Storytelling Amplified

Najah Allen stepped in front of the microphone before students and her fiance.  She proceeded to describe the love and passion she and her fiance share.

“He was the motivation for the piece, and he was really easy write about because I have all of those feelings for him,” she said.

Tears escaped her eyes. She had performed the same poem before, but her emotions got the best of her at that particular moment.  The poem, titled “Fate,” also brought tears to a few audience members as they listened to her.

Poetic Summit, a student organization at Ball State, performed their last show of the semester on April 24, 2014 in front of fellow students and friends. “Bad Poetry” was the title of the event.

“’Bad Poetry’ is just meant to be sort of ironic,” said Kane San Miguel, one of the performers and Poetic Summit’s public relations director. “We wanted to play with the tenses behind words.  It’s more intriguing than putting ‘Good Poetry’ because a lot of our audience members are friends, and those outside our audience, we wanted to catch their attention.

“The purpose is just to showcase what we’ve been working on all semester. This is our biggest show and we want to be able to share our creativity, our stories.”

The other performers were Jamall Hendricks, Cierra Pittman, Marcea McGuire, Gabe Rudolph, MaLeah Mitchell, Joshua Benedict, Geordan Baker, Geraine Comer, Ashley Williams, ImUnique McNary and Gaven Rich.

All of the performers told a different type of story, but each poem had meaning.  Performers spoke about the world, feeling used, internal beauty and Autism.  Audience members cried, laughed or showed their agreement by shouting, “Mmm, you better tell it,” during the performances.

Spoken word is an art performance. It is presented with heavy rhythm, poetic phrases, wordplay and slang. Spoken word calls for emotion and aggression, but it gets the poet’s point across and grabs the audience’s attention.


The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art said poetry is in the audience members’ faces.  Poets see it as a way to relieve stress and release tension in their body.

“[It] taught me a different way to think.  It taught me how to think poetically,” Geraine Comer said. “It’s another way for me to express myself when I’m angry or sad.”

People cannot see the poems but they feel the emotion and tension through the poet’s performances. Jamall Hendricks said poetry makes him more open-minded.

“I like what I do, I like my work and I like my art; it motivates me to keep going.

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