Jonathan Samuel Eddie | Comedic Poem | Curated by Theresa Davis

Jonathan Samuel Eddie | Comedic Poem | Curated by Theresa Davis

The Comedic Poem

 

In the past, I have had folk ask why I don’t write more serious poems. I think all of my poems are serious even when dressed in humor. The fact that a chuckle might erupt during a poem when talking about the government in my pants, or my son relating to my sexuality, or the expectation of my being an angry black woman, doesn’t make them less serious. If I walked around constantly channeling the way this world treats me as a black woman, black queer woman, black queer educated woman, black educated queer mother, and on and on, I’d be so angry there would be no words. There is a line in the Avengers Movie, stay with me here, where Captain America (oh the irony) tells Bruce Banner, “Now would be a good time to get angry.” And Banner replies, “That’s my secret, I’m always angry.” This is what it is like to be Black in America, a constant slow simmer. So I don’t Hulk out every other day, humor channels that anger and sometimes I make other people boil.

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I met Jonathan Samuel Eddie, the man with three first names, several years ago. The first time I heard his poetry it was so funny in that uncomfortable way, I thought,” WHO IS THIS HUMAN!! AND WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING TO MY BRAIN?” He has a way of wrapping his experiences of blackness in humor while still communicating the message of mistreatment, family, history and the pain of loss.

Jonathan Samuel Eddie, the man with three first names, is not just a poet. He is an actor, director, playwright, and coaches the Fountain City Youth Slam Team in Columbus, Georgia. He is currently a member of the Java Monkey Slam Team with poets Mista Funn, Adan Bean, Miss Haze, and Nate Mask, who will be traveling to Oakland soon to compete in the National Poetry Slam.

Jonathan Samuel Eddie is a Spoken Word Comedian, delicately and hilariously merging both art forms with every syllable that falls form his lips. A native of Columbus, GA. and an alumnus of Georgia Southern University, Jonathan Samuel Eddie is a lover of any and everything that is art and humor. This love has lead him to the spoken word, having competed in and won several poetry slams across the USA with his wit and writing. Jonathan Samuel Eddie is the poet your mother didn’t warn you about.

Whether writing humorous poems about being a choreographically challenged black man, the stereotypes attached to black folks and tardiness, or seriously about fashion and not in a funny way.

Don’t discount humor in poetry and don’t think that we don’t have range. We do. He does.

And did I mention his sock with flip flop game is on point!

Jonathan Samuel Eddie – Jonathan Samuel Eddie is a spoken word comedian hailing from Columbus, GA. This alumnus of Georgia Southern University is a lover of any and everything that is art. He represented the city of Atlanta at the National Poetry Slam competition as a member of the 2012 and 2014 Art Amok Poetry Slam Teams. He was also the 2012 and 2014 Grand Slam Champion at Art Amok. At the 2014 and 2015 Southern Fried Regional Poetry Festival, he ranked among the top 10 individual competing poets. Jonathan is now a proud member of the 2015 Java Monkey Slam Team, representing Atlanta. As an actor, he has graced stages in productions such as Blues For An Alabama Sky, The Foreigner, and Clybourne Park to name a few. He portrays Crispus Attucks in an interactive video display at the African American Military History Museum in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. As a director, Jonathan has overseen numerous productions, including three of his original works to stage, STIMULUS, Blues For Mama, and WORDS through his company, Yellow Mojo Productions. He has opened up for the likes of comedians such as Bruce Bruce and Earthquake, and was a featured stand up comic at the 2014 Black Box Comedy Festival in Atlanta, GA. He currently serves as the founder/director of the Fountain City Teen Poetry Slam, an organization that inspires youth to use their creativity as a positive outlet in their daily lives. From his work as a wellness instructor with the Muscogee County Juvenile Drug Court system, he has also designed an effective and fun-filled curriculum that teaches students life skills through creative writing. Students have experienced the benefits of this auxiliary arts education in their intellectual, personal, and social development. Through weekly workshops, poetry slams, national/regional/local performance opportunities, and community service, he’s blessed to watch the future take shape one word at a time.

 

 

 

 

Website soon to go live JonSamEdd.com
Twitter @ISAMUEL_EDDIEP
Instagram @JonSamEdd

 

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Brave New Voices Atlanta | Miss Haze | Curated by Theresa Davis

Brave New Voices Atlanta | Miss Haze | Curated by Theresa Davis

Brave New Voices in Atlanta

The city of Atlanta was blessed by the voices of our young poets as it hosted the 18th Annual Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival. It’s always refreshing to hear what our young poets have to say and how they will say it. This was my first time attending the festival and while there are some similarities to the National Poetry Slam, I could see the many differences. Some will quote that old colloquialism that “Youth is wasted on the young” clearly they haven’t seen the power in these young poets.

This festival doesn’t deal with the scores of the poems, we know that they are there but they are not announced and I dig that part especially. Even though you know the coaches are strategizing the young folk seem more focused on the work they are sharing. The support they show and give to one another reminds me of my first years of slam when it felt like one big family reunion where everybody wanted everybody to do well in this random arena we shared. Oh the good old days!

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I hosted a bout in a beautiful art gallery that was the site for several bouts, at the same time, with no walls and 100% sound bleed. In this festival where the poets have their team chants and cheers, as the host it was my charge to instruct them not to cheer, chant or clap. Needless to say the first round was tricky. It’s hard not to cheer on your team; we were reprimanded by the fabulous Danez Smith, and eventually got our clapping in line with the ASL clap. We also created a waving air shifting clap because it was hot as hell. I couldn’t imagine the adult poets being as agreeable, not that they wouldn’t be, I just couldn’t imagine it. I could imagine the protests, another thing that doesn’t happen at BNV.

What a concept.

Finals Stage

When I say “I have never seen such innovative group pieces before in my life,” what I mean is “I have never seen such innovative group pieces before in my life!” The energy on that stage was staggering. There were many poems about being Black in America because they are Black in America, but the variations on the theme were so creative and inspirational. Philly, did the damn thing and the Atlanta Team took second. The showcase pieces were all exceptional and I wished I could have been at all the prelim bouts because I wanted more!!

Scott Woods, I need you to get that cloning device together so I can see all of the bouts!

Philly BNV

I know random. Slam.

And that poem LA did about Cats.

Brilliant.

Here is a cool thing that happened.

I work with Teen Slam program here in Atlanta. Our kids wanted to send a team to BNV this year we were not able to do so but many of those youth got to see the festival some were even sacrificial poets, they learned they need to step up their game. More than that some of the higher ups who wanted to censor, maybe censor is a strong word. They wanted certain words to not be used in poetry. What do we call that? Oh yeah, censoring. They heard the poems, unfiltered and full of the expression we want our young people to have. I had the opportunity of see my point being made. You cannot tell a poet they can express themselves as long as they don’t make you uncomfortable at any age. Educate your funders please. We will see if language comes up again in the next session.

It better not.

Another very cool thing that happened.

Atlanta Poet Miss Haze, has a poem called “For Colored Girls Who Don’t Need Katy Perry When Missy Elliot is Enough” it is a very dope piece. It was tweeted about during BNV and Missy Elliot found Miss Haze and a poem came true!!

Don’t you love it when that happens?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Java Monkey – Kodac Harrison – Bryan Pattillo | Curated by Theresa Davis

Java Monkey – Kodac Harrison – Bryan Pattillo | Curated by Theresa Davis

Java Monkey Speaks is a cornerstone in the poetry community in the Atlanta/Decatur area. Poets from all walks of life meet and greet in this space sharing their words and energy. This is the first place I shared a poem and for 10 years it never felt like anything but home. Kodac Harrison, the host of Java Monkey Speaks, started this open mic on a Sunday evening 14 years ago this June. Kodac Harrison, is a poet and musician who believes deeply in the power of poetry and spoken word. On any given Sunday you will hear poems that move you, confuse you, inspire you, and sometimes piss you off. There could be songs or stories, just know that Java Monkey Speaks every Sunday night.

Java Monkey is a popular spot in downtown Decatur. It’s a coffee shop that serves delicious sandwiches and dessert as well as wine and beer. It sports an outdoor patio and bleacher style seating, installed to accommodate the growth of the crowds during poetry slam season. On Sunday’s at the open mic night on average we get to hear 25 poets and a feature. Every once in a poem or while, we get to hear 35 poets. I asked Kodac why he thought Java was so successful and still going strong?

“Because of the diversity and fairness. Plus one needs to consider the venue as well as the audience, and of course you need a strong host.” ~Kodac Harrison

We who frequent Java Money Speaks have witnessed the poems from poets from 4 years old to 94 years young. The features have come from near and far to share their work. For the 14th year celebration there were tribute poems offered for the venue, for Kodac and for the love of spoken word, topped off with a feature performance from one of our community veterans, Mr. Bryan Pattillo.

So if you are ever in the area and would like to hear some words, or have coffee, beer, a slice of cake, or a piece of pie remember Java Monkey Speaks every Sunday night!

Meet Kodac Harrison

Musician, Songwriter, Poet & Painter

KodacHarrison2Kodac Harrison grew up in Jackson, Ga. and after earning a BS from Ga. Tech, and a MBA from Tulane, he committed himself to a life as an artist. He played his first professional gig at a place called “East of Eden” in Salinas, California. Since then, he has made 17 recordings of original music and spoken word, embarked on 7 tours of Europe, co-edited 4 anthologies of poetry, and sold his original paintings. Kodac held the visiting McEver Chair of Poetry at Ga. Tech in 2010. In 2013, he released his first book, which is a retrospective of poems and lyrics entitled The Turtle and the Moon. In late 2014, Kodac released his 17th musical recording entitled, The Lucky One. In the winter of 2015, Senate Records released an audio version of his book. Kodac is chairman of Poetry Atlanta and hosts the award winning Java Monkey Speaks.

Below is a poem by one of  the mainstays at Java Monkey – Bryan Patillo

 

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Alice Lovelace | My America Poem | Curated by Theresa Davis

Alice Lovelace | My America Poem | Curated by Theresa Davis

I have been influenced by many people as I have stumbled around and into the world of poetry, but no one has influenced me as much as Alice Lovelace. This amazing woman is a parent, an author, poet, playwright, community organizer and did I mention she is also my mother. I remember going to political rallies and marches where my parents would perform poems together and set the tone for the speakers who would follow them. Later as I meander into slam world I would find this is called a group piece and be reminded that my parents were doing what I am doing now back in the ‘70’s (don’t tell Marc, Oh wait, SO WHAT).

One of my favorite poems by my mother is “My America Poem.” It is truly a performance piece and that is what makes this poem so staggeringly beautiful. It expresses the gluttony and sheep mentality that many Americans call home. Alice Lovelace has a style about her that is one of a kind and her messages ring loud and clear. Another favorite poem is “This One’s For You” inspired by a tiny article in the newspaper about the bombing of the federal building and fueled by other news stories played down in the media. The opening line states,

“This is for all the dicks in charge from Cheney to the other dicks at large…”

This poem also has a hook she coined after reading an article about a pill being developed to make poop smell like flowers and candy, the hook goes,

“Scientist say there will come a day, when you can’t tell shit by the smell of it.”

Alice Lovelace aka The Word Wizard, aka The Godmother of Spoken Word in Atlanta, aka My Mom, is truly an inspiration and mentor to many of the poets in the Atlanta/Decatur poetry community. She has taught me many lessons throughout my life, The most important being “Never be what you are not and let no one make your voice small” the other being “The apple don’t fall far from the tree no matter how hard you kick it.” There  go repeating myself. *clears throat*

Introducing, My Mom!!

Alice Lovelace is a cultural worker, poet, playwright, and arts administer.  She was a founding member and Executives Director for The Arts Exchange; Regional Director for the New Forms Regional Artist Initiated Grant program; Executive Director of Alternate ROOTS, Executive Director of the Atlanta Partnership for Arts in Learning, Inc.; and Writer-in-Residence and Director at the Neighborhood Arts Center.  She worked with Toni Cade Bambara to organize the Southern Collective of African American Writers in the late 1970s, and was the coordinator for the 1980 Conference on Black South Literature and Art at Emory University.  She has a master’s degree in Conflict Resolution from Antioch University.  She has received numerous awards for lifetime of work in the community, including a 2002 Spirit of the Movement Award in recognition of her use of poetry to educate the public about issues of political and social justice.  Since 1995, she has been co-editor of the “ARTS CHANGES” section of In Motion Magazine (www.inmotionmagazine.com), an on-line journal dedicated to issues of democracy.  In 2011 Alice and  visual artist Lisa Tuttle collaborated on “Harriet Rising”, commissioned by the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs Public Art Program and Underground Atlanta, for its four- month long Elevate: Art Above Underground exhibit. The installation was named one of the 50 best public art projects in the nation by Americans for the Arts’ 2012 Public Art Network Year in Review.

 

Learn more about Alice Lovelace below:

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INTRODUCING Theresa Davis | Eternal Graffiti 2015 Curator

My name is Theresa Davis and I am a poet from Atlanta, Georgia. I have been under poetry’s spell most of my life, I ignored it for as long as I could, but the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree no matter how hard you kick it. My parents are poets, my brother is a poet and at least two of my children have been witnessed writing or reciting a poem or two, so it’s probably genetic. I really hope it is. Poets.

I performed my first spoken word piece while competing in the Miss Georgia Pageant (don’t judge me or do, I don’t give a damn). The only reason I participated in the pageant was because when I went to inquire about qualifications to enter I was told it was open to everyone provided they were sponsored by a department followed by, “But, people like you, usually have problems keeping up with the commitment it takes…” I stopped listening because all I heard was Black Women Not Welcomed! Looking around the office I noticed that there was not one black woman pictured in the history of the pageant for the school I attended, and for some reason that just pissed me off. So, I basically became a beauty queen not because it was my passion but because it was a political statement that went horribly wrong. I mean, I made my point but I was wearing heels and Vaseline on my teeth at the time (it makes the smile pop, I was told).

I knew going in that I wouldn’t win, but I was determined to make those white girls work. In the talent portion of the thing, I did a poem personifying death dressed in a hooded robe carrying a scythe and everything. To say I scared the shit out of the audience would be an understatement. When I finished the poem there was such a profound silence I removed the hood just to make sure the room wasn’t empty. The first to applaud was my family, because that’s what family does, then the slow clap of the stunned audience. I thought it was hilarious, Mom thought they were rude but we all knew that they just weren’t ready. The girl who won twirled a baton to a patriotic tune and dropped it no less than six times once kicking it across the stage. I was just glad the damn thing wasn’t on fire we would have all died a glittery star spangled death. We survived. Our physical bodies survived, I’m pretty sure some piece of our soul was damaged, kicked around like that poor baton that, thank the Gods was not on fire.

I’ve grown a lot since then and I no longer terrify people with my words.

Oh wait, I do.

That was a long ass back story.

From then to now, I have found my passion. Poetry. It fits in nicely with my other passions community outreach, teaching and collaboration. I am grateful that Mike and Carlos want to hear from me and think others want to hear from me as well so, for the next few posts I will be writing about collaboration, community, community outreach, and some of my favorite young poets.

 

Find our more about Teresa Davis Below:

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Women Sweet on Women II