Category Archives: Open Mic Wrap-Ups
This week has been so far incredible, and now I’m gearing up for a slightly quieter week of writing and editing and putting my head down so that the copy-edit of the final draft of The Heathens and Liars of Lickskillet County can be finished.
I got a poem published in RiverSedge, a lit journal based out of the Texas-Pan American Press. I will update on which poem got published once the journal is released.
Recently, I also received publication in The Southern Tablet. You can read my poem here: When You’re Sixteen In a Small Southern Town. It’s a fun poem about childhood and growing up, which is probably one of my favorite non-slam poems I’ve written recently.
On Saturday, I got the honor of being in my hometown newspaper The Aiken Standard. Entertainment writer Stephanie Turner penned an awesome feature about my first novel, my burgeoning poetry career, and my creative process. I was very happy at work that morning as several people approached me, having recognized my picture from the article. It’s been an interesting summer in Aiken, SC, because I always felt like in Charleston, people know me as a writer and in Aiken, people don’t know me as anything. But that is starting to change, and I hope only I can remain humbled and grateful about the opportunities afforded to me.
Read the Article here: Aiken Poet Completes First Novel.
Poetry, too, has blessed me this week with an incredible energy. On Wednesday night, Nova (a fellow poet and my significant other) and myself drove up to Greenville, SC to compete in a small slam hosted by Moody Black. I was happy to catch up with my poet family, especially one brother who is about to join the Navy. The event stoked my love for the spoken word art form and taught me just a little bit more about the competitive side of poetry. Check out the slam winner Annie Lee, picture below.
The very next evening, I attended an open mic at MAD Studios in Augusta. I have featured here before and love the venue. This week, Bilaal Muhammed blessed us with some poetry. Augusta Poet Laureate SleepyEyez Carter was instrumental in bringing out many of the city’s poets and performers for an evening of high-energy love. During that evening, I learned that both Sleepy and Brotha Trav (the previous poet laureate) were heading to Atlanta on Saturday.
I called to ask if I could tag along. I performed as the spotlight poet at Urban Grind’s “Do You Lyric Lounge?” I also got invited back next year on August 2015 to perform as the feature. I am slowly building up a calendar for 2015, based around the same time my book will be released!
On top of all this great news, Germany won the WORLD CUP. I celebrated by buying some new books. In the coming week, I’m going to start blogging more frequently so I can give more full thoughts on the events and happenings I’m experiencing. On July 22nd there will be the Holy City Slam in Charleston (hosted by myself and Matthew Foley) which I will blog about before it happens. Also, we are having a small poet’s party tomorrow evening at a local pool– The Poetry Potluck! The other big news is the Word Perfect show in Charleston on August 14th, which will take place at the Charleston Music Hall.
Last night I performed a 30-minute set of spoken word poems at the Columbia poetry venue Mind Gravy, located at the Black Drip coffee house. The venue incidentally sold some incredibly tasty coffee.
The night featured also musician Tonya Tyner, whom you can find here: https://www.facebook.com/tonyatyner
Find info on the poetry night here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/mindgravy/
I’ve posted some photos below, taken by Leslie C. Gilroy of Columbia, SC.
A very emotional performance of “Daniel” with Cait Cox on the guitar.
Cait Cox and myself performing our group piece “Scream.” You can see how sweaty and exhausted I had become by that poem. I was still going in, though.
Leslie snapped a pic of my CD!
Pics from Slam Madness! Photo creds to Chucktown poet Fresh Prince of Poetry!
On Saturday morning, we helped with a youth workshop. One of the highlights of the weekend, during which the poets helped young people express themselves.
Unfortunately, I lost after the first round and could not go on to the final round, but I think I made a good impression. But hey, check out this video of “Fork”!
All in all, this weekend became incredibly inspiring. Once Sunday rolled around, we decided to stay because we left the slam absolutely stunned. So many amazing poets, so many breathtaking poets. In our hearts, we are all 30’s– we are worth the three minutes of your time. And congrats to Moody Black for winning the entire slam and for Ed Mabrey for scoring second place! Check out some of the competitors below!
Class ends, and we pack our bags with clothes, books, and poetry. After a panini pit stop, on the road by 4 pm, we rocked out to Mos Def, Childish Gambino, Johnathan Brown Andrea Gibson, Buddy Wakefield, Listener, and Matt Foley– some of the best poets for inspiration as we approached Greenville. In this town, incredibly progressive and bustling with energy, we would be competing in Slam Madness, an annual poetry slam run by Sapient Soul and John C. Weaver. Some of the best poets in the nation will be coming out to bout for a $1500 grand prize, complete with two preliminary and one championship round.
Once we arrived in the city, an hour or so late, we plunged headlong into a poetic evening in a small Greenville restaurant called Jamaica Mi Irie, a bistro serving delicious Jamacian cuisine, at which Madness poets and locals engaged in a free style poetry slam. Each competitor picked random topics from a box, then created rhymes, rhythms, and inspirational messages on the spot. After three furious rounds of good-natured competition, Ed Mabrey brought home the prize. He too will be competing in the slam. For perspective, he’s won the Individual World Poetry Slam. Talk about some serious competition.
So let’s represent Chucktown, show these Charleston poets that can hold their own on the big stage.
Keep updated on the slam performances tomorrow and Sunday, including videos, photos, quotes, interviews, and basic HYPE. In the meantime, get out to downtown Greeneville to witness this spectacular slam, check out some videos of Slam Madness competitors. Sorry for not including everyone, but that would be a lot of videos.
Met some great poets and reunited with old friends at last night’s show. We took a few photographs recently posted on the Facebook page. I personally left very satisfied with my performance, was glad to showcase a more mature performing style that’s evolved over the past year. Unfortunately, the camera had some glitches, but here’s the bit of video we did manage to retrieve, which shows two great performances of two poems that appear on “Perfect Nights.” And then there’s almost all of “Perfect Nights” as well.
Although I would have loved videos of other poems, this could not be. Perhaps this is a good opportunity to perform these again in the near future.
A performance at the King Dusko open mic about speech therapy and the importance of having a voice. Written a lot of new poems, fortunately, that will soon flow forth on the mic. Check them out as well as my forthcoming chapbook entitled Skinny Dipping with Strangers.
Leave thoughts below or on Youtube video.
Below is a video from King Dusko’s first open mic, co-hosted by Khalil Ali and myself. Though the first few lines of this poem are cut off, here is it shared. The first line: “For those who wish to pursue art professionally…” Click the link to listen.
For more pictures or videos, visit: http://charlestonpoets.com/
I have neglected this blog for a long time, because I’ve been fairly busy with school, but I want to re-establish my online presence here and now. I am breathing, poet-ing, and living life all the time. In the course of these events, I have a few tidbits of incredibly explosive news.
Firstly, I have decided to self-publish a chapbook of poetry, which will be entitled Skinny Dipping with Strangers, named after the featured poem of the same name. Hypothetically, this poem will be released in early January or as early as late December! I will be working on it even harder once I finish final exams and begin my winter break!
Secondly, I will be performing at a number of shows in the upcoming months, including the open mics I already frequent. The soonest will come this Wednesday on November 20th at the 827. I will be performing a 25 minute feature, after which will follow an open mic and poetry slam! For all the information, check out the event here: http://www.the827.com/#!open-mic-night/cdoa
Or you can join the Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/556583157768045/
If you cannot make this performance, that will be perfectly fine. There will possibly be another Charleston-centric event I shall update you about on a later date.
Likewise, if you’re not in the Charleston area and clambering to experience Derek Berry’s poetic gymnastics, I have three great options for you. Firstly, I will be working in the coming weeks to produce a few low-budget videos of my performances, and maybe even some music-video-type projects for poems! Secondly, I am going to work on getting a professional recording of the poems that will appear in the book (and some other poems too) which I will be giving away for free to those that purchase the book.
Finally, I have a very exciting announcement. I will be featuring in the city where my spoken word started off– Augusta, GA! On January 2nd, 2014, I will perform a show at M.A.D. Studios, hosted by Catherine Zickgraf. I will also post again about this in the future. You can come out and see me play home field.
In other words, get psyched for the possibilities for the future. There have been other poetic concerns clouding my mind, but I don’t want to share them until they become officiated. Keep in touch, and I will keep everyone updated.