Dig Baton Rouge

Poetry in the Park

By Leslie D. Rose 

There will be beer, wine and poems – lots of poems.

On Friday, Sept. 19, Chelsea Lynne, Desiree Dallagiacomo, Rodrick Minor, Donney Rose and I (Leslie D!) will take the stage at Independence Park Theatre for “Word of Mouth – a captivating evening of original spoken word poetry featuring some of the city’s most acclaimed performance poets.”

Don’t you just love having yourself hyped up like that?

I won’t be cocky and speak for myself, but my fellow performers – there’s no hype about them.

Lynne, a middle school music teacher by profession, emerged on the Baton Rouge poetry scene a few years back. A former host of The Mocha Room poetry reading on the Southern University campus, Lynne is the voice of your favorite aunt and her funniest as well as most heartfelt and honest stories.

She said while she’s onstage at Word of Mouth, audiences can prepare to witness her mistakes, upbringing, heart strings and the things that pull them.

“I’m preparing to throw up tears and swallow lumps of hope,” she said. Dallagiacomo is the Baton Rouge rep for the Individual World Poetry Slam (iWPS), which will be held in Phoenix, Arizona in October. She has an extensive resume of performances that span the United States and include universities and various open mic and poetry slam venues.

From Dallagiacomo, audiences can usually expect a raw honesty that most are surprised to hear from the mouth of a northern California girl. And they usually become instant fans – her hilarious, yet serious body image poem “Thighs” has more than 120,000 views on YouTube.

In an earlier interview with DIG about her area iWPS win, she said she was really excited to represent Baton Rouge.

“It’s where I found my voice and it was the first place where I found people who really believed in my voice,” she said.

Rodrick Minor is a three-time member of the Baton Rouge National Poetry Slam (NPS) team – Eclectic Truth. He works as visual art teaching artist with Forward Arts during the day and admittedly spends his evenings working on poem revision or rehearsing his performance.

Minor’s poems talk heavily about his upbringing, family and some of his favorite things, like grits.

In the grits poem, which his fellow 2014 NPS teammates dubbed “Mrs. Grits Minor,” he details an account of a hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina that dared to have a fitness center, but no grits in its continental breakfast offerings. Minor shows a gamut of emotions, from love for the food and rage for its haters in the hilariously charged poem which is always an audience favorite. Most recently it helped Team Eclectic Truth secure a first place win in its first bout at NPS.

Everybody knows Donney Rose, in fact one time Rose became sick while out at a club and a fellow patron knocked on the door asking “You alright Poet-man?”

Poet-man sounds very much like a superhero name and if there were poetry superheroes, I’d like to think he’d be one, but that’s likely because he’s my husband.

Rose has been on eight Baton Rouge National Poetry Slam teams, competed individually for Baton Rouge at iWPS in 2012, has organized notable spoken word poetry events in the Capital City for nearly ten years and is now the slam master of Baton Rouge for the Eclectic Truth.

Hired as the producer of Word of Mouth, Rose is responsible for the lineup that audiences will see on Sept. 19. From the formatting of the show to any theatrics that may take place throughout, aside from the individual performances, all credit goes his way.

And, then there’s me. I was the Baton Rouge rep for the Women of the World Poetry Slam in March where I ranked 24 out of 72 competitors, so I’m still well-rehearsed.

I plan to perform poems about body image, family drug abuse, Whitney Houston and Beyonce from my Diva series and two fairly new poems from my Newsroom series in honor of slain journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. We have all worked really hard and are looking forward to performing for a packed house.

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Word of Mouth

Sept. 19

7 p.m.

Independence Park Theatre

7800 Independence Blvd

$10

theparktheatre.com

(225) 216-0660

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