Alysia Harris | Baby Boy

Alysia Harris | Baby Boy

I have hinted at who my favourite poets are a couple times, but have never come out and said it directly. Well one poet that is on the top of that list for sure is Alysia Harris.

Besides being an incredible writer and performer there is such a genuine honesty to her work. I believe her every time. Which unfortunately is rare nowadays.

There is a raw energy in her writing, it feels like she pulls every poem thru herself and on to the page. She does with a poem what Sade does with a song, she wraps a universe into a small space, she then takes that space and creates an entire universe. Her poems are living rooms, they are things you can get comfortable inside of.

You often know when someone is writing for slam, or using a formula to try to gain fanfare, it is robotic in a way, it is a shiny thing. Alysia’s poems are not, they are weathered, they are the sweatshirt you gave your lover to keep them warm.

Another thing that I love about her poems is normally she starts off just talking to you. Speaking familiar things, identifiable things about family or love or life and then she builds — puts you right there on Mt. Everest and you did not even know you were traveling, did not know that you could go so high so fast. and just like that you are there on the edge of your seat, your hands coming together as if you had magnets in your palms. Your tear ducts throwing coal in the fire, getting ready to clock in.

There are a ton of great poems by Alysia, I say this a lot but picking the poem to spotlight is one of the hardest things about writing the post, so today I am going to cheat and post two.

One of my favourite poems is called “Baby Boy” and features another amazing artist Tina Colon.

[Side note – Tina Colon has a song called “God Who Guides” that I still listen to when I want to feel connected to something bigger than myself, when I want to remember what it was like to believe in god completely.] It is seriously a great song.

From what I can gather this poem came together on the spot, she heard the song and started writing and they just collaborated right there in the moment, which is why I am guessing there is so much raw energy in this video.

Another one of my favourites is “Depth over Distance” [Featuring Bridget Barkan]

 

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Also check out the Mama Atlas Tour her and Jasmine Mans are putting on during the month of April at the official Tumblr.
Mama Atlas Tour 
Alysia Harris

Shihan | Love Like

Shihan | Love Like

The spotlight poet/poem of the day is ‘love like’ by Shihan. Seeing how today is valentines day I tried to think of the most iconic love poem that has come out of the slam community and ‘love like‘, in my opinion, was at the absolute top of the list.

We will be featuring Shihan again on the site and I will really dive into the dynamic poet and person he is. Shihan is a pioneer in our space and I am looking forward to spotlighting him in his own right.

But for now, I hope by this point in the day you are safe and surrounded by people who love you, I hope you know you are loved because you are.

 

When I was thinking about my favorite line I’m the poem I realised I had to leave a footnote for the kids…..a while ago there was this thing called long distance calling. Long distance calls were more expensive than local calls…like if I live in Atlanta and you live in Denver if I called your number it would cost me more. So I would actually have to go to my provider and add a long distance calling plan to my cellphone….crazy I know

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!!!

 

 

Shihan

Joshua Bennett | Balaenoptera

Joshua Bennett | Balaenoptera

I will tell anyone who asks that Joshua Bennett is one of my top five favorite contemporary poets, and my admiration for him transcends far past the poems of his that I have listened to. Aside from him being a champion of the microphone, personally he is about as genuine as they come. All things aside he is just good peoples.

The other thing that puts Joshua at the head of the pack is the way he continues to set the bar. From performing at the White House, to a sick ad campaign with Ralph Lauren to MANY other accomplishments. Those accomplishments include Strivers Row, the collective that he was instrumental in creating that has been dragon slaying its way through performance poetry. Joshua has been trailblazing since the first time I met him when he was rocking the wheels off of final stage at IWPS in Charlotte NC. And from the look of things he is just getting started.

Side note: If you don’t know about the Strivers Row Collective you need to get familiar asap, because they are really setting the standard for what spoken word should look like and how it should be revered.

In my own poetry circles (when I’m talking to Los) I refer to Strivers Row as the leaders of the new school, and deservedly so. I did a show in London, it was an open mic and I was the paid as the feature.

They went to London and sold out almost the whole tour before they left the US (that’s MAJOR!!)

See the picture below – no this is not the line to see Kanye, it is the line wrapped around the building and down the street to see a poetry show. The line went from 114th to 116th!!

strivers line

I have been to countless poetry shows where the organizer had to start late, hoping more people would show up. So to see this lets me know that things are going in the right direction for our subculture. And I believe wholeheartedly that Joshua Bennett will be one of the major forces that drive us all forward

But on to the poem and an example of what setting a standard looks like.

Today’s spotlight, “Balaenoptera,” is a gorgeous love poem and one of my favorite poems by Joshua. It is well written and smart, which is something I love about all of Joshua’s poems. You can guarantee you will not catch everything the first time because he creates layers in all of his writing, his work is never one-dimensional, it is always rich. The video quality of this poem is silk it is one of the best videos I have seen online and is a calling card for the type of quality that poets should be striving for.

Do your self a favor and listen to this brilliant poem by a brilliant poet.

 

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