I have been a fan of slam poetry for some time now. Since I was able, I’ve been adamantly writing, cannot conjure up a memory of myself without a journal to archive it. In high school, the boys and girls in my class played a game where they would see who could steal my journal, try to sort out the secrets that I must be saving in it, identify what was so important about that book. They got some gossip and clues as to my crushes, a no-filter to my feelings, and thoroughly knew my thoughts. I don’t think anyone expected my writing to go from a hobby to a have-to, teenage entertainment to and adult endeavor, that it would pass the test of time and keep coming out of me, but it has.
From structured songs to short stories to slam poems, my writing has evolved with me. From personal to political to poetic, we haven’t parted ways. From my mouth to a mic to a market, I have come a long way from students trying to steal it from me to sharing it on a stage. I was fortunate enough that someone found me at an open mic and enjoyed it enough to let me try my hand at headlining. This Saturday at 8 P.M. at the Towngate Theatre in Wheeling, not only will I be fulfilling a void within me, but also one within our community.
With the help of many other local artists, we will be having the first ever slam poetry show in the Ohio Valley. In a place that is progressing, a city that is seeing a transformation, we heard the call, and are stepping onto the stage. A variety of voices have asked for other kinds of entertainment besides bars and restaurants, to have options, to drink in something exciting, to eat up something with a spark, and what better than art and amplifying our voices? Fostering artists for a long time, the city already has a scene – the Artists Market, Arts Fest, Artworks Around Town, all the madly talented musicians, and we are happy to have the help of the Oglebay Institute to bring a brand new entertainment endeavor: slam poetry.
Saturday, November 14th, 2015 (TODAY!), at 8 P.M. local artists will align. What’s so appealing about slam poetry is that it’s a diverse medium, delivered in all sorts of styles and subject matter, social justice sensitive, politically powerful, engaging and entertaining, fire from your mouth, and the event will reflect that. With performances from high school students like Gabrielle Marshall, performance poets like myself, local singer/songwriters like Shannon Canterbury, members of the hip hop scene like Claudell Whetstone and Chermayne Davis, it is an event for everyone. If you, too, have something to say, the event will also feature an open mic portion. All of these artists for an admission of just $5! We hope to see you there, and after all these years, I’m happy to say that my journal is still worth stealing!