One of the things that makes me feel alive is to watch somebody else become empowered. I like to see them take the first swing, even if they miss, even if they strike out, because everybody has to start somewhere. We all hit a few foul balls before we hit a fair, start off bunting before we hit the big one, hit a few off the wall before we make it home. Poetry has given me the platform to use my voice, to step up to the plate and take a swing, and that’s exactly what I’ve done.
Poetry is often pushed aside – in the selection schedule of educational institutions, it’s the first to be beheaded when something’s got to go, the first to be cut from the curriculum when it’s crunch time, with a reputation of being boring and barren of fun. But, you see, much like Joan Jett, poetry doesn’t give a damn bout its bad reputation. Of the ways to write, poems are the rebels, the rule breakers, resilient and revolutionary. What sets poetry aside is that it comes from a personal place – from your own perceptions and feelings, thoughts and experiences, and that is what makes it accessible to all, because everybody has the potential to be a poet.
Poetry teaches the expected scholastic skills, like writing, reading, literacy, and grammar, but it also teaches empathy, it teaches understanding. Poetry can be therapeutic, it can be incredibly influential, it can immortalize someone – a person put in a poem can live forever. Poetry gives a platform to your voice, because most importantly, it empowers you to use yours. Poetry is powerful, and I’ve hit a home run with The Prosers.
A slam poetry team that I’ve started here in the Ohio Valley, The Prosers recently made their debut performance at the YWCA Wheeling’s Heartfelt Expressions event for Crime Victim’s Right Week. 15 students strong, from several schools and representing all sexes, races, sexual orientations, and gender identities, The Prosers do more than perform. You can not only hear them and watch them, but see students and a school make a statement and take a stand against dating violence, like they did in this video. You can watch campuses come together for crime victims, like they did in this video. A grand slam group, empowered and ready to entertain, The Prosers’ next performance will be Saturday June 20th at the Wheeling Arts Fest in the West Virginia Northern Community College Auditorium at 10 A.M., and Friday June 26th at the Ohio Valley Rib & Chicken Festival Talent Show starting at 5:30 P.M.