National Poetry Month Celebration
As both an emcee & spoken word artist, the same versatility in his pen is also embodied in his performance. As a “Movement” poet, his features have included The Kennedy Center; numerous colleges and universities such as Columbia University; He has appeared on BETJ’s Lyric Café; and worked in collaboration with various organizations such as CWA (Brave New Voices), Teaching for Change, Words Beats Life,Inc, & being the 2009 youth spokesperson for D.C. Vote. In addition to winning multiple local slams, he is also the 2010 & 2012 DC Grand Slam Champion. He was nominated for a NUSPA award as Best Performance Poet male. He is one of the permanent hosts for Busboys and Poets Open Mics, and also co-hosts GraffitiDC, one of D.C.’s newest ground-breaking premier Slam Series. Currently, if he is not somewhere rocking a stage, he works as a creative writing teacher and leads workshops throughout various universities, and elementary to high schools. Pages, is an avid bow tie enthusiast, gummy bear elitist, and an anime & manga fanatic.
He has opened for Chrisette Michelle, Raheem DeVaughn, Afrika Bambaata, Andrea Gibson, and has shared the stage with Common, Mos Def, Chris August, Rudy Francisco, Rachel McKibbens, Saul Williams, Oveous Maximus, Shanelle Gabriel, Sonya Renee, Rosario Dawson, Amiri Baraka, Gayle Danley, Bassey Ikpi, Ainsley Burrows, Holly Bass, Asia Samson, Eboni Hogan, Brook Yung, Joshua Bennett, Talaam Acey, Michelle Meyers of Yellow Rage.
In addition to being a spoken word artist, he is also an educator and teaching artist, working through numerous schools from Elementary to High school levels, teaching creative writing and performance, and mentoring young kids throughout the D.C. and Maryland area. He is also assistant coach for the D.C. Youth Poetry Slam team, a Teaching Artist and Assistant coordinator for Youth Programs of the non-profit organization, Split This Rock.
"Most Days (when waiting for superman isn't enough"
cracked open from cycles of history, often not their own.
But what joy in seeing an origami of creative intellect unfold from their
They bear lips full of curses, yet their smiles remain metaphors
reminding us that there are still good things left in this universe.
Even as they search for love in the stampede of vacant pages,
Finding purpose in words, making lovers out of the clicks of a mouse.
While we, on most days, make phone booths of our arms and spin change from educators
To therapists, fathers, brothers, & anti-depressants at the speed of circumstance.
Faster than a standardized system that will never show how beautiful they are.
Most days they just want somebody to listen to their orchestra of pain
When razors made violins out of their wrists
From fathers making drums of their mother's ribs
And mothers' resentment holding on tight to their necks like trombones.
Some of these children go back to a crackhouse,
Some go to an apocalypse of gunshots, their pulse sounding of ambulance lights,
but most days some don't even go home at all.
They chase their hearts in stars and mud puddles
building fortresses out of their skin, because it's the only way they've learned to survive.
But the fire in their bones reflected in their eyes reminds me that
most days, every light at the end of a tunnel isn't always an oncoming train.
Inspiration could come from something as simple as the sound of construction outside, to the death of a good friend. Inspiration for me has always come from every and anywhere, from a random thought, to my environment, or an experience past or present.
What advice do you have for someone that is threatened by poetry?
Part of me wants to say- don't be, it's such a harmless cat with Puss n' boots’ eyes. The other part of me wants to say, run far away! Poetry is a tiger foaming at the mouth with a lust for the flesh and bone and soul of you. I'd say poetry is all of the above, people are threatened by its ability to draw the emotion out of someone. It's usually because people fear to show their true selves. Confront that fear! Harness those emotions with poetry and witness the growth that will come of it, not just as a writer, but as a person.
What is an interesting fact about you?
I eat a pack of gummy bears a day (seriously). I have 36 bowties (and counting). I spent close 12 months in my mother's womb before being born instead of usual 9 months. I am fluent in 4 different languages. I have never played a single game of spades.
Where are you from/Where do you live?
Originally from Yaounde, Cameroon, which is where I was born. I moved to D.C. (NE to be exact) when I was about 10/11, then moved to multiple parts of MD. Currently I live in Silver Spring, MD.
Who is your favorite poet?
That's like asking what's my favorite bowtie! Just off the top of my head, literary/slam/performance poets in no particular order: e.e. cummings, Beau Sia, Jeanann Verlee, Queen Godis, Ainsley Burrows, Patricia Smith, Audrey Lorde, Saul Williams.
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