Intellectual Curiosities and Provocations

Maggie Estep

By Levi Asher on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 11:45 am

Maggie Estep, the charismatic and accessible spoken word poet and author, has suddenly died of a heart attack. She was 50 years old.

Maggie Estep was a big part of the slam poetry scene that emerged from Chicago and New York City in the 1980s and briefly flared into pop culture via MTV in the early 1990s. Her early published works include records like Love Is A Dog From Hell. Later, she published novels including Alice Fantastic and the Ruby Murphy mystery series.

It's hard to comprehend that Maggie Estep has died of a heart attack, because she was so young and seemed so healthy, and was a familiar and casual presence in the New York City literary community. The news is still fresh; I'll update this page with more information as it becomes available. To start, here is Carolyn Kellogg's obit in the Los Angeles Times. Here's a blog post by her partner Seth Rogovoy, and another from her friend Amanda Stern.

Further back in the archives of Maggie-ness, here's a Bat Segundo interview from 2009 and and a prototype on her website for a magazine called Dog Lady Magazine that she was planning to launch with novelist Porochista Khakpour. And here's her cover version of "Vicious" by Lou Reed.

Here's Maggie on the television show Def Poetry Jam performing her signature piece about confused love, "Emotional Idiot":

2 Responses to "Maggie Estep"

by TMS on

Hi Levi -- I'm reeling from this news; it just doesn't make sense. Yoga teachers don't die of heart attacks. Fit, yoga-doing women who are 50, even fit women who are 70, don't die of heart attacks, they don't even HAVE heart attacks. It's odd that there doesn't seem to be any question here, any indication of an autopsy, anything. I''ve not heard any updates. Do you know anything else? Thx for keeping up updated....

Rest in Peace, Maggie.

by Levi Asher on

Hi TMS -- yes, it is very surprising in that she was young and apparently healthy … I think many people are wondering about the same thing. The blog link from Seth Rogovoy that I just added above adds a little more info (he knew her well) but really emphasizes that this was not at all expected, and very sad ...

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