Month: January 2015

Dopeness : Untapped

Dopeness is a new segment featuring outstanding works new and old.  These are well-crafted, thought-provoking, and inspirational videos of poets being…dope.  Don’t believe me?  Check out ‘Untapped’ by Ashlee Haze below.

“It’s called “Untapped” after the movie title it’s promoting.

I pulled my inspiration for the poem from various places. I started by reading the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential (GCAPP) mission and vision statements. I, then, pulled inspiration from the hundreds of dancers following the “Untapped” movie initiative. I wanted write something that they could listen to on the way to class or a dance recital and truly be reminded that they are their own best masterpiece.” – Ashlee Haze


For more information on Ashlee Haze, check out her website:

Echo Chambers : Assessing The Artistry of Erotic Spoken Word

nomabarweb2nomabarweb2Derek Berry and I have a long standing debate.

As poets, we strive to maintain a certain level of respect for all poetry and the poets that do it.  Despite, poets are people too and we each have our likes and dislikes.  I dislike the suicidal stuff.  Derek Berry, heaven help him, dislikes erotic poetry.

The debate is about the skill involved, and whether erotic poetry should be considered ‘art’.  “I appreciate erotic poetry for its commercial value and understand the poetry as entertainment”, says Berry.  “Sometimes, erotic poetry transcends (Neruda, Natalie Diaz), but mostly I see it as entertainment“.

An Example Of An Erotic Poetry Show That Derek Berry Will Not Be At

Erotic poetry definitely has its detractors.  There are those who feel that it isn’t an art form any more than pornography is.  There are those that find it in poor taste.  Personally, I’ve noticed that many poets are able to use the prolific nature of erotic subject matter to distract from the skill on display.


Mistafunn : Ready to ‘SPLAiNiFiCATE It All


Daryl Funn (Mistafunn) was born on August 30 1972, and grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, where, entranced with Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, and Nikki Giovanni, he began to write at the age of 9.
Daryl joined the Java Monkey Slam team in 2009, with a 2nd place victory in the April slam finals. At the end of the 2009 season, Mistafunn was offered the opportunity to lead the 2010 Java Monkey Slam Team as Slam Master.  As of 2014, he continues to perform this role.
 The Dae the Sun Wouldnt Rise (2006)
Misery Loves Company (2007)
The Extra Medium Social Outcast (2008)
Take That to the Bank (2011)
CD Release
At Best the Worst Funn You Ever Had (2009)
Mistafunn Tryin 2 Be Relevant (Coming Soon)
 Southern Fried Poetry Champs – Team (2011)
 Java Monkey Grand Slam Champion (2014)
 Host @ Urban Grind (3rd Thursdays)
 Host @ Marlee’s Coffee and Tea (4th Tuesdays)


Echo Chambers : An Evolution of Spoken Forms

Saul WilliamsA (Very) Brief History of Poetic Performance

It’s never easy to say where exactly an art form comes from.  The oratory tradition, itself, dates back to our earliest days when story telling was among the best ways to gather and spread information.  Through the passage of time, the oral tradition has ranged in traction and importance but has always been prevalent. For instance, dating back to the 14th Century, the West African ‘griot’ was not just a poet/bard, but was often a royal adviser. During the Grecian Olympic games, the use of of poetry known as ‘lyric’ was used to commence the ceremonies.  Even today, different oratorical poetic movements exist throughout the world, and provide a voice for the human experience.

What is our Modern Oratorical Tradition?

Spoken-word is a very recent phenomenon starting in the 1960s. Post-modernist in origin, spoken-word appealed to the underground black and beatnik scenes born out of the Harlem Renaissance.  The Last Poets were early leaders in the art form, a form that inspired not just the catalysis of the spoken-word revolution, but early forms of hip-hop as well.


Derek Berry : Champion of The UnSpoken Word


Derek Berry is a novelist, poet, student, and activist born in Aiken, SC.

His first novel, “The Heathens and Liars of Lickskillet County“, will be published in Fall 2015 by PRA Publishing. He has published a poetry chapbook “Skinny Dipping with Strangers” and produced a spoken word album, “Perfect Nights“.
He organizes and co-hosts Charleston poetry show The Unspoken Word. He also coaches the Holy City Youth Slam Team.

You must write poetry about everything you can never tell your mother. – Derek Berry


Echo Chambers : Why?

Spoken Word and Slam Poetry is a recent artistic movement brimming with potential, and bursting with lyrical genius.  The collective voice of the movement is grand, and spread internationally, but has rarely been collected nor elaborated upon.

spoken mic

Echo Chambers is beyond a means of promotion, but is an insight into the minds of the artists who are passionate enough to write, passionate enough to speak, and passionate enough to dream in a space where much of the support for the talent is underrepresented.  The work of the performance poet is multi-pronged, consisting of an ability to write one’s own work and perform the work, often memorized. Too often the movement is relegated to sporadic Open Mics or the novel Poetry Slams that crop up even more infrequently, but with time the movement is gaining traction.  This is where Echo Chambers comes in.  As a herald of the information age, it’s a place to memorialize the spoken artist works, as well as an artist’s unique message.

Expect great media such as written pieces, cypher videos, and interviews from some of the most talented spoken word artists out there.

Poetry is the lifeblood of rebellion, revolution, and the raising of consciousness. – Alice Walker

Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history. -Plato