I Speak With Conviction
The rhythm of verse
Filled with passion and purpose
Expanding your mind
by Michelle Lynn Thompson 08/10/2012
I Speak With Conviction
The rhythm of verse
Filled with passion and purpose
Expanding your mind
by Michelle Lynn Thompson 08/10/2012
After five years of hearing about all of the exciting activities that are hosted by this venue, I finally experienced an open mic event at Busboys and Poets! There are four Busboys and Poets restaurants/bookstores in the Washington metropolitan area – two in Washington DC, one in Hyattsville, MD, and one in Shirlington, VA. I ventured out to The Village at Shirlington, VA to get a feel for the venue and experience this icon for myself.
It was my first time visiting The Village at Shirlington, an urban village, hosting an eclectic collection of restaurants and entertainment options, but quaint enough to be home to thousands of residents who enjoy the convenience of so many amenities just outside of their front door. I loved strolling through the neighborhood as I made my way to Busboys and Poets. The village has this rich, bohemian feel and I can easily see this becoming a favorite place for me to just BE!
I want to share an excerpt from Busboys and Poets website – there is no way that I can explain the essence of this venue any better.Busboys and Poets Tribal Statement Busboys and Poets is a community where racial and cultural connections are consciously uplifted…a place to take a deliberate pause and feed your mind, body and soul…a space for art, culture and politics to intentionally collide…we believe that by creating such a space we can inspire social change and begin to transform our community and the world.
Those of you who have gotten to know me, can understand why I felt instantly welcomed and at ease when I arrived. The ambiance was soulful and engaging. The place was full of energy and just had this amazing vibe that enticed all of my senses. I can see that I will be coming back to this location as often as possible.
This Monday Night Open Mic was hosted by Shelly Bell. She was absolutely AWESOME in creating a fun, energetic and welcoming atmosphere for poets of all levels and experiences. She encouraged the audience in being supportive of each artist that approached the stage. This was my sneak peek – I like to check things out before I step out there. I am planning to visit the other locations in the area and I am so looking forward to sharing some of my work at the next Open Mic Poetry event!
I have to share the history of the name “Busboys and Poets”. I am always intrigued about how things came to be. The website educates us by sharing that “the name Busboys and Poets refers to American poet Langston Hughes, who worked as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel in the 1920s, prior to gaining recognition as a poet.” Mr. Hughes would feel very, very welcomed at any of their locations and so will you. If you are in the Washington metropolitan area, make it a point to stop by the nearest Busboys and Poets for a meal, share a poem, hear a discussion – or just relax in the space and just be YOU!
Peace and Love,
The Kennedy Center is celebrating the anniversary of Marvin Gaye’s performance of What’s Going On at the newly-opened Kennedy Center back in May 1971. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of this event, the Kennedy Center is leading a national conversation around the issues and ideas on the record. “We’re asking young people to think critically about these themes and respond in their own artistic voice.”
“The songs on What’s Going On were united by Marvin Gaye’s dismay about what he saw going on in the world. He sang about the troubles many Americans—especially African Americans—were facing. These woes included the Vietnam War, racism, environmental destruction, poverty, and drug abuse. At times, Gaye was overwhelmed by anger and despair about what was happening. Other times, he spotted glimmers of hope and the possibility of peace and love.” – What’s Going On…NOW? Project
Take the time to read and explore the TIMELINE OF THE ERA, THE VIETNAM ERA, THE MUSIC OF THE ERA, and THE ISSUES OF THE DAY.
Explore ARTSEDGE, the Kennedy Center’s free digital resources for creating your video, audio or imagery of your contribution to the conversation. The CREATE page allows you to Choose Your Issue, Grab a Track, Pick A Tool, Create, and Share.
The CONNECT page allows you to check out what others are sharing about what’s happening in their world.
I just found out about the project and had to get this post together. Let me know if you choose to add to the conversation. I would love to hear your thoughts.
Peace and Love
I am thankful for our monthly Spoken Word Gatherings! We had our April gathering last night and it was a BLAST! I shared my poem “The Silver Legacy” and a couple of new Exquisite Haiku’s We had about 19 people in attendance and some our first time guests felt comfortable enough to share their works with the group. We meet at a local community room that has a kitchen to prepare light refreshments. It really is the perfect intimate setting, not too small – not too large. Our hostess VW, works to bring in a featured Spoken Word Artist each month. Last night I had the chance to hear Komplex, an artist from the Baltimore, MD area. It was such a treat to hear his works. His lyrical tapestry was absolutely exquisite!
Below are some suggestions from Poets.org about putting together a local poetry reading in your community! Keep the children in mind, and make it an early afternoon family event.
Readings are a great way to promote poets and poetry. Perhaps you are part of a writing group and want to share your work with an audience. Or maybe you’re interested in gathering poets whose work you’ve admired, or you want to help discover new voices. You can select poets you know from writers groups, workshops, local colleges and universities (professors and students), or announce a call for readers.
When looking for a venue, consider your local library, coffee shop, bookstore, art gallery, bar, or performance space. Depending on where you have the reading, you may have to charge an admission fee or a drink minimum, which you can arrange with the owner or manager of the space.
Advertise your reading online and in print. You can post your event on the Academy’s free National Events Calendar using the simple online form. The event listing will also appear on the corresponding state page of the National Poetry Map. Create an event page on Facebook and invite your local contacts, and ask friends with websites and blogs to help publicize the reading. In addition to posting your event online, make flyers and send a listing announcement of the reading to your local newspapers and publications.
If you enjoy organizing the reading, then consider turning it into a weekly or monthly series. Your event may be the beginning of a long poetry tradition in your community.
Other Resources from Poets & Writers:
Poets & Writers Directory (to find poets in your area)
The Silver Legacy
Spoken Word Artist
A lover of verse.
Inspired by spoken words
that express living.
by Michelle Lynn Thompson 04/14/2012
Visit the National Museum of American History’s website for 112 Ways to Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month!
Hare are some of my favorite suggestions that the site had to offer:
“Take your son or daughter to hear “live” jazz. One under-looked possibility: the jazz band of your local high school or college.”
“Suggest your child log onto to www.SmithsonianJazz.org, to www.ArtsEdge.kennedy-center.org, or another child-friendly jazz site. If you live within driving range of a jazz exhibition (such as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, in Washington, D.C.), jazz museum (such as the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City), jazz home (such as Scott Joplin‘s house in Saint Louis) or jazz park (the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park), take your children there.”
“Read a jazz-related poem–such as those in The Jazz Poetry Anthology, edited by Sascha Feinstein and Yusef Komunyakaa or their The Second Set: The Jazz Poetry Anthology, Volume 2.”
View the National Museum of America History’s calendar of National Events (United States) for happenings that may be going on in your area.
When people say Meryl Streep is a great actress, I agree, but I think the best compliment is that she's of 'Bette Davis' proportions. In fact, early in Streep's career, she received a letter from Davis in which she confessed Streep would be her successor as the premier American movie actress.
Davis was nominated 10 times for an Academy Award, all of them Best Actress nods and she won twice.
The Bistro Styx by Rita DoveShe was thinner, with a mannered gauntness
as she paused just inside the double
glass doors to survey the room, silvery cape
billowing dramatically behind her.What’s this,
I thought, lifting a hand until
she nodded and started across the parquet;
that’s when I saw she was dressed all in gray,
from a kittenish cashmere skirt and cowl
down to the graphite signature of her shoes.
“Sorry I’m late,” she panted, though
she wasn’t, sliding into the chair, her cape
tossed off in a shudder of brushed steel.
We kissed.Then I leaned back to peruse
my blighted child, this wary aristocratic mole.
“How’s business?” I asked, and hazarded
a motherly smile to keep from crying out:
Are you content to conduct your life
as a cliché and, what’s worse,
an anachronism, the brooding artist’s demimonde?
Near the rue Princesse they had opened
a gallery cum souvenir shop which featured
fuzzy off-color Monets next to his acrylics, no doubt,
arrived on a bone-white plate, smug and absolute
in its fragrant crust, a black plug steaming
like the heart plucked from the chest of a worthy enemy;
one touch with her fork sent pink juices streaming.
“Admiration for what?”Wine, a bloody
Pinot Noir, brought color to her cheeks.”Why,
the aplomb with which we’ve managed
to support our Art”–meaning he’d convinced
her to pose nude for his appalling canvases,
faintly futuristic landscapes strewn
with carwrecks and bodies being chewed
by rabid cocker spaniels.”I’d like to come by
the studio,” I ventured, “and see the new stuff.”
“Yes, if you wish . . .”A delicate rebuff
before the warning: “He dresses all
in black now.Me, he drapes in blues and carmine–
and even though I think it’s kinda cute,
in company I tend toward more muted shades.”
She paused and had the grace
to drop her eyes.She did look ravishing,
spookily insubstantial, a lipstick ghost on tissue,
or as if one stood on a fifth-floor terrace
peering through a fringe of rain at Paris’
dreaming chimney pots, each sooty issue
wobbling skyward in an ecstatic oracular spiral.
“And he never thinks of food.I wish
I didn’t have to plead with him to eat. . . .”Fruit
and cheese appeared, arrayed on leaf-green dishes.
I stuck with café crème.”This Camembert‘s
so ripe,” she joked, “it’s practically grown hair,”
mucking a golden glob complete with parsley sprig
onto a heel of bread.Nothing seemed to fill
her up: She swallowed, sliced into a pear,
speared each tear-shaped lavaliere
and popped the dripping mess into her pretty mouth.
Nowhere the bright tufted fields, weighted
vines and sun poured down out of the south.
“But are you happy?”Fearing, I whispered it
quickly.”What?You know, Mother”–
she bit into the starry rose of a fig–
“one really should try the fruit here.”
I’ve lost her, I thought, and called for the bill.To learn about Rita Dove and her works visit The Rita Dove Homepage.
Another idea from poets.org – Celebrate your favorite poet by writing a letter!
Let the poets who you are reading know that you appreciate their work by sending them a letter. If there is a poem that you keep with you as a Life Line, tell its author that. Or your note can be as simple as a question.
“Dear Mr. Cummings—blasphemous, inexorable, disrespectful, sinful author though you are—you received a cordial welcome at my door today.”
Letter-writing is also a great activity to take on in the classroom, as many students’ letters have sparked long-lasting mentorships. For example, in Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke sets out to advise a student, Franz Xaver Kappus, on his future but ends up presenting one of the most lurid explanations of his own aesthetic that he ever wrote. And none of it would have been written had Kappus not initiated the conversation.
Many poets will post their contact information on their websites or blogs. This is often the simplest way to get in touch with an author. If the poet works at an academic institution, he or she will often be listed in the faculty directory. Poets & Writers also provides a directory of writers willing to provide their information to the public.
If your search does not reveal a direct e-mail or mailing address, another option is to get in touch with the poet’s publisher. Even if the poet in question is unavailable or deceased, the gesture of writing a letter can bring you closer to his or her work.