15---> kelly & the three way tie


Name: Kelly Jones 

Hometown: Raleigh, NC 

Current Cities: Raleigh, NC, and New Orleans, LA

Occupation: Bartender/Editor/Educator/Event Organizer/Writer

Age: 30

What does poetry mean to you?

Poetry, at its best, is the thing that everyone’s wanted to say but couldn’t figure out how to. Its calculated expression and unbridled thought; poems question the world and attack it from another angle. They make us think and feel and wonder and dream and hope and cry and smile and remember. Sometimes it means rhyme, meter, form, structure, etc., but I prefer to appreciate poems more for their content than their presentation.  As someone who writes poems, poetry also means creation, frustration, and revision. It means treasuring a thing that, when you boil it down, is just words and white space.

Favorite Poet/Poem:  

I don’t have a favorite poet, but I’ve got a three way tie going for favorite poem. Please, read them. I promise that you might like them.

Dream Song 4″ by John Berryman

For Saundra” by Nikki Giovanni

Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note” by Amiri Baraka  

Why do you like these poems?

“Dream Song 4” draws me in because of Mr. Bones and Henry’s conversation. The way they speak with each other and describe their world is captivating. And the way Berryman turns a phrase is so lovely and memorable.

“For Saundra” is hard and honest and questioning the world. It shows a smart woman who is tough and ready for revolution. When I first read that poem in middle or high school that was an unfamiliar character that I was excited to finally see.

“Preface…” is heart wrenching and I love it for that. It also does a damn good job of using an isolated line to make an impact.

13---> nancy & whitman


Name: Nancy Beteta

Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana

Current City: New Orleans

Occupation: Interior Design student at Delgado Community College 

Age: 22

What does poetry mean to you?

Poetry is an art with a unique language. To me it means a way of expressing yourself in a way that you want, without having any rules, while writing your deepest thoughts in a love language of your own.

Favorite Poet/Poem:  

Walt Whitman/ “Song of Myself

Why do you like this poet/poem?

I like him as a poet and this poem especially because he shares how he see this world through his eyes, and he shares what he longs for the most.

5---> kristina & baldwin


Name: Kristina Robinson
Hometown: New Orleans
Current City: New Orleans
Occupation: artist/occasional teacher
Age: 31

What does poetry mean to you? 

Sound and freedom from linearity. The kind of writing that makes me feel the least limited by English. Being an Afroindigenous Black-American from Louisiana, English is both my second and only language. I find the language least frustrating when writing poetry, mostly because I can break free from the penitentiary of grammar. It also accommodates intermediary, non-binary thoughts, ideas, moods and non-conclusions whereas prose in English always feels like it has the weight of a gavel behind it. I like to write it too, but poetry is where I feel most like myself.

Favorite Poet/Poem

I really love “Guilt, Desire, and Love” by James Baldwin

Why do you like this poet/poem?

I like this poem because it’s a direct look at love and why it eludes many/most people.

4---> j.p. & “invictus”


Name: J.P. Martinez

Hometown: New Orleans, LA

Current City: Fort Myers, FL

Occupation: Minor League Baseball Coach

Age: 32

What does poetry mean to you? 

I was a voracious reader as a child and quickly became fascinated by words and language. I have long been mesmerized by the mastery of both in poetry, by the many forms it takes, and by its role in music.

Favorite Poets: Shel Silverstein, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, & Bob Dylan

Favorite Poem: “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley

Why do you like this poet/poem? 

I have drawn on the strength this poem gives me more times than I can count. It speaks of overcoming unimaginable adversities and taking responsibility for our lives and was instrumental in my development as a young athlete.

It was given to me by my favorite coach when I was a freshman in high school and has hung in any locker of mine every year, ever since.