Skip navigation

J. Ivy to Oveous

1.) Have you always wanted to perform/write?

Yes… hell yes.. back in high school me and my brother Carlito “Ziiinc Blue” made a demo tape with 3 songs on it. shit was kinda wack. but you can definitely hear the potential in both of us and the passion for the art was clear.

2.) What was your 1st performance like?

It was a disaster inside my chest and lungs. LOL. foreal tho, it really was. I was at the nuyorican poets cafe circa spring of 2003 and I remember shaking alot and apologizing to the audience for letting me put them thru such misery for 3 min. Later that night, a young man by the name of “David Lamb” came up to me and said… “shut the FUCK up… YOU are a Poet and a pretty fucking good one… oh, hi btw, my name is Lamb”. We’ve been really good friends ever since… lol

3.) What was your favorite/least favorite performance?

Honestly, can’t think of one in particular. but… I do hate it when a venue sucks. sound, lightning, noisy bars… for poetry. but when I perform my music… I really could care less.. I just work with what I have.. Just make it work! Is how I feel. every chance to spit, is a gift. na mean?

4.) At what point did you consider yourself a “Poet”?

When I found myself addicted to it. Goin to Nuyorican, Bar 13, and Bowery Poetry club 4 times a week was a clear indication of that. Standing in the freezing cold for 3 hours, just to get on the open mic list… c’mon… you have to be in love with the artform to go thru that. It was blinding. It was a beautiful time. I’ll never forget it.

5.) Who is your biggest inspiration?

My brother Carlos-Paul Salcedo aka “Ziiinc Blue” aka “The El-Tigrero” aka “Destro”

6.) Who is your favorite artist and why?

Don’t have a favorite artist, but…. Bob Marley would have to be one of my top five of all time. He put so much heart into every song. Dude is a legend, no question there. I also believe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an artist because of his masterful use words and speech. His speeches were like poems to me. He has and continues to inspire generations promoting humanity and peace across all lines of culture on a global scale. That shit is gangsta.

7.) If you have one, what’s your favorite piece and why?

Damn! son! whats with the PICK ONE OR DIE SHIT… LOL… Ok, ok.. I’ll try… If I had to pick one piece… I would pick “Imagine”. because its the kind of piece that shows people I’m a real muthaflucka.. And no matter where I rock it… someone always comes up to me after a show and tells me how much they were moved by that piece. so definitely that one.

8.) It’s obvious in your performances that you’re very driven…what
is your definition of passion?

My definition of passion is simple. Its an undying commitment to something you truly genuinely love.

9.) Your wordplay and the way you connect your ideas is amazing…does the gift of storytelling run in your family?

wow… THANK YOU bro. always means alot coming from someone so talented as yourself. You know tho, I’m not really sure if storytelling runs in my family per say. But, maybe it does thru the singers in my family. For instance, I have this uncle named “Dario” who used to be part of a jazz-folk trio back in the 60’s. He even released vinyl. Dude was ill with romantic songs. I also have to give credit to my parents because 90% of my personality comes from them. My dad for sure has given me some of his traits. His mannerisms and way of speaking and engaging people is something that can’t be ignored. So… thanks DAD! lol

10.) How did you come up with your stage name/what’s the meaning?

Well, my stage name isn’t really a stage name. Oveous is a tweak on my birth name Ovil and/or Ove. Basically a really close friend of mine started calling me Oveous because he said that I was like the Morpheus (Matrix) of rap. Lol.. stupid huh… but not really. In Roman Mythology, Morpheus is the god of dreams. My brother Ziiinc has a classic quote in the film SP!T stating “I have big dreams, just don’t let me wake up”…. and so when I adopted the “tweak” on my name I took all that into consideration. I added the Maximus to affirm that I plan on giving 100%(Maximum) to my craft everyday till my last day.

11.) What projects are you currently working on?

Oh mannnn… got a ton of shit goin on. And very grateful for all of it too. So I’m currently on a record label called Yoruba Records. I have an EP on there called “I Apologize” which has done really well with the electronic/dance charts. And a monster of a single called “Mirror Dance” which I collaborated with Osunlade (ceo of Yoruba) on that record. I also have 2 albums I released on the indie tip. The first was “Future Intentions” which we shot 2 music videos for so far and earned Top Albums of 2009 status from Nu-Soul Magazine. And the second is “The Iambic Moment” which I’m also goin to shoot some vids for. Currently, I’m promoting all these music projects. I also want to do a follow up to my Live Poetry album “Oveous Live 3.0” coming soon. But I also co-own my own clothing/Tee shirt line “Mileage High Club”. We have a great website with a growing fan club and we recently adopted some silent investors to take us to the next level. So, Life is good.

12.) Where do you see Poetry in the next 10 years?

I see it more on TV and Radio if it continues to grow along side technology. We need more poems on ipods! Straight up…

13.) The “Dream” is a journey, which we all know is unpredictable, but what do you see happening next for yourself?

I hope to give acting a try. Everyone keeps telling me that I have the “it” factor. And this is coming from other actors. I’m really intimidated by the whole acting thing because its such a difficult thing to pull off. One mistake, and the critics will send you to the grave. But if I take some lessons and find a good coach… I might be aight. I LOVE films so much, how could I not be in at least ONE before I DIE! Lol

14.) We’re all here for a moment in time…how do you want to be remembered?

I want people to say “yo… that dude Oveous and his body of work is ill… He spoke for the people. For human rights. For what it means to be living to your full potential…”

15.) When are we collabing?

LOL…Holla!! YO! as soon as I send this to Shihan, I’m gonna get your math from him. 2010 will see a J Ivy and Oveous collabo… no doubt about that. It will be an honor…

PS. One L’Ove to all the readers out there and supporters of my vision and voice. L’Ove yall!

Oveous to J. Ivy

1- Chicago is a wonderful place with so much soul. How would you define Chicago “styles” and its brand of Soul, being that you are one of its trendsetters?

Chicago is definitely a unique place and I’m very proud to be a Chicagoan. I’m proud to be apart of it’s rich culture. When it comes to styles there are many because the Chi is very versatile. You have your Hip-Hop heads, the hipsters, the gangsters, the business man/woman, the politicians, the conscious cats and those on the block that feel like their only way out is to hustle. All of these lifestyles thrive off a very deep love for music. Music that is highly influenced by our Mississippi roots to our now hypersegregated city to being in the center of it all and having a good view of the rest of the world. Opportunity is limited but everyone is determined to be the best which makes the culture/styles truly one of a kind.

2- How did you and Kanye West meet and what was your impression of him back then
and what’s your opinion of him now?

I originally met Kanye thru my guy Mikkey Halsted. Mikkey, who was the first mc tht Kanye signed, and I went to high school together. We reconnected in New York around the time he was recording “The College Dropout.” As far as what I think of him, he was a genius then, he is a genius now. He’s one of the Greatest to ever do it.

3- How was it working with Kanye and Jay-Z on the College Dropout? Were all ya’ll in
the studio together? If so, what was that like?

It was amazing working with Kanye & Jay-Z. I recorded my part in the studio with Kanye out in L.A. When I finished we listened to the joint over and over again. Everyone loved it and it was exciting to hear my voice next to two heavyweights in the game. Jay’s part was already recorded but we met a little later. Overall it was an unforgettable experience.

4- When was the first time you heard or experienced poetry like spoken word
and what was your reaction to it

Well before the term “spoken-word” came about I was always moved by poetry that was performed by my classmates and I in gradeschool. My school was big on having us partcipate in recitals and plays. My uncle Granville who is a pastor was also a huge influence having us perform alot in church. That led to me performing in high school which led to performing in college with fellow poets. Even then it wasn’t spoken-word, it was just cats spitting poetry. It was always life changing.

5- How come you treated me like a stepchild first time I met you in Miami outside
of club Amnesia? Is this how you treat all your fans?(LOL… you probably don’t remember)

Amnesia, Amnesia, Amnesia. I love meeting people who have an appreciation for what I do. Sometimes I find that people misjudge my laid back demeanor. It’s all love!!

6- Ok, but seriously now, whats your favorite topic to write about and why?

I am one of those people who is really just excited to be here. So I write about life. I want to encourage people, inspire people, motivate people. Words are extremely powerful & I want my words to help heal people.

7- How does it feel to know you won a Grammy? Where in your house do you keep it?
It feels great to have a Grammy, but it makes me want more. I feel like like I’m just getting started. But the Grammy that I keep In my office is a great reminder of where I can go.

8- Chicago has a history of black on black violence especially recently in the news with young men losing their lives. How did you avoid this growing up and what can a youngster do now to avoid getting a bullet for Xmas?

The violence and the killings that have been happening in Chicago is truly nothing to joke about. It’s not a laughing matter. We’ve lost family and friends. We’ve buried those that are truly loved and adored! I’m still here by the grace of God, the guidance of my mother and deciding not to run with certain crowds. We have to get back to protecting one another and more importantly, we have to put an end to self hatred. That’s what’s killing us!

9- Your resume is crazy dope. Do you enjoy writing poems for sports more then
you do for music?

I just love writing! Whether it’s telling my own story, writing something about what’s happening in the news, sports or making music, Im happy with being able to express what’s on my mind.

10- What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in life thus far?

Nothing’s Promised, but Faith always Prevails.

11- Where were you when Obama was inaugurated and what did you do that night?

When Mr. President was inaugurated, I was in DC to witness history. That night I was traveling reflecting on my trip and ready to get to work.

12- I see you got a new album coming out. Who’s on it besides you? Got any
cool stories about the process of making this album?

Yes Sir!! The album is called “Here I Am.” So far, The Last Poets, Jessica Care-Moore, Malik Yusef, Redstorm, M’Reld, Tarrey Torae, Jessie Boykins III, Twone Gabz, Yaw & Khari L, Mikkey Halsted, Aaron Marsh of Copeland, and Fred Hampton, Jr. The entire process has been an experience. That’s a whole ‘nother story in itself.

13- How close are you to your family? What do they think of all your success?

Me and my Family are closer than black on beans. They are proud and cheering me on.

14- What countries have you visited throughout your travels? Where do you want
to go next?

I’ve been to England, France, Jamaica, Mexico, The Netherlands, Canada, and the Bahama’s. I’ll also be traveling to Aruba this year, but Africa is at the top of my priority list.

15- Yea man! I would love to collab. What do you have in mind? Music or Poetry? or both? Lets do it! It would be an honor.

Poetry is the forgotten part of music. Let’s find the right track and make it happen.


eh hem… Hi, its Maceo, here is my perspective of Tuesday.

In support of DPL’s partnership with DPL staff interns let the crowd know about Dip Dive. There were laptop booths set up for attendees to register for Dip Dive and get started with the movement.

If you missed the lounge, the first thing to note is that the power was out at the Greenway Court Theatre. Instead of being consumed by the night we resolved, and crashed the neighbors venue. Across the street, the National Council of Jewish Women’s building was opened for the audience.

Inside, it felt like a High School assemble during 2nd period before lunch. Fold out chairs, hardwood floor and distorted PA sound system.

There were some great poets, a song about the lounges birthday.  My two favorites where two DPL alumni, Javon aka. Dr Johnson, and Thea Monyee.

Javon let loose on the topic of the Tiger Woods scandal. I didnt know whether to laugh or listen intently, so I did both. Javon is master of dichotomy, he draws you in with his humor before the poem, get your attention, then he let’s you know what is on his mind.

Thea, is wonderful on and off the stage but it was special for Javon to introduce her as the feature with their friendship having lasted so long. Javon detailed Thea and Gaknew’s (her husband) first date.

When I listen to Thea speak I am unsure you can even describe it as performing. It is so much more genuine than other performances I have seen it is as if she is giving heartfelt advice to the entire audience at once. All of her work is of a caliber and integrity that I admire and what she did on that stage makes it perfectly clear why features are important to have at an open mic like Da Poetry Lounge.

The feature shows the younger artists in the room what the power of spoken word can be. It gives them a goal to strive for and a target for their ambition. At times we can all feel like no one is listening but when you see someone silence an audience and hold their attention you are reminded that you can accomplish so much with the power of spoken word.

It is a good mix to see a professional poet amidst all the open mic acts. As good as the upcoming talent is that attends Da Lounge I can’t stand some of the poets that read. Its just like American Idol. I will spare these young poets my critique because everyone is entitled to their time on stage but only if you are writing from a genuine place. It is to easy to tell who is there for the right reasons and who is there just to be seen. I know I am not immune to style criticism by any means but let’s be real. To the man who felt it was neccessary to wear an all pink ensemble with matching pink Chuck Taylor’s. ” You know those are women shoe’s dude, and tuck in your shirt.”

If they ever let me post again I won’t be so lenient… eh hem.

23 days until DipPoetry launches. Register NOW!!


Poetri to Rachel

1) What does your Poetry smell like?

Sweaty tightrope walkers.

2) What is your favorite color and have you ever written a poem about it?

My favorite color to see is dark pink. My favorite color to wear is floral and animal print. However, I have never written a poem specifically about any of these things.

3) If someone gave you a million dollars to never write poetry again, would you do it and why? Or Why not?

Being a parent, I would say yes. A round of college for everybody! Woohoo! But I’d probably have it taken back because I think every poet finds a way to write it, even if it’s while making a grocery list. I am in constant poetry. I could easily never write a book of poems again, but poetry would sneak into the short stories I write, or the memoir I’ve been daydreaming about.

4) What is your favorite poem that YOU have ever written and why is it so special?

That’s like asking which child of mine is my favorite. It’s impossible to narrow down, because each poem is meant for something very specific (and different) than the others. This morning, at 9:30 on a Friday, my favorite poem of mine is “This Wild Thing.” A poem about being a parent, and how hard it is to let our children go, to live their lives. I am in constant worry over this. Yesterday, a student brought a gun to my youngest son’s school. So now I am rethinking next year. Will I home school (again?) Do I let him stay? Are there dragons in the clouds, ready to swoop down and take us all?

5) Why did you start writing poetry?

Because I needed to find better words for my sorrow. My friend had died, and it changed my life. His death is why I left my abusive boyfriend of five years. And why I started writing poetry (which were more like letters to him at the time.)

6) If you were gonna write a poem right now, right this very second, what would it be about?

Arizona. Ugh.

7) Who loves you the most?

I have no idea. But I know who loves me the best.

8 ) If you weren’t a poet, what would you be doing?

I have a dream of going to school to be a plumber. I’d start an all-female company.of plumbers, and we’d wear pearl necklaces and pink mechanic’s jumpsuits (so no possibility of butt crack.) For people (and especially women) who are uncomfortable with having a strange man in their home or apartment. I have a phobia of it myself, which is why my shower in Brooklyn dripped for three years. It’s also why I only go to female gynecologists. Only women can touch my plumbing.

9) What do you like about the poetry scene today? What do you dislike?

I like the sense of family, I dislike the nepotism.

10) How many times have you used Third Eye in one of your poems?


11) Do you believe in GOD?


12) If you could choose any poem in the world…which one best describes you?

The Sheep Child, by James L. Dickey

13) Does your daughter write poetry?

Which daughter? (I have three.) My oldest, Piper Jane, does. She’s been writing poetry since she was five. They are up on the “art wall” in our house.

14) Do you think you are a great writer, okay writer or a poor writer?

Okay. There is so much more I have to learn.

15) What do you think your purpose in life is?

To be the kind of parent I never had.

click here for Rachel’s website, where you can find her bio, calendar and merchandise


Rachel to Poetri

1. If your poetry was a sexual position, which one would it be?

I don’t know enough sexual positions to even answer this question, plus, my poems are not married, so they try hard NOT to have sex.

2. What was the first poem you ever wrote about?

A Tree.

3. What would you want on your tombstone, in haiku form?

A very confused
man, who did what he could do.
maybe I pleased you.

4. Whose poems would win in a fight between Lemon Andersen’s & Jerry Quickley’s?

Good Question. But, I would have to say Jerry, cause Jerry used to scare me when he read back in the day.

5. What poem have you NOT written yet?

The one about me being a superstar and how I am handling it. I figure once I become that star…yea, that will be the first one I write.

6. What is the worst book you ever read?

I can’t remember the title of it. But, if was a book I read in 7th grade. It was horrible. It was so bad, that I couldn’t stop reading it so I could complain about it.

7. How long does it take you to write a poem?

Depends on the poem, but usually about two days. The first day to write down all the notes and the second day to put it all together.

8. What’s the difference between poetry and prayer?

The poems that I hear sometimes are not going to GOD, they are written and being spoken cause the poet likes the way he sounds. A prayer is directed toward GOD and you want GOD to like what HE hears.

9. What is your favorite poem by someone else?

I go through periods of having different favorite poems at different times. But, I guess a staple favorite of mine is Taylor Mali’s “Teacher” poem.

10. Is there anything you would never write about?

Not, if I have a connection to it. Like I can’t write about Maxi Pads, cause I have no experience with that.

11. If you could give the last ten years of your poetry a grade, what would it be?

Whew. The last ten years? The first part of that last ten years would be an A. But the last part of it would be an F. So, I guess I am gonna have to say a C.

12. Write a poem/jingle for Supersized Maxi Pads. GO!

Woa, scary…I just answered this question.

13. If I asked you to write me a one-woman show, what would you title it?


14. Have you ever farted during a performance?

Several times. Matter of fact, the better question is…have I ever NOT farted during a performance.

15. What’s the most expensive thing you purchased in the last two weeks?

Frozen Fruit…geesh, I can’t believe frozen fruit costs that much.

click here for Poetri’s website, where you can find his bio and calendar.

Last Tuesday while outside a guy asked me how did I become the host of this amazing place?  It’s funny because after so many years the beginning seems so far away.

I started coming to DPL in 2002, There was a poetry show at Cal State LA where I was going to college.  I was an 18-year-old girl in the audience of this big ass auditorium looking at these poets doing what had never occurred to me to do before.  Something shifted in me that night. I remember meeting Shihan and Sekou. I bought both of their CD’s, which may be so worn out from spins now.  I was like every other girl in the audience, in love with Shihan.  I noticed his ring, which quickly deflated any hopes of him being my first poet crush. But months later, a boy at my college asked me on a date to Da Poetry Lounge. From the moment the first poet read I fell in love with DPL.  I came regularly for a year, notebook in hand but too scared to read.  Finally I did and I didn’t die like I thought I would.  It might have been the longest poem in the history of DPL but I lived.  I set a goal that I would be on a slam team in a year.  A few months later with the help of a good friend, Babu, I made the LA slam team and went to nationals.  Those yearly trips were some of the best memories and solidified my love for this community.

I knew poetry was something I wanted to do as a career so I figured getting to know the community was important.  At that time, there was a poetry venue to go to nightly and I did.  I fell madly in love with the poetry scene and a few poet boys along the way.  I wrote everyday and would be up until sunrise editing poems for Tuesday night.  There were so many amazing poets to look up to, but for the most part, they were all trying to get their own career in a good position and mentoring me was not happening. So I figured it out, one poem at a time, one open mic at a time.  I started doing shows and got more polished. Did a national tour and hit a bunch of stages.

I think artistically in the last the years I have really come into my own. I’ve found my own identity and am making my own rules. When I started, I thought slam and def poetry were the pinnacle of success. Now I define for myself the way I want to leave my mark on this community. For many years, I was one of the only girls consistently at DPL.  I felt isolated. Although I love Shihan, Gimel, Poetri, Omari, In-Q and the rest of the boys, they all have a very masculine style and perspective (obviously). I was doing love poems and just very feminine work, which is in part why we started doing Ladies Night, to give the women the space and stage to speak freely.  Since I took over hosting after Poetri stepped down, more women have been reading naturally. I value so much that there is new a crew of super talented women killin’ it weekly. More and more I am getting a better feel for what I want to represent at DPL as a host.

I teach a workshop, Connecting With the Artist in You: Vulnerability and Integrity.  The workshop came out of the lack of vulnerability on stage most nights.  Many people come to open mic’s seemingly unaware that some of us love this art and this place like family.  Its super important to protect it and refuse to let people with no regard for who and what they affect continue to frankly read bullshit work and think it’s fly.  My face says it all.  Not that I am the source on “good” poetry but I have been around a while and can almost see a good poem in a person’s walk, in how they exhale, in their spirit.

My Top 5 poets to watch: All of the poets below are amazing writers/ people generally.  Consistently they put up thoughtful work that moves the audience. I love something different about all of their work but they all have a high level of integrity to the art.  Word!

1.       Yesika Starr

2.       Venessa Marco

3.       Danielle Bennett

4.       Maceo

5.       Jason Mars/ Joel

Much love to you all.  See you Tuesday!


2nd half host

– Gimel –

As a deejay i get to see DA Poetry lounge from a very different angle. Even the audience and poets sitting on the stage get to change seats from week to week so as the sound selector I have to rely on listening comprehension to enjoy the show finding fitting theme music from poem to poem. Now I’ve been asked to blog my experience from the night of May 18th. Since I did get a heads up before the night began, I got a chance to do a little preparation with names. Like I said earlier I see the show from a different perspective so I usually forget names and don’t always see faces. Now that’s my disclaimer. Tuesday May 18th was a slam night at Da Poetry Lounge which always comes with a slight element of surprise because the poets chosen are done so by the luck of the draw. I must say, this month was a bit more tamed than some in the past and believe me, after 10 years of witnessing slam I have seen some suspect poetic expressions. This weeks finalist came down to 4 DPL regulars featuring Youssef Grant’s emotionally driven metaphors, where even off paper strikes any listener with a sense of morality and compassion. There was also Jason Mars, a young imaginative yet somewhat political minded poet attacking religious enthusiasts. Then came Jill Crissy, the lone female finalist who’s comedic approach is guaranteed grasp your attention with her very confident and sassy style. Finally, there was Leon P who drives his messages with a blend of humor, sarcasm and social irony. The final round began and all four poets came with what appeared to be some of their favorite pieces. I gotta say that the standouts were Jill Crissy and Youssef. Jill was hilarious while kneeling down before a gentleman spectator then seemingly losing her balance but not missing a beat in the process. She wanted the people to know how she felt about scandalous men and women. Youssef’s final piece dealt with an illness that affected a younger family member where he said that even he deserved to be ill before his not yet teenaged cousin. The judging was close and if I’m not mistaken would have been closer if not for Jill Crissy’s time penalty. This brought Youssef to the top of the podium collecting $75 and bragging rights for this months poetry slam. Congratulations! Now the second half becomes a tad more tamed never the less some surprises still manage to hit the stage. This night was no different with a “pussy poem” being “that poem” on this night. This poem came with an acronym for the word orgasm which for the life of me I cannot remember. Sorry! The funniest part about the poem was when he reached a peek and looked right at Natalie , our host and dedicated his next few lines to her. Oh my goodness that was GREAT! My actual favorite from the half was performed by a brother named Nnamdi and his poem was a retrospective of his African born father living up to the responsibility of raising his family and putting his children through school while driving a cab in the states. Very inspirational! Finally the line which resonated within me the most came from a “Ms Know It All” themed piece where the poet told the girl that she has 20/20 vision but no insight. He was strikingly upset with her and it showed.

Well, that’s my blog. i hope this gives you an idea of how much fun we have at Da Lounge and hopefully we will see you sharing the space soon.

Peace & Blessings, Brutha Gimel

don’t forget to

follow us on twitter ,
search us on facebook,
add us on myspace
and watch our videos on YouTube.

Natalie here.  Sorry for the delay.  While I managed to steal the first half list from Shihan so I could properly recap, I have had such a full schedule that I didn’t get a moment to post.  The first half went something like this:

Steve P did his pre-birthday poem.

Donny… typically impressive with much stage presence.

Soulo did a fancy backwards poem that was quite interesting.  I did wonder what would happen if he messed up… I secretly wanted him to say the sentence in the right order just to confuse everyone.

Twin yelled out most of the first half and then shared a love poem that filled the audience with laughter.  I’m not sure if it was that Twin, a typically confrontational writer, decided to take the love turn or if it was that he let the audience imagine his lines too long.  “Her skin is like fur” was the opening line.

Daniel (our college boy) back for the summer shared work with more cursing than we have ever heard from him.  See what college does… cursing!

Our feature Ove, did his thing.  Most of the audience had never seen him before so he did a bit of new and old work.  We love having features; it really brings a different element to the room.  It’s so important to us to expose our audience to the many brilliant poets from around the country.  We often get jaded thinking poetry only looks like what we do but this art is limitless.

The 2nd half was short on time so I tried to pack as much in the one hour as possible.  François opened the 2nd half since last week he somehow got skipped. Angie with a post break-up poem.  Kurtis did a poem to a cute girl in the audience.  She smiled the duration of the poem.  Matty while he proclaimed his love of poetry above all things, he didn’t care enough for the poets in the first half not to text during most of their poems. Matty consider yourself WARNED!!!!

My favorite part of the night had to be the end when several of my new favorites went back to back: Joel, Ashley, April, Tammy, Maceo and Venessa.  It was a brilliant way to end a lovely night.

See you soon!


Taalam Acey to Buddy Wakefield

1.What is the future of Spoken Word?
Practicing what is being preached… and learning to play an instrument.

2. Who were your early poetry influences and which contemporary > poets do you most enjoy?
“Early”: Annie LaGanga, Tim Sanders, Gayle Danley and Pink Floyd
“Contemporary”: Andrea Gibson, Derrick Brown, Anis Mojgani and Mike Doughty

3. What hurts the art form of performance poetry most?
Tragedy addicts.

4. Should performance poetry be a viable profession or is it best kept a hobby?
I got in the car at such an awkward angle today that I sat on my balls.

5. What are your feelings on the prose and rhyme poetic styles?
Taalam, were you sitting with a college journalism major when you wrote this question? I swear if you weren’t so tall I’d punch you in the knee right now.

6. How do you feel about traveling and is it a necessary evil for full time performance poets?
After a decade (the first 2 years and four months of it spent living from my car), I’ve become a huge fan of stability, routine, consistency and health. Traveling is, however, a necessary evil for full-time performance poets. Thank goodness for work ethic and smart choices regarding side projects, merchandise, consolidating time spent touring, and the emergence of technology and more health food stores on the road.

7. What/where was the largest gig you’ve done?
In my heart: Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA the first time I opened for Ani DiFranco.
Technically: I think there were 3,000+ at the National Finals in 2005, Albuquerque.

8. Describe the first place you performed Spoken Word?
The Globe Cafe (now closed) in Seattle, WA. I performed “Strength So Strong.”
Oh, wait, does poetry night at a summer camp count? That came first.

9. What’s your favorite place to perform?
Home. Seattle.

10. How does the internet play into your career?


11. What are your feelings about performance poetry with musical accompaniment?

I’ve grown to prefer it so long as it doesn’t show up like some self-indulgent beat poetry jazz chatter. I wanna cause a revival, not a finger snap.

12. What would you say is the difference between presence and performance?
One shakes hands with a spine. The other is acting, like fake crying.
Presence is always welcome in my book. Performance is fantastic[al] in moderation.

13. How have poetry slams factored into your career?
While I’m no longer drawn to Slams, or interested in deep discussions about them, I am incredibly thankful for the platform Slam has provided with regards to my healing, growing, career and my voice.

14. How did the Seattle poetry scene influence your work?

By being a supportive and thriving community of talented individuals encouraging each other to live a little better than what they did yesterday.

15. What aspects of your style would you describe as uniquely Texan?

I say y’all *a lot* in my work. It’s a break-down-the-fourth-wall tool. It’s not very unique to say “y’all” though. I’m a fashionably unoriginal former bull-rider, and I can rope you from the stage (try me). Is that uniquely Texan? Oh, and I can buttfuck a cactus.

Buddy Wakefield to Taalam Acey

1) There’s a difference between knowing and practicing. What should you be practicing more?
I continue to practice positively affirming life with the core belief that things work out for the best when you do your best. So every day is another opportunity to be the best me I can.  I’m more comfortable with the results of my efforts now that my perspective is more accepting of unintended results and based more on being appreciative of the lessons in and of themselves.

2)  What was your high point today?
It’s 8:45am and I woke up in Phoenix a few hours ago. My high point so far was going out to the balcony to smoke a Black & Mild, look out into the skyline and reflecting on the uncertainty and promise of the days to come.

3)  Favorite go-to joke when put on the spot?
It’s kind of long to tell and doesn’t really translate in print, however, it involves 2 pious parrots succumbing to a parrot vixen. I’m not one to tell canned jokes, but when I need a go-to joke, that’s the one that’s been the most consistently effective.

4)  Do you feel like artists rise from falls they take in vain just for a reason to stand?
I suppose there are people who rise from falls they take intentionally and perhaps those falls are often in vain. It’s hard for me to conceptualize the idea that an opportunity to stand could be in vain, even if the fall itself were self-inflicted. However, if all they end up with is a reason to stand, yet don’t quite stand up then it would certainly be in vain. But the perpetrator would not necessarily fit my definition of an artist. I think of art as a more natural process resulting from the individual manifesting what naturally follows from being him/herself.

5)  And when do you catch yourself doing that (recycling redemption), if ever?
That’s not my process with regard to writing. I may live that cycle to some extent as the methods with which I market my work are often dichotomous. Still the writing itself is always honest in that I only create work when the time feels right and the ideas born in my head have bounced around to what feels like critical mass.

6)  Have you found an inlet to sustainable joy?
Just the understanding of that common wisdom: “Happiness has more to do with wanting what you have, than having what you think you want.”

7)  Name one song you actually like that if people caught you listenin’ to, and feelin’, like seriously rockin’ out on, you’d probably try to explain yourself.
Perhaps The Rolling Stone’s, “Sympathy for the Devil;” One of my absolute favorites but I’m sure people would have questions if the saw me zone out to it.  Ha!

8)  Do you feel like you could take me in arm wrastlin’… chump?
I wouldn’t bet money on it but, then, who knows?

9)   Aside from poetry, is there anything people would be genuinely surprised to know you do well?
I adapt to very odd and uncomfortable situations. The kind that incessant traveling will often thrust upon you.

10)  On a scale of 1 to 80 (80 being elite athlete, and 1 being the dude who got killed for gluttony in the movie “Seven”) how healthy is your lifestyle? Consider body first, then mind, then spirit.
Body: I’m in decent shape but I have a few vices and I’m nearly 40 years old, so I’ll go with 60. Mind: I read regularly and am more motivated by opportunities to learn than opportunities for leisure, so I’d go with 70. Spirit: I believe that things are as they should be and, like the rest of us, I’m here to allow my inner self to manifest and, in some way, move humanity with it’s gifts and convictions while learning and recalibrating. I’d say I’m at 70 there as well.

11)  If you were on death row, and it was time for your last meal, what would they be serving you?
Lobster stuffed with crab imperial.

12) Who/what makes you belly laugh most often?
I keep the sitcom, ‘Two and a Half Men” stocked up on my DVR and whenever I need a laugh, an episode or 2 does the trick.

13) What new skill are you ready to learn, and do you have what it takes to follow through?
I’m interested in documenting my experiments with writing, performing and traveling more thoroughly. I’ll have to become more adept at filming, planning ahead and editing the footage. I don’t doubt I’ll be able to follow through.

14) You ever dance when you pray?
No, but walking while I commune with the Almighty is pretty common for me.

15) Why were you on death row?
Was never on death row, but if I were, it would be for refusing to veer from my core beliefs or conform to that which is against how my spirit receives that my particular energy was meant to affect humanity.

So here goes, this is my 1st blog for the new DPL wordpress.  When I first decided to do this, I almost immediately began to second guess my decision.  Main reason being I’ve become spoiled over the past 12 years running Da’ Lounge.  I’ve come across so many poets here and I’m a judgmental person so I’d like to take this time to apologize for whatever is written that may upset some folks.

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 – First poets always have the hardest job to me.  They pretty much have the responsibility of setting the tone for the night.  And sometimes starting off with the ‘wrong’ poet and/or poem can throw the night off.  So we started to have 2 or 3 poets go up at a time.  This week was no different except it seemed like every poet who got up on stage did a good job.  It’s really too hard to review a complete night of emotion because if it’s a good night there are so many emotions you go through.  Put it this way…I misplaced the sign up sheet from Tuesday but, I could probably list off almost every poet who got up and shared.

Here goes…Nick, Anonymus, Clo, Jilchirssie, Opposed Thumb, Youssef(symmetrical spelling),  IN-Q, Leon P, Daniel, Twin, Judy Holiday, then there was the girl who read about the guy she liked who wore girl shoes and her second poem was about how great she is, 1 other whose name has also slipped and our feature the Nafeesa look alike – Kelly Love Jones form New Orleans.  I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed so many of the poets who got up.  Maybe because I tend to relive the “Golden Era” of DPL which had poets like Sekou Tha Misfit, Jaha Zainabu, Rachel McKibbens(formerly known as RAC), Bridget Gray, Steve Connell, Snowplough, Gina Loring, Javon Johnson, Omari Hardwick, Dante Basco, Poetri, Ty Scott(formerly known as Tiffany Scott), Rat Pack Slim(formerly known as Slim), Unsane, Nafeesa Monroe, GaKnew, Thea Monyee, Katrina Recto and Rives reading on a weekly basis.  That’s a list to die for.  But, after a while you realize people grow up and priorities start to change.

There were a few lines that stuck out as well especially Youssef’s one about saying grace as we take the first bite.  Fisseha also had one about some shaking nails…pretty dope but, since there are no quotes here you’ll have to imagine how dope they were.  Wait a second, Fisseha is the other name I forgot so all I need now is the girl who kept giggling.  It was something like Sepia or Centaur or something like that…Basically the first half was pretty fresh.  The second half was also dope but, I only saw 7 of the poets read.   I’ve been trying to be better with watching the second half because I think Natalie is really finding her footing as a host and has also identified her audience.  Now, if she could call me back that would be even better.

Our feature for the night was the talented songstress/MC/Mother/Nafeesa Monroe look alike, Kelly Love Jones, who did a great job.  She brought the house to its feet mind you by asking but, it was still dope.  The 1st half was a gumbo of good times, mixed with some talk about guys putting baby powder on their nuts when they don’t have time for a shower and ended with a list of announcements like we always do. This is probably not the kind of review of the night I was supposed to do but, the truth is I’m a random person.  Things that happen at DPL are random and that’s just how it is.

I also feel we’re finally starting to get our stuff together as a unit…meaning DPL is growing up and taking responsibility for itself.  We’re currently putting together this blog, a new website, our YouTube channel, a Festival taking place July 7th-10th, seeking out interns since we have DPL Productions the business side of the Lounge and the dippoetrylounge channel on (The Black Eyed Peas’ social networking site.)  We’re also getting ready for our 12th anniversary in June.  Big things for a big place.  Next Tuesday our feature is Oveous Maximus…there is also an upcoming Slam in 2 weeks and the Series Finale of ‘LOST.’  That has nothing to do with DPL and I haven’t had time to watch the show in years but, I do want to know how it ends.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and we’ll write soon.  Be safe and I just remembered the girl’s name was Sephora…damn, my memory is good.

– Shihan

here are a couple of videos from last Tuesday

(while you are watching feel free to subscribe to our channel!)