Posts Tagged With: Poetry Slam

Motown Writers Network Poet Feature~ Alex Jones

As poetry month is coming to an end, but not our love for poetry; we’d like to invite you to meet Alex Jones, another of Detroit’s favorite poets!

Alex Jones holds a B.A. in English from the University of Detroit Mercy, where he won the first place prize in the Dudley Randall Poetry Contest for 2010. He went with a group of students to present their poems at the annual symposium of the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Additionally, he has been featured at various open mics around the city of Detroit, including the now-defunct Byte This Poetry Series and the Broadside Press Poets’ Theater. His poems have appeared in Detroit’s *Metro Times* newspaper as well as in *[sic]*, the student literary journal at UDM.

5 Questions with Alex…

What is it like being a poet in Detroit?

Well… let’s break that question down a bit. First: What’s it like being a poet? Being a poet means that you observe. You feel. You take in
everything, distill it to its essence, and then fire it back at people. At least, that’s my take. Detroit is a place that is like a mountain or a
cliffside. It can be absolutely beautiful, but it’s certainly not without its rough edges and pitfalls that can do quite a bit of damage to you if
you’re not careful. It has strong light and dark sides. Being a poet in Detroit, then, means that you’re never without inspiration for too long, I
guess. This is an incredible, unique place. If there isn’t something that can agitate your heart and move your pen here, I’d start checking your
pulse.

Do you remember the first time that you read one of your poems? If so, what was that like?

I don’t know. I remember the first time I didn’t read one of my poems. It was 6th grade and we had to write a poem for class and the teacher wanted us to read them in front of the class. Well, I wrote mine about a girl that I really liked and I didn’t want to embarrass myself by reading it in front of the class because I was pretty sure she didn’t like me back. I asked him if I could get away with not reading it and he said sure. If I had to guess, the first time I read one of my own poems aloud would have been in my creative writing class freshman year of college. But it must not have left much of an impression if I don’t recall it clearly.

If you could have lunch with any poet in the world dear or alive, who would it be?

Shakespeare. I don’t know how much people realize this, but he added tons of words to the language that just completely didn’t exist before. I want to see what it took to do that. I want to see what kind of man could do that. That sort of fiercely creative spirit might be something that we
should all strive toward. Not that we need to make more words, I mean, but that we should all strive to create something that has a lasting impact. It’d be nice to get tips from the master on that.

What is your favorite type of poetry?

My favorite type of poetry is the poetry that makes you feel something intensely, whether it’s overwhelming unease from a poem that does an
incredible job of painting a picture, a narrative poem that makes me want to march in the streets, or a poem that manages to almost make me pee myself from laughing so hard. As long as it makes me feel something strongly, I like it. Ideally, it’d be well-crafted in addition to being
moving.

What inspires you to write poetry?

There’s a line from the Dudley Randall poem “A Poet is Not a Jukebox” that pretty much summarizes it for me. It’s “A poet writes about what he feels, what agitates his heart and sets his pen in motion.” It explains why some days, even though I don’t want to think about certain old relationships anymore, all I can do is scribble about them. Or why no matter how much I try to temper my temper when it comes to certain things, all I can write is anger. That’s not to say that one shouldn’t try to corral their writing when it comes time to refine or edit, though. But those moments where you just have to pick up a pen and put it to paper or else you won’t be able to get to sleep? That’s what the quote is for me. That’s usually what gets me writing.

 


 

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Motown Writers Network Poet Feature~ David Blair

David BlairAs the Motown Writers Network feature poets this April, we cannot forget about one of Detroit’s greatest poets, David Blair.  David Blair was an award-winning, multi-faceted artist: singer-songwriter, poet, writer, performer, musician, community activist and teacher. Born Sept. 19, 1967, he grew up in Newton, N.J., but called Detroit his adopted home. Blair performed all over the world and has friends on almost every continent. Blair’s work and life leave an indelible impression on the Detroit community as well as all of the communities he touched.

A 2010 Callaloo Fellow and a National Poetry Slam Champion, Blair’s first book of poetry, Moonwalking, was recently released by Penmanship Books. Blair, as a solo artist, and with The Urban Folk Collective, self-released more than seven records in the last ten years. His most recent album, The Line, with his band The Boyfriends, was released in 2010 on Repeatable Silence Records.

He was nominated for seven Detroit Music Awards, including a 2007 nod for Outstanding Acoustic Artist. He was named Real Detroit Weekly Readers Poll’s Best Solo Artist and The Metro Times Best Urban Folk Poet. In 2007, he also won the Seattle-based BENT Writing Institute Mentor Award. As well as being the recipient of numerous awards, he taught classes and lectured on poetry and music in Detroit Public Schools, The Ruth Ellis Center, Hannan House Senior Center, the YMCA of Detroit, and at various universities, colleges and high schools across the country.

For more information about the life of David Blair go to http://dblair.org/

 

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Motown Writers Poet Spotlight~ Dimonique Boyd

Dimonique Boyd

“I wish I could disappear into a fine mist, but if I did, someone would probably choke on me.”  The day she uttered this statement in a casual conversation, Dimonique Boyd became fully aware that she…is…a poet.

A daughter of the Café Mahogany days, Dimonique experienced a rebirth in poetry when she became a regular at EchoVerse Poetry and Slam Series in 2007.  She has had featured appearances at the Blushing Sky Honors Series, The Beat Café, Sweet Epiphany,and the Detroit Public Library, among many other venues and shows.
By popular demand, she self-published and released her first volume of poetry, “This is How I Feel: My Life in Verse.”  Her book chronicles her life’s journey from ages fourteen to thirty. Though best known for her love and erotic poems, her writing delves into the socio-political, religious, and Hip-Hop realms.  An admitted Confessional Poet, most of her poems are short glimpses into pieces of her life.  She sees her poetry as both an outlet and an outreach.  She is unafraid to give the most personal parts of herself to her audience because she feels that it’s important to be a voice for who fear that they’re alone or don’t have the words to express how they feel.  No matter the subject of her prose, the focus is always humanity.  We love, we hurt, we cry, we lust, we sin, and she pours it all on the page and the stage to achieve oneness with her audience.
Her second volume of poetry, “Queen of Heart” follows the design of a deck of cards and is written in two parts-Court and Suites. From Ace to “Dimons,” or God to Self, Dimonique offers the full range of her versatility as a writer.

Questions with Dimonique…

Describe what you believe is the purpose of your poetry?

My poetry is for personal self-expression and release, as well as for the expression and release of others.  I write for myself, but I share as a means of giving others someone to relate to. I don’t mind giving the most personal parts of myself because it’s more important to me that someone who feels alone knows that they are not.  I write to heal, change, save lives-even my own.
When you heard your first poem how did it make you feel?

I really can’t remember hearing my first poem.  I grew up as a fan of music and drama.  I’d been exposed to poetry in elementary school. The first poem I learned was “Dreams” by Langston Hughes, which didn’t mean anything to me until I got much older.  I wrote poetry as class assignments through middle school, and I even wrote raps as a kid, but I really didn’t get into and saved by poetry until high school.

Who are some of your favorite poets?

My first favorite poets were Khari Kimani Turner and LaShaun Phoenix Kotaran (then Moore). Some of my more current favorites are Jeff Nelson, Clarity, Rhonda Welsh, UNtitled, and my newest favorite is Andrea Daniel.
What inspires you to write poetry?
What is your favorite poem? (It could be one of your own or someone elses)

My favorite poem is probably still “1999” by Khari Kimani Turner.  I wish more men and boys could be exposed to it today.

Videos:

Dimonique’s Favorite Poetry Quote:  “I love you in melodies too heartbreaking to play…” This Is How I Feel: My Life in Verse, “I Love You in Hushed Tones”

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[PODCAST] #MichLit Radio Show w/Michael Williams & Poet, @OneSingleRose | #BlogTalkRadio

http://tobtr.com/s/2996353

1. Guest:  Michael Williams                  www.michiganspringbookfestival.com

Guest summary: Michael Williams of the Author Collective, hosts the Spring Book Festival happening this weekend.

2. Guest:         Rosemarie Wilson “One Single Rose”                      www.onesinglerose.com                                                                                                                            

Guest summary: Rosemarie Wilson a/k/a One Single Rose is an award winning poet, writer, advice columnist, singer, actress and a staunch advocate of integrity and fidelity.  She has written two poetry books, with the latest, Out of Darkness into Light, just released last month.

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PODCAST: #MichLit Show w/Poets @tmillerpoetry & Honeycomb!

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: http://tobtr.com/s/2967451

1. Guest:  Tawana Honeycomb Petty                  www.amazon.com/author/tawanapetty

Interview time: 5:30


Guest summary: Tawana Honeycomb Petty is a poet, activist, and host of Guerrilla Nights poetry series. Her book is Introducing Honeycomb.

 

Guest bio:

Tawana Petty, a mother, poet, author and activist is best known as “Honeycomb” on stage. She has been featured at many prestigious events, including but not limited to the 1st Annual Focus Hope Black Marriage Day Celebration, the International Black Expo, the 2008 Ribs n Soul Festival in Detroit, the 175th Annual Emancipation Day Festival in Canada, the 2008 Literary Arts Gala at The Charles H. Wright Museum, the 2010 African World Festival and at Lakeshore Economic Coalition Celebrating 10 Years of Freedom with Yusef Bunchy Shakur & Friends: “Granting the Formerly Incarcerated A Second Chance”. Hosted by Reggie Reg Davis, with Keynote Address by Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee.

 

Honeycomb has also performed at the 1st Annual I Am Woman Expo, opened for HBO/BET’s Punany Poets, was the featured artist at Wayne State University’s “A Tribute to Harlem” Showcase and performed at MTV’s Quest Mcody’s “Quest for A Cure” event, just to name a few. She has been a spotlighted poet on AM 1440, FM 107.5, The Writer’s Block on svmixradio.com, Comcast channel 20’s Mix’n It Up with Barry Ross as well as Dr. John Telford’s show. Honeycomb has also been a featured speaker and is a regular guest on Dave Marsh’s national program the “Land of Hopes and Dreams” radio program on channel 127 on SiriusXm Satellite and is the former co-host of Poetic Vibrations radio program on 88.1 FM. Honeycomb has also been the featured artist at venues in and outside of the City of Detroit, including but not limited to the Artist Village, L!V Resto Lounge, They Say, The Key Club, The Upper Room and The Legendary Cliff Bells and Bakers Keyboard Lounge. She is the current host of Guerrilla Nights weekly poetry open mic series, held every Saturday evening  at the Urban Network Cyber Café located at 5740 Grand River, Detroit, MI 48208.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: http://tobtr.com/s/2967451

2. Guest:         T. Miller  www.facebook.com/tmillerpoetry


Guest summary: T. Miller is a writer, performance poet, author, publisher, activist, producer, actress and motivational speaker.

Guest bio:

Natasha Miller is the voice of wounds exposed, and the healing balm of poetry applied to the human spirit. The passionate 26 year-old Detroit, MI native is a writer, performance poet, author, publisher dedicated activist, producer, actress and an aspiring motivational speaker. Since her debut, just over four years ago, Natasha has proven to be a poetical powerhouse. After one year on the performance circuit, in 2007, she was crowned Detroit Poetry Slam team’s Grand Slam Champion, and has been a member of four National Poetry Slam teams. She has also been a Women of The World Poetry Slam top five finalist three out of the last four years once ranking as high as the third female slam poet in the World. Natasha continued her impressive record by leading and coaching her own slam team to a championship at the 2010 Midwest Rustbelt Poetry Slam, where she also came out ranking #2 overall in the individual competition.

 

Natasha has awed audiences across the country at universities, festivals and numerous venues including slams and shows like the famous Nuyorican Poets Café in New York, Vancouver Poetry slam, Seattle poetry slam, Girl Fest Hawaii and Chicago’s Green Mill. She has premiered on stages with celebrity actors and comedians Oscar award winning Mo’nique, Star of the movie “Paper Hearts” Charlyne Yi, Brandon T. Jackson, actor Malcolm Jamal Warner, legendary poet Jessica Care Moore, hip-hop artist Talib Kweli, and many more. Mo’Nique, impressed, personally invited Natasha to feature on her radio show.  In 2010, she starred in a national commercial campaign for Sprite. In the same year, she released her solo spoken word album “Poetry for Change,” and featured in the stage play “The Revolution’s In The Ladies Room” produced by Jessica care Moore.

 

Natasha is currently ranked as the number 5 female slam poet in the World. She now produces the popular “Its Not About You” Poetry Slam Series. Recently she started her own publishing company “All I Wanna Say Publishing”, in 2010 she published her first book of quotes “Dreams Of A Beginner”, and in 2011 she published her second book “Coming Out of Nowhere” a Social Networking Memoir that allows readers to mentally and emotionally “log-in” to their favorite websites (Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube) and view the opinions of others on love, hate, suicide, tragedy, politics, religion, cyber-bullying, entertainment, mental illness, freedom of choice, homophobia, and all other things surrounding homosexuality by simply turning a page. She is currently working with popular video director Erica D Hayes on a documentary that focuses on prostitution and placement in the transgendered community. Natasha uses her words to enlighten, create equality, imbue life, and most importantly spread love and peace in the tradition of great leaders before her.

 

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: http://tobtr.com/s/2967451

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Poet Spotlight~ Natasha Miller

Natasha Miller is the voice of wounds exposed, and the healing balm of poetry applied to the human spirit. The passionate 26 year-old Detroit, MI native is a writer, performance poet, author, publisher dedicated activist, producer, actress and an aspiring motivational speaker. Since her debut, just over four years ago, Natasha has proven to be a poetical powerhouse. After one year on the performance circuit, in 2007, she was crowned Detroit Poetry Slam team’s Grand Slam Champion, and has been a member of four National Poetry Slam teams. She has also been a Women of The World Poetry Slam top five finalist three out of the last four years once ranking as high as the third female slam poet in the World. Natasha continued her impressive record by leading and coaching her own slam team to a championship at the 2010 Midwest Rustbelt Poetry Slam, where she also came out ranking #2 overall in the individual competition.

 Natasha has awed audiences across the country at universities, festivals and numerous venues including slams and shows like the famous Nuyorican Poets Café in New York, Vancouver Poetry slam, Seattle poetry slam, Girl Fest Hawaii and Chicago’s Green Mill. She has premiered on stages with celebrity actors and comedians Oscar award winning Mo’nique, Star of the movie “Paper Hearts” Charlyne Yi, Brandon T. Jackson, actor Malcolm Jamal Warner, legendary poet Jessica Care Moore, hip-hop artist Talib Kweli, and many more. Mo’Nique, impressed, personally invited Natasha to feature on her radio show.  In 2010, she starred in a national commercial campaign for Sprite. In the same year, she released her solo spoken word album “Poetry for Change,” and featured in the stage play “The Revolution’s In The Ladies Room” produced by Jessica care Moore.

Natasha is currently ranked as the number 5 female slam poet in the World. She now produces the popular “Its Not About You” Poetry Slam Series. Recently she started her own publishing company “All I Wanna Say Publishing”, in 2010 she published her first book of quotes “Dreams Of A Beginner”, and in 2011 she published her second book “Coming Out of Nowhere” a Social Networking Memoir that allows readers to mentally and emotionally “log-in” to their favorite websites (Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube) and view the opinions of others on love, hate, suicide, tragedy, politics, religion, cyber-bullying, entertainment, mental illness, freedom of choice, homophobia, and all other things surrounding homosexuality by simply turning a page. She is currently working with popular video director Erica D Hayes on a documentary that focuses on prostitution and placement in the transgendered community. Natasha uses her words to enlighten, create equality, imbue life, and most importantly spread love and peace in the tradition of great leaders before her.

Questions with Natasha…

How old where you when you wrote your first poem? Do you remember what it was about?

I don’t remember what age I was exactly when I wrote my first poem. I think I was in high school, maybe 10th or 11th grade but I was not performing poetry at the time. I was 20 when I wrote my first performance poem it was titled “Black vs Black” and it was about black on black crime.

If you had to describe your poetry how would you describe it?

Forgiving. Fun. To the point. Vulnerable. Relatable. Not too up there, not too down there but exactly where I need it to be to reach who I need it to reach.

What is your favorite poem that you wrote? why?

My favorite piece varies from performance to performance. It all depends on what I had the most fun performing that night or that day. I write all of my poems with the same amount of sincerity and confidence so I can’t pick a favorite because they all contain the same amount of love…To me picking a favorite poem is much like picking a favorite child, I just can’t do it.

Who are some of your favorite poets?

Mahogany Browne, William Evans, Edgar Allen Poe, Rudy Francisco, Andrea Gibson, David Blair, Jamal “Versiz” May, Sierra Demulder and plenty more. I love slam and performance poets so I named a few.

What inspires you to write poetry?

My strong desire for peace inspires me to write poetry.

Kai Mann

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