Tag Archives: Spoken Word

Exquisite Haiku: I Speak With Conviction

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I Speak With Conviction

 

The rhythm of verse

Filled with passion and purpose

Expanding your mind

 

by Michelle Lynn Thompson 08/10/2012

Busboys and Poets

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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,

Michelle

Exquisite Haiku: I Dance For You

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I Dance For You

In movement, I speak

Praising You, Worshipping You

I surrender all

by Michelle Lynn Thompson 

05/23/2012

Celebrate National Poetry Month – Organize a Local Poetry Reading!

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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)

Exquisite Haiku: Spoken Word Artist

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Spoken Word Artist

A lover of verse.

Inspired by spoken words

that express living.

by Michelle Lynn Thompson 04/14/2012

National Poetry Month: It’s Your Turn! Read A Poem at an Open Mic

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It’s your turn!  Below are some great tips form the Academy of American Poets on how to prepare for your Open Mic performance!

Chances are you’ve walked by your local coffee shop or neighborhood bar and seen a crowd of people listening to a poet reading his or her work. Usually free or requiring a small cover charge, open mic (short for “microphone”) readings are for anyone who wants to read their poetry in a public venue. Sometimes open mic nights have a featured reader or writing workshop, but generally there is a sign-up sheet for anyone interested. Each poet is called to step up to the microphone and read a poem or two.

Participating in an open mic reading can be a lot of fun. Some people attend just to listen, others to try out a new poem for an audience, and still others stop by to see if any crazy hijinks will ensue during the reading. It’s a great way to meet other writers in your area and find out about your local writing community. Check your local newspaper or library, ask at your local coffee house, or find a writers’ group in your area for information.

Here are some general public speaking tips to get you started:

  • DO keep it short. If you see the MC tapping their watch or looking desperate, finish your poem and exit the stage gracefully.
  • DO try to eliminate filler from your speech, as in “um, uh, well, yeah” and do speak clearly into the microphone. (If there is no microphone and you feel uncomfortable speaking loudly, clear diction will help your voice carry.)
  • DO look at the audience when you can. Eye contact will always energize a performance. DO relax and have a good time! If you look comfortable in front of a crowd, the crowd will feel comfortable looking at you.

Is There a Such a Thing as a Spoken Word Matinee?

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Spoken Word artists inspire me!  I have had the opportunity to visit several different venues over the years, and I have heard some very talented wordsmiths.  I marvel at how they choose the perfect words, and weave them into intricate layers of verse and meaning.

Many of the local venues host Open Mics, but they usually are held on a weeknight and don’t start until 9:00 p.m.  Now, I know my concern is a direct reflection of my age, and my LOVE for sleep, but is it  just UNCOOL to have a Spoken Word Matinee?

After talking about our love for the Spoken Word and our desire to attend more events with my “let’s-not-just-talk-about-it ~ let’s do it!” friend V, I received an email invitation to a Poetry Slam Meet-Up event.  The best part about the invitation to the Spoken Word gathering was that it would be on a Saturday evening from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  Now, that’s what I’m talking about!

We had our first event in January 2012.  I was so excited because I wanted to challenge myself to get more serious about my writing, to share my work in front of an audience, and to find social opportunities to be with like-minded people.  The event was a BLAST!  We had about 15 people come out to the event.  We had as our foundation that we would share profanity-free works.  I shared three of my poems and it was great to hear the works of old and new friends.  I look forward to each gathering so that I can spend quality time celebrating the creative pursuits of my new circle of companions.

It is very exciting for me to be in this season of my journey, where exploring my creative passions is providing me with such a wonderful sense of fulfillment and connecting me to some wonderful new friends.

I want to share information about two of my favorite Spoken Word artists –  Rasheed Copeland and Joshua Bennett.  I had the pleasure of hearing Rasheed at a Spoken Word gathering in Maryland.  Link to Rasheed ‘s  Bus Boys & Poets, DC 11th Hour Slam performance of Epiphany for a passionate expression of true love. I fell in love with Joshua Bennett’s work at a college visit to the University of Pennsylvania.  Link to Joshua’s White House Evening of Poetry, Music and the Spoken Word performance of Tamara’s Opus a tribute to Joshua’s appreciation of his sister’s uniqueness.  If you ever get an opportunity to hear Rasheed and Joshua perform live, you will be in for an exquisite experience!