#BlackPoetsSpeakOut | Boris “Bluz” Rogers on Scott Woods

#BlackPoetsSpeakOut | Boris “Bluz” Rogers on Scott Woods



In an effort to further the awareness of and involvement in the #BlackPoetsSpeakOut campaign, all of our posts this week will be of poets championing other poets who have posted videos in support of the movement. To read a brief introduction from Mahogany Browne, one of the campaign’s co-creators, click here. To see the tumblr page with all of the video contributions, click here.

Today’s post was written by Boris “Bluz” Rogers in reflection of Scott Woods‘ video (below).


With the #blackpoetsspeakout movement picking up speed as more and more poets add their pieces I chose to go back and reflect on one that had a particular affect on me. Scott Woods’ “(ar)rest assured,” a gripping poem read in what I like to consider Scott’s calming demeanor. In fact it’s the lack of “black anger” that drew me in. As most of the poets who participate in the project are asked to say a general yet uniformed opener to their poem, one of the particular lines is “I have a right to be angry”. Woods’ poem starts off with a calm and never rises above it. He runs through the assurances that if he were to be shot by police that he was not angry or being thuggish or being a threat or a problem that needed to be solved by a bullet. All of the problems that seem to draw the attention of police brutality. In fact Woods describes wearing a seatbelt, listening to country music, and not smiling as to not provoke an attack by police. This piece moved me to the thought of how many black men out there shut themselves down in situations where they are stopped by police as to avoid dying. I have had numerous conversation with black men about the the rush of fear that comes over your body when you’re pulled over by police. Especially at night. Especially in the South. Conversations that often end with uncomfortable silence because the truth of that fear that each party shares is almost hard to believe exists. I mean we are grown ass men right? We shouldn’t have shutter in fear every time we see flashing lights or hear a siren behind us? This is America, correct? This poem is such a shout out to the irregular regular black guy. Those of us who actually enjoy the World Cup, your best friend is white or Filipino, you drive a Volvo, listen to Coldplay or Foo Fighters, play tennis, ride your bike to work and recycle everything you can because your green like that. He wants the listener to be assured that he was no threat, non-violent, and “a good boy” yet in spite of that, in spite of the cool, calm, collected voice…he will be shot. All in all one of the dopest in the series by one of the dopest poets in the country.


Find all of the videos on the official tumblr for the campaign #BlackPoetsSpeakOut

Scott Woods | What I know about chicken that you don’t

Scott Woods | What I know about chicken that you don’t

Last Saturday I attended a youth writing workshop, it was a great session run by Jay Ward, an incredible Charlotte-based poet and youth coach. One of the things he talked about was reading off paper in a slam, and how it can affect your scores if you don’t do it correctly. To fully illustrate what “correctly” looks like he pulled up a video of a poet who reads a poem off of paper and ABSOLUTELY nails it.

Jay told the youth poets that if you ever have to read off of paper that this was the gold standard.

Enter Scott Woods. Scott woods is an OG, he is a Spoken Word Sage, and a truly dope writer. Scott does not shy away from using his voice to break you down if you step out of line, which is one of the things I love about him. Scott has always been a humble and genuine dude in a room full of fake Rockstars.

Oh did I mention that in 2006 he was the first poet to ever complete a 24 hour solo poetry reading, then in 2007 he came back and beat his own record!

On top of everything else he does he was the President of Poetry Slam, Inc. for several years and is one of the handful of heartbeats in our generation that has been integral in steering our subculture forward, there are a lot of loud voices in our community who just talk but don’t put in the work.

Scott does the heavy lifting.

If you read Carlos’ post “A Letter to an Artist Friend” I am convinced when history looks back on this time period of Spoken Word poetry he will be one of the names etched in the stone.

This poem entitled “What I know about chicken that you don’t” is absolute comedic poetry gold…it is hilarious but still speaks to an underlying theme of privilege and race. I have watched it several times and still laugh just as hard each time.

One of the best things about this platform is the opportunity to engage all generations of our subculture, to introduce voices that everyone has not heard, and to connect fans of poetry to poets that they can really resonate with.

Check out the poem from Scoot Woods!! You can thank me later.


Find out more about Scott below:

Website: Scott Woods

Book: You can buy his book by following the link – We Over Here Now

Facebook: Here 

Venue: If you are ever in Columbus OH, check out Writers Block Poetry Night


Scott woods

G Yamazawa | Home

G Yamazawa | Home

G Yamazawa is one of my best friends. He’s actually on the road right now and crashed my couch three nights ago and six nights before that. He is one of the few poets that I have really great conversations with, particularly about the places and spaces that we ‘poets’ are supposed to fill. I have been lucky enough to watch him grow from an incredible youth poet to a breakout young rockstar at the 2010 Southern Fried Poetry Slam to the reigning National Champion that he is. I’ve seen him continually evolve and find new purpose in his writing.

When he was in town last week, our conversations kept coming back to a mutual urge to craft something that held an audience longer than the average three minute slam poem. We both had a desire to take an audience somewhere further than three minutes could allow and then to build on that journey. We wanted to not just go further than a slam poem but to change lanes, to move through one place and find ourselves somewhere else on the other end. We had some ideas but nothing concrete so we wrote out a schedule and agreed to each write a ten minute poem over the next few months, holding each other accountable structurally and creatively during the process. We even talked about debuting them here on the site (<-Awesome right?).

I’ve been around poets for a long time and I have a theory about artists and the periods they go through, some are personally successful periods, some are creatively successful, some just financial. I had a moment a few nights ago with G, standing outside my local chicken spot where I realized he was on the verge of a new period in his work, an introspective personal and creative period. G has more to say than most of his contemporaries and I’m not even sure how aware G is of that yet. There’s a spiritual center to his work which shows through in his poems but I know from a gut feeling that whatever that thing is, it’s certain to show through even more in the near future. When I talked to G about writing a blog about him, he jokingly told me to make sure I mentioned that he was a handsome genius and a great poet and rapper. Funny thing is, that sells him a little short. It’s not what he is now that’s so impressive, it’s what he’s quickly becoming. He has a depth in his intent that betrays his public persona, but I’m calling it now, we’re all going to see it soon. And that nuance and bravery is on great display in this poem, “Home” as he performed it on TVOne’s ‘Verses & Flow.’

Thanks for watching yall and welcome to the site.


Follow along with G here: