Poetry for Personal Power – Park University
This event in Parkville was everything that we’d envisioned when writing the Poetry for Personal Power grant. The audience was packed and respectful, there were a great number of poets who entered with very applicable poems, and the feature poet was stellar. We provided a forum for people to talk about how they’ve gotten through tough times in their lives without bringing in a lot of psychiatric labels and clinical language.
Edward Pendleton, who ended up winning second place, said, “A few weeks ago I first heard about this event, I wasn’t thinking about writing or presenting anything. But then when I heard the theme was about overcoming adversity, something in me told me to share with with you.” This is the reason we created this forum, to reward new kinds of expression and networking.
Yahlea’ach rocked the set with poems about getting through tough times in her life, how she’d coped, and her pride in her current lifestyle as a stay at home mom. Every single evaluation that we got back rated her 4.0 out of 4.0 for excellence. We’ve never seen a poet get a perfect score at a performance before. We’d have asked her for an encore if we had enough time. She’ll also be performing in St. Louis at Harris-Stowe State University.
The open mic contestants had excellent entries including poems named, “Laugh,” “This Too Will Pass,” “Madness,” and “The Price of Sincerity.” All the poems that the authors wanted uploaded to You-Tube are now on line. You can view our You-Tube channel if you click here, to see other universities as well as videos from the Rolling Bicycle Based Health Fair Display booth. We are posting the first, second, and third place poems below.
First place: Rodney Foster, with “The Usual Way”
Rodney totally rocked the mic with this complete and honest appraisal of how he’s gotten through difficulties. One of the hardest things about poetry is how to completely bare your soul on the mic and Rodney won the $100 prize with this epic discussion. “To change this moment of untelevised reality,” he says. “Night after night the bandage of time is ripped away.”
Second place: Edward Pendleton, with “Different about Me”
Edward has overcome anger issues and jealousy to reconcile his ambition in life. He talks about using spirituality to find a place in the world. “This fight wasn’t worth it,” he said. “I left my anger undrawn.” “Who qualifies for normality, anyway?” “That drive, that rage, never disappeared or stayed still, it just able to change.”
Third place: Ashley Allee, with “You Wouldn’t Admit to It,” and “We Will Grow, if We Allow.”
Ashley did two short poems about overcoming opposing viewpoints and finding peace with oneself, and friends, and a higher power. “The road less taken is as scary as hell, but I’ve been walking as long as I can tell.” “My journey is just beginning after years of never really living. My heart has been washed in forgiveness and love, not the grape juice of rules and regulations.”
When the event was over, we looked out the window and it was snowing. It had snowed about half an inch while were in the room running the event. No one had seemed to mention it the whole time. It was like we were in a small, special space like a bubble for those two hours.