Mental Health Speaker: Neil Hilborn
Neil Hilborn is a spoken word artist and poet. Neil will perform his pieces emphasizing mental health and the stigmas/stereotype that come with these types of illnesses.
Hilborn was born in Houston, Texas, and became interested in creative writing at an early age, writing his first poem when he was eight years old. As a child, he was diagnosed with obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), and was additionally diagnosed with bipolar disorder while in college. Though he did not originally use poetry as a coping mechanism, when he was a teenager his work shifted toward helping him deal with his disorders.
Shortly after graduating high school, Hilborn decided to leave Houston for Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he attended Macalester College. During his sophomore year he began writing spoken word. He joined their slam poetry team, and in 2011 the team placed first at the College National Poetry Slam. Hilborn graduated with honors and a degree in creative writing, intending to pursue his Master of Fine Arts and become a professor. For a little over a year he co-coached the slam poetry team at Macalester, running various poetry workshops and going on a few tours in the Midwest, but still keeping his “day job”.
Hilborn began writing slam poetry and competing/performing in 2009, saying, “I took it as seriously as I would if it were my job”. At that time, he was a part of his college’s slam poetry team as well as the Minneapolis Adult National Slam Poetry team, which placed 5th out of 80 competitors in the 2011 national competition. After graduating, Hilborn began to perform with Button Poetry, a company based out of Minnesota that produces and distributes poetry in different forms such as published books and YouTube videos. In 2012 he traveled the Midwest on The Good News Poetry Tour with fellow Button poets Dylan Garrity and Hieu Nguyen. The tour visited many college campuses and small venues, revamping in 2013 to tour again, this time in the Northeast.
Above bio excerpt from Wikipedia