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by vivrant thang on national poetry month

As National Poetry Month comes to a close, I wanted to celebrate one of my favorite poets, Philly native Ursula Rucker. I was up in Philly a couple of weeks ago and just happened upon the Germantown Poetry Festival. I read about it before I got to town but didn’t think I would be able to make it over there during my short visit. While we were riding aimlessly down the never-ending Germantown Avenue, we ran right into Vernon Park. I thought I would have missed her, but I was right on time.

I don’t remember when I was first discovered Ursula and there’s still so many of her pieces that I’m unfamiliar with. She’s often compared to Nikki Giovanni and Sonya Sanchez, which is probably why I took notice. Not to mention the fact that she’s a cusser just like moi.

She first performed publicly at the Philly institution, Zanzibar Blue (RIP). She’s appeared on three Roots albums, Do You Want More?!?!, Illadelph Halflife, and the classic, Things Fall Apart.  She’s also worked with one of my favorite UK soul artists,  4Hero. I love the blending of poetry with hip-hop and soul music. It’s just natural. Can it get any better?

Since I’m more of a prose-loving chick, a poet gots to bring the fire to hold my attention. From the time Ursula opens her mouth, everything about her delivery grabs your attention. She’s talking about real shit, which is the kind of poetry I feel. I wholeheartedly respect literary poets. I just think I od’d in grad school. Wasn’t until I moved to the DC area and started checking out open mikes that I really got into spoken word and gained a deeper appreciation for the art form.

If you’ve never heard Ursula spit, please check out these videos. The raw emotion this woman brings to her pieces is captivating. If you like what you hear, be sure to check out any of her three albums, Supa Sista, Silver or Lead, and Ma’ at Mama.

I have videos from the poetry festival, but some technical difficulties prevent me from posting them. Difficulties that caused me to burst into tears. Sometimes I hate being a woman. Seriously. I considered scrapping this post but I still wanted to celebrate these ill poetic lyricists before the month ended. I will find occasion to post them soon.

What A Woman Must Do, Def Poetry Jam Season 5

Love/Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing f/ Orrin Evans Trio and Jaguar Wright (for Dr. Martin Luther King)

In addition to Maya Angelou, Nikki, Sonya, and Ntozake Shange, here are some other black female poets I love. Share yours in the comments.

Jahipster [official site | myspace]
Love the Poet [official site | myspace]
Tara Betts [offical site | myspace]
Olu Butterfly [myspace] – performs with Fertile Ground
Lady Wisdom [myspace]
Naima J [myspace]
Punany Poets (Jessica Holter) [official site | myspace]