The Twin Poets are identical twin brothers, Nnamdi Chukwuocha (born Elbert Mills)  and Albert Mills, with a unique style of poetry that evolved out of their habit of finishing each other’s sentences and the rap and hip-hop of their youth.

They are internationally known for their live performances of socially conscious work, including “Dreams Are Illegal In the Ghetto” and “Homework for Breakfast.

Their book, OUR WORK, OUR WORDS…:  Taking the Guns From Our Sons’ Hands are filled with poems that tell the stories of the people they’ve encountered in their work as social workers and teachers for more than 17 years in the poorest sections of Wilmington, Delaware.

These poems are definitely “Life-Built Poems” — of the most heartbreaking kind.

The brothers appeared on HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam” series in the mid-2000s and, as a result have since performed on stages across America, Europe and Africa.  Through it all they continued to work with the people in their communities.

Besides being poets, the twins spent more than 17 years working at the Kingswood Community Center in Wilmington, Delaware and continued to expand and develop their idea that art could counter the dream-killing effects of poverty and hardship.

Mills is a family therapist  and community-based social worker and Chukwuocha is a social worker who has served on the Wilmington City Council for a number of years.

In 2014, Newsweek called Wilmington, “Murder Town USA” and said it ranked third on the FBI’s annual list of “most violent cities” among cities of comparable size.  It also ranked fifth when compared to all cities with populations greater than 50,000.

Most of the city is safe, Wilmington residents who were offended by the Newsweek article protested.

A 2015 Delaware Today article, “Wilmington Crime: A City That Bleeds,” pointed out that the numbers in the statistics used by the Newsweek report of murder and mayhem are disproportionately centered in areas like the Hilltop neighborhood mentioned as well as other, similar neighborhoods and are the result of a number of chronic problems – not enough jobs, not enough support of education and training, housing issues, and several generations of social ills that have no easy solutions.  It continues to be an ongoing problem.

Over the years the brothers have received a number of awards recognizing them for their community service, including the Village Award (2006) from the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families and a Local Heroes  Award from Bank of America (2006).

The Twin Poets were the State of Delaware Mentors of the Year in 2001, and, in December, 2015, they were named the 17th Poet Laureate (a shared title) of the state of Delaware by former Governor Jack Markell.

Another article in Delaware Today, “Wilmington’s Twin Poets Provide Healing Through Art,” chronicles the extraordinary efforts they’ve made and continue to make to help save the children in the poorest of the communities they service from the hopelessness and helplessness that the disenfranchised experience in their world.

The brothers founded Art for Life–Delaware, a community-based, social worker-led mentoring program that uses art to change the lives of delinquent youth and their families.

They also developed G.O.A.L.S. (Getting Organized Always Leads To Success), a tutoring and mentoring program that teaches children about the importance of self-expression and writing.

This Hearts and Mind Film published in 2013 features the Twin Poets poem, “Why I Write”:

Why I Write” is also the name of a website about the brothers and their work that was initially designed by the interactive design students at the University of Delaware.

As Chukwuocha says in the Delaware Today article about their life, the brothers have refused many invitations to become rap and hip-hop sensations over the years.  They wanted to “make a difference,” he said.  They continue trying.

Header picture credit: “Peace Keeper Marching” by TC Davis via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]  The description says, “The Wilmington Peace Keepers are volunteers who visit neighborhoods where there has been a recent shooting, to comfort and pray with families and friends and empower the neighborhood for change.”



(Click on each of the post titles below and see where it takes you….)


Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below and tell me your thoughts.

16 thoughts on “THE TWIN POETS

  1. This is very inspiring, the influence of music and art truly can and does make a difference, from your local area to campaigns across the world to get one another to come together.

    I really enjoyed the “Talking Story” I definitely agree that the art of speaking is declining, of course with new technology allowing us to rarely need to talk to another human being to get something.

    I also appreciate the TED talk! Do you have any pointers for someone who’s first language isn’t English, and may struggle as it is to make good conversation to english speakers?

    Thank you!

    1. Hey Moriah:

      Thank you for your visit (and for checking out my site while you were here).  My grandmother’s first language was not English either, but she never had any trouble talking with anyone, even people who were lawyers and professors and other highly educated professionals.  She was just so interested in the other person that they made an effort to communicate with her, I think.  Perhaps that can be your strategy as well….

      Please do come again. 

  2. Irischelle says:

    These kinds of services and acts are always very admirable and they touch people from different backgrounds and races. I hope more people become like these guys. We need more unity and understanding, and we shouldn’t let our differences and pride keep us from being more compassionate and helpful to one another. They didn’t let poverty, hardship and crime get in the way of helping children in need even tho they needed help and support as well. That in itself is really worth emulating. Kudos to these guys!!

    1. Hey Irischelle:

      Thank you for your visit.  I do agree that the poets are doing great work.  Please do come again.

  3. Thank you so much for this article it quite entertaining. Now I know the origin of the twin poetry, if I may ask which country are the twin brothers really from because it seems to me that they are from Nigeria. Anyway i admire their work they have really helped to bring out hip hop rap. Thanks for this article it is very informative. I will definitely share this site with my friends and family i believe they will love this article.

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Oloyede3.  The brothers are American.

      Please do come again!

  4. Kellie Philip says:

    I enjoyed reading this article! The twins are well accomplished poets and I believe that giving to those around you is such a great form of love. Their poems are wonderful. In black history month, they came to my school to perform and I recited my own poem for them to hear. They loved i! I truly admire them!

    1. Kellie, thanks for the visit and for sharing your story. How exciting that you got to meet them.

      Please do come again….

  5. Hi Netta;

    I so enjoy your website. And, wow! This post about The Twin Poets is so inspiring. What wonderful caring work they are doing.

    It demonstrates such a big picture viewpoint in that everything about them is connected. Their work, their lives, their art, and their goals all are part of the larger context of their humanity.

    Thanks so much for sharing their story. I’m going to show the video to my family tonight at supper. I think they’ll find it inspiring too.

    Stella 🙂

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Stella.  I am so glad you enjoyed this post and that you want to share it.

      Please do come again.

  6. Jefreym85 says:

    Hey Netta, 

    Thanks for sharing this, I really enjoyed the message from the twin poets and what your website is all about. 

    I think it is very inspiring and motivating to see the positive action being taken to improve the community through art. Certain aspects of life are being lost everyday, it is important to keep equipping the younger generation with different tools and activities to shape their mind and beliefs. 

    Keep up the great work, and I look forward to visiting your site again soon. 

    Best regards, 

    Jefrey M. 

    1. Jefrey, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  

      I do agree with you that we need to give our youngsters the tools to help them cope with this old confusing world of ours.  All the heart things — making art, performances, poetry, playing and appreciating the wonders in this place we inhabit  — keep us human and help us stay real, I think.

      Please do come again.

  7. I have never heard of the boys before or about their works. It seems to me that they have really restricted themselves to Delaware but I still think that if anyone is going to make a change then we should start from the little places because it is from there that we can take it up to bigger places. 

    I don’t know why Elbert decided to have that name though. It’s sounds weird. I’d like to read their books though.

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Suz.  I do agree.  If we each shine up our own places, what a shiny world this would be!

      Please do come again.

  8. This is the first time I heard about The Twin Poets.  It’s inspiring to see people be so selfless and kind, and who use the arts to change the lives of delinquents. 

    The twins are more than just a couple of artists, they have dedicated their careers to helping children in poverty-stricken neighbourhoods. These guys show us that we can do anything, even when it seems impossible!

    I am full of respect for these heroes for their bravery and persistence- they didn’t let anything stop them from helping those who are in need.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the Twin Poets’ story, Grace.  I do agree that they are most admirable.

      Please do come again.

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