Tag Archives: Columbus Arts Fest

Columbus Arts Fest and the after effects (pt. 2)


Okay, I promised a part two to this… so here I am.

Not only was this past weekend the Columbus Arts Festival, it was also the Rustbelt Poetry Slam. Teams from all over the midwest came to Columbus to compete for a team and individual title. I didn’t get to go, as I was preparing for Arts Fest– and, let’s be honest– trying to balance my life in the process.

From what I have read on Facebook and seen on YouTube, there were some fire hot performances. To cap it off, the Writer’s Block team won the team competition.  That was amazing to hear and I was quite proud of them. And, a little envious.

Oh, envy…. green-eyed beast. Sitting over my shoulder, watching the performances on YouTube, reading post after post celebrating each others’ work, that beast almost took the wind out of my sails for the weekend. Almost made me feel that Arts Fest was second class or something. Made me feel like there was a part of me that STILL doesn’t belong in the poetry community. Made me wonder what is still wrong with my poetry that it doesn’t belong in this upper echelon of regional and national performance. Kept whispering in my ear, “why aren’t you like them?”

I really hate that part of myself.

I listen to performances, read the responses about it giving people chills, being genius, having “arrived” and I wonder if I will ever have that skill. Be able to move people that much. And those were the questions that lingered for a couple of days after the Festival.

Until today.

I remembered going to see a friend perform last Friday night. He didn’t see me in the audience until a little over half-way through his show. He finally saw me and said hi. He then asked me if I still perform “Pockets”– a poem I wrote two summers ago. He said he “hearted the Pockets poem a lot.”

And then at Arts Fest, a woman telling her friend that I was the one who “wrote a poem about doing it in the garage.”  She was a fan of that one.

And, of course, remembering that I worked DAMN HARD to make it to Arts Fest! They don’t take everyone, and it’s an absolute HONOR to be there and be a top three finisher, to boot! Just making it to Arts Fest was one of my goals when I first moved to Columbus a year ago. To make it AND place in the top 3… it leaves me jubilant and humble.

What did I learn from these memories?  My poems DO live. They take on little lives of their own and make their little mark on that woven tapestry of memory. And that’s pretty cool.  And I’ll take it, and keep on writing and performing. Hopefully, I can keep writing and performing pieces that will entertain people, periodically.

So now, dear readers,  I deal with burn out. I’m tired, peeps! Work and poetry and still getting settled in with the mister. I took a couple of months off f from shadowcasting, but I think I am going to have to cut down even more. I love shadowcasting, but I can’t do two casts… that’s two shows a month plus rehearsals. I can’t do that if I want my primary focus to be on improving my poetry.  This means that there are some hard choices coming; but it’s best to cut back than burn out on everything.  Damn responsibility.

I am taking a couple days off from writing. Might crochet this week. Might just read. Might just sleep. But next week,oh, I’ll be getting back into the swing of things, and the world better watch out. I still have stuff to say! My story isn’t over, yet.


Columbus Arts Fest and the after effects… (pt. 1)


Part one of my recap of Columbus Arts Fest and my recuperation/ thoughts on the future…

It took me a couple of days to get over the beauty that was Columbus Arts Fest down at the Riverfront. It was my first time really visiting and getting to know the area. They’ve finished a couple of new parks, walking areas, a new stage– all of which are beautiful. And I got to be a part of it all.

If you don’t know much about CAF, it has a slew of artists, musicians, and yes, poets from across the nation (though, to be specific, the poets were all Ohio). There is almost every art form imaginable on display and for sale, and it is a wonderful way to get a taste of the Columbus art scene. The mister and I bought our first piece of art together– a print from an artist named Sooro Kim. The picture on his artist info page is the print we bought. It hangs next to our front door. now.

The Ohio Magazine Word Is Art Stage was at the entrance to the Festival. We got people coming and going, and it was great. People would turn their heads, stop and listen as the poets were performing. One of the volunteers told me that during my piece “Her Hips,” the people would keep turning as I repeated the phrase throughout the performance. He asked, “what is it about hips?” I could have gone on FOR YEARS.

The performances that I saw… amazing. I didn’t catch many because my mister and I wanted to do a little walking and exploring. Bless my mister; he enjoys poetry performances,  but he needs a break, periodically. I work with him.

But back to the performances:

The second runner-up, Rose Smith enthralled the audience. She has a masterful way of telling a story, describing a scene, and, honestly, I could listen to her all day long. The winner of the Arts Fest competition, Joanna Schroeder, amazed. She has a very unique take on the world, and it is reflected in her poetry. She also has a commanding stage presence, and it showed. I was impressed, indeed.

My performance? I enjoyed myself, from my signature piece “They Called Me,” to my newer formed pieces such as my Ghazal “Tonight” and “Her Hips,” I tried to give them every spark I had. It felt good. My mister said I had a very good command of the stage during my feature, which pleased me to no extent. That was my first major feature, and I wanted to have a nice ebb and flow to it.

The nicest thing about the performance, quite a few people I truly care about were there. Ed and Scott were running the stage– and Ed introduced me, which was a very nice moment. He and his wife were two of my first friends I made when I started going to Writer’s Block. They both mean a lot to me.

And, besides my mister, MY BROTHER showed up. I had never before performed in front of blood relatives. That really meant a lot to be able to see him and his friend in the audience. And he recorded it… I STILL need to get that video.

Anyway, here is a photo of myself, Rose and Joanna. I had to make sure I got a picture of the three of us together. Such a good memory to keep.


From left to right: Rose, Joanna and myself.

After the features, there was a Slam hosted by Scott (Woods, awesome poet… former President of Poetry Slam, Inc.). Myself and three gents. It was all in good fun and featured two rounds of poetry and a haiku round. The audience scored. And there were some interesting scores. I ended up last. A big, teddy bear of a poet, Brandon, won the night. It was well earned, and a lot of fun.

Sunday, I performed three pieces with The Secrets of Oshun. My friends, Vernell, Izetta and Tiffani are members of the group, and all had great performances throughout the hour. It was a good cap to the weekend.

To be continued…

Performance updates for the rest of May and early June… and an apology.


Hot diggity, ladies and gents.  Had the BIGGEST surprise this week.  They finally posted the Columbus Arts Fest schedule and I found out that I placed SECOND in the overall competition. That means a 40 minute set on June 2nd at the Word is Art Stage. I go on right after one of my poetry idols, the great Rose Smith, who placed third and gets a 35 minute feature; and right before the winner of the Arts Fest competition, Joanna Schroeder, who will have a 50 minute feature.

Before that, though, I still have my 15 minute feature on Friday the 18th, for the Writer’s Block all -nighter; and it looks like I will be part of a haiku deathmatch on Saturday, the 19th. Gotta school me some folks. 😉

It’s amazing, this past year in Columbus. I remember talking to a friend (friend, teacher, slammaster, poet extraordinaire), and telling him that I had three main goals for my first couple years or so in Columbus: 1. Continue to get published. 2. Make Arts Fest. 3. Make a National Slam Event within two years.

What can I say? Two out of three in the first year isn’t too shabby. I still have work to do Slam-wise.

As to Slamming…

I pretty much had a mini-breakdown after the Grand Slam for the National Team in mid-April.  I came in last. Some outstanding poets (Vernell Bristow, Hanif Abdurraqib, Gina Blaurock and Rose Smith) made the team and will represent Writer’s Block very well in Charlotte this year.  But I admit, fully, that I did not handle coming in last well.

I was tired. I was grumpy. I was fed up with coming in last or near last A LOT.  And so I grumbled. I doubted myself. I wondered if poetry was my thing after all. I alienated people. I ended up weepy and whiny.

And I’m sorry for it.

I try to be the “noble” poet, doing it for the art, etc. You know, that old chestnut. But I admit, I’m human… and sometimes my humanity overwhelms my nobility.  I really wanted to make that team. I wanted to make top 4, EARN my way to the team– NOT beat other people… I don’t think of it that way. I love these people too much to think that way.  I just wanted to be a part of something big and remarkable. And it really stung to know I have to wait another year to try again.  I have spent a lot of time waiting in my life… especially during my marriage.  It just really sucked the life out of me for about a week after the slam, and I wasn’t a good human being. And I really didn’t love poetry for awhile.  I tell you,  I wish I could take it back.

But, I learned that I have to get better. I learned that Imma gonna have to work HARD–especially going up against these poets here in Columbus. I have to make my language rock hard and razor sharp. And I have to learn to enjoy it again. I have to write for me again.  And I have to please myself with my words first and foremost. I won’t please anyone else if I don’t do that.

So, I am set to write this weekend. Formed poetry, free verse, it doesn’t matter. I just want to write.  Create something new and (hopefully) eloquent. And I want to have fun. And I will.

Poetic plans for the Month of May


After the bat-crap craziness that was 30 poems in 30 days in April (which I completed for the first time this year– yay me!), it is time to focus on May.

I do have a mini-feature coming up at Writer’s Block poetry (2250 N. High St. in Columbus). It’s part of an all night event set to raise fund for the WB National Poetry Slam team. I donated for a 15 minute slot from 10:45-11:00 Pm Friday, May 18th.

It’s for a good cause and it’s a great warm up for the feature at this year’s Columbus Arts Fest in early June. I’ll be posting more details on that as I get them.

On the writing front, working on a poetic invite for a client (remind me to tell you about my side gigs, sometime.), and I have a couple of ideas in gestation. Just notes and numbers, but I think they can turn into really good pieces.