We are all a collection of the people that inspire us. As a spoken word poet we will always be part of a special group of writers and performers that have given ourselves to creating and performing from a place so sacred and vulnerable. It’s almost as if we are forced to look into the mirror of the eyes that watch us, with the deep words we chose we must learn to let the well of water wash over us, remembering our pain, or igniting our hope. It is not an easy craft to learn, yet it is so inspiring when we capture it.
The most beautiful thing about this art form is that the “it” one must capture as an artist is not framed within any kind of rubric or cadence. Though many artists have similar styles, the boundaries are being pushed further out and spoken word artists are becoming one of the many places we can find our new generations storytellers. As humans we have always been drawn to stories, and every single person has a story to tell. We are all travelers on a journey finding ways to tell our stories. This has been my chosen medium for the time being, and I am striving to learn how to craft a masterful voice with inspiration of those that have gone before me and the history of the art form in days gone by. We are a collection of the people that inspire us, and I just wanted to share with you all, the poets that have inspired me along my journey to tell my own story with passion and love.
So these are some of my favorite poets in no particular order, but just some amazing artists that have inspired me and given me hope through their words and actions.
Andrea Gibson: “We need to Create, Creation is the only thing louder than destruction”
From Boulder Colorado Andrea Gibson has been an inspiration to me with her powerful words that focus a lot on breaking the gender norms and speaking power into the LGBTQ Community. She is an activist and poet that speaks with so much force that anyone who listens to her words are taken into a whirlwind of emotion. From her anger, to her compassion, to her pain and humor, she really captures the spectrum of emotions that we feel, and most of the time are scared to express. She teaches me how to find power in vulnerability and to find strength in broken pain.
Andrea Gibson Performing “Yellow Bird”
Besskepp hails from Stockton Ca but now lives in Southern California and hosts a weekly venue in Pomona called “A Mic and Dim Lights.” This is the place that I discovered my love of spoken word poetry and feel most at home. He has hosted this venue for almost 8 years and is an amazing writer, poet, and human. He does poetry by night, but teaches special education at Nogales High School in West Covina Ca and instills his love for poetry with high school students and inspires them to tell their stories by writing. As the host of “A Mic and Dim lights” his poetry was the first that I was ever exposed to as a 18 year old kid fresh out of high-school. He is a master of words and his style and cadence is unmatched in its unique movement and symmetry. He has recorded an album of his poetry, written a book and has appeared nationally on HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam”
Besskepp performing Rotten Pomegranates on HBO’s Def Poetry
Suheir is an American-Palestinian from Brooklyn New York. I have only seen her here on Def Poetry, but all the performances I have seen have been packed with political and passionate desire for healing and love. She knows the pain of being a Palestinian and she draws from this emotion to convey her message of love and peace. This is one of my favorite spoken word pieces of all-time. She delicately mixes the passion of love and sex with the awareness of political action and struggle. Not your normal everyday poem.
We Spent the 4th of July in bed
I first saw Rudy as a feature at “A Mic and Dim Lights” and he was the first feature that I have seen the blew me away with every poem he recited. His words are so cleverly crafted and tell such rich stories that weave delicate tapestries into a well-woven narrative. I am inspired by his style and the way his actual voice resonates through the mic. His poetry focuses on so many issues and force the listener to ask tough questions to themselves and others around them. In terms of style and wordplay he is one of my favorite poets, and easily one of the artists that I try to pattern some of my rhythm to.
Rudy Franciso performing Promise from God/Flowers.
Kat has always been one of the rawest poets that I have known. Her power is in the force of her words and the belief that she throws behind them. I have seen her perform at Dim lights, poetry lounge and many other LA open Mics and everytime she performs I am simply captivated by her energy and emotion. Of course I was immediately hooked when she wrote a poem title “Purple” and as many of you know purple is my favorite color and imagination. This is her performing “purple”
Well those are just a few of my favorite poets out of the many that have always inspired me to create and to continue fighting the good fight. The common bond that runs through all these artists is their love for humanity and the belief that comes with words and change. We all become passionate about finding new ways to let our stories run into the narrative of our imaginations and break through into the world as a force of change and hope. May we continue to imagine and speak, and may the prophets of this generation rise from the ranks of this movement.
Peace and Love.
Poet John Paul the Third.