promote independent thought. Igniting and inspiring audiences wherever she may travel, Olson uses her witty and sympathetic voice to highlight a grassroots struggle against intolerance that is as entertaining as it is poignant,” while TimeOut New York calls her “a mesmerizing firebrand, a joyful dyke-feminist preacher.”
Of her live performances, The Progressive Magazine calls Alix “an electrifying performer who seduces the audience with wit and energy, spinning tales of life on the road between her fiery poems. A sharpshooter with theatrical flair, Olson oozes both love and rage.”
Alix’s third spoken word album Protagonist (produced by musician Melissa Ferrick) was released on July 15, 2014. She is currently performing periodically while writing her PhD dissertation in Political Theory and Feminist Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.