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The women word weavers took the initiative to create a relaxed supportive venue

where poets and spoken word artists could enjoy each other’s company, revel

 in each other’s creativity, and keep the genre of spoken word alive

 

 

In The Company of Poets

Words on Water Poetry Series 

 Concludes With Contest Winners

By Junious R. Stanton

 

In The Company of Poets a fierce female spoken word ensemble -- composed of Nish Pugh, the conscious poet; Debra Powell, the Wisdom Poet; Oni Lasana, the Story Poet; and Pat McLean, the Warrior Poet -- sponsored a Summer Poetry series called Words on Water in Fairmount Park’s Lloyd Hall on Boathouse Row, Kelly Drive and Waterworks Drive.

The women word weavers took the initiative to create a relaxed supportive venue where poets and spoken word artists could enjoy each other’s company, revel in each other’s creativity, and keep the genre of spoken word alive. The once-a-month Words on Water series provided a free and open space where an eclectic group of artists, musicians, and free spirits could come together to see and hear some of the area’s most dynamic and creative personalities.

In addition to In The Company of Poets reading and performing their own works, providing open mic opportunities for aspiring artists to share their talents, they also sponsored a poetry contest to encourage unpublished artists to present their works and get feedback from the judges. 

Last Friday (September 5), the series closed out before an appreciative audience many of whom participated in the open mic reading their poetry, singing, and performing. The winners of the Summer Poetry Contest -- Marilyn Edmond, Lisa Haines, Millicent Seels and Charles Younger -- performed their submissions before a supportive audience. One contestant Andrea Edmonds was unable to attend to receive her prize and read her submission. The series was a way for the ensemble to give back to the community.

“Philadelphia has been very supportive of us the last two years," Pat McLean, the Warrior Poet, explained. "We went to a lot of places and we asked Lloyd Hall and they said we could do it for no charge. This started last summer, this is the second year and we are hoping we can do it every summer.” 

The genesis of the poetry contest was to provide a venue where new poets could gain exposure and overcome their fears of performing before a live audience. 

“The idea of the contest was to give new poets a chance because when we were starting out it was hard for a new poet because you have to get past that fear of putting your poetry out there and letting someone else read it because it’s a personal thing," Pat continued. "Since we have a lot of people who felt comfortable around us, we figured with our name attached to it a lot of people would submit.”

The sisters of In The Company of Poets create an atmosphere where people feel comfortable about sharing their work and being themselves. “We generate love, we be like that so the people get it from us, the energy we put out,” added Debra Powell.

For Charles Younger, being a contest winner was icing on the cake. His experience with the poetry scene has been as a producer and supporter for the last ten years. So for him to be given the opportunity to submit original work and to be one of the finalists was exhilarating: 

"The contest was something that I thought I would do because I run my mouth a lot and I’m very supportive of the artists. But it was an opportunity to try something new. This was my first contest, I’ve never submitted anything, not from nervousness, but in an effort to support them [In The Company of Poets]. I just took advantage of it and I appreciated that I was a finalist.”

Left to right: Debra Powell Pat McLean, Charles Younger, Millicent Seels, Marilyn Edmond and Lisa Haines

For Marilyn Edmond, being in the contest was a challenge to see if she would follow through and take advantage of the opportunity to submit her work for public scrutiny:

“It was a challenge to see if I had the heart to do it and follow all the guidelines. And I did that and I sent it in so it really means a lot. I’ve been writing for a while so getting feedback on my writing was good. So the fact that I made it through and they asked me to submit it, that said it all to me. I really feel proud about it.” 

The gathering was friendly and more importantly everyone was supportive of the performers giving them immediate and positive feedback in the call and response tradition.

The Summer series has ended but In The Company of Poets are off to new ventures and venues sharing their talents and energies. The winners have been given the encouragement to continue writing, performing and adding to the wealth of the poetry and spoken word traditions. 

Photos: Junious R. Stanton

posted 11 September 2003

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Super Rich: A Guide to Having it All

By Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock  market. True wealth has more to do with what's in your heart than what's in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America's shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, "Happy can make you money, but money can't make you happy."

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 16 December 2011

 

 

 

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