Neo Minds presents No Words Barred Poetry and Slam Series
By Steve Furay
Special to the Michigan Citizen
Detroit’s legacy of poetic talent is on display throughout the city on any given night. One of the newest weekly events has landed in Eastern Market. Every Monday evening at Trinosophes, Neo Minds presents the No Words Barred Poetry and Slam Series, headlined by some of the city’s most dynamic talent.
Omari King Wise, proprietor of the Neo Minds promotional company, hosts the event. On July 8, the event was held in front of a couple dozen dedicated poets and listeners, an energetic group expecting the best for the success of the series. The series has been going for several weeks now.
“We get some beautiful, wonderful people in the building and some excellent poets, and that’s one of the things I always look forward to, the energy of the people in the room, because you all make this what it is,” Omari King Wise told his audience.
The atmosphere is open and inclusive, giving the presenters a warm ear and generous applause. The host makes it clear, however, for the audience to express themselves honestly, they must give truthful feedback about their poetry performances.
“I encourage you to do whatever you feel, don’t feel obligated to clap but don’t feel obligated to boo either,” said Omari King Wise.
The evening began with Omari King Wise delivering one of his own poems to set the mood for the room, followed by a lineup of guests who signed in for the open mic when they arrived. Diamond Dancer, a multi-talented artist, was one of the first to grace the microphone.
“No to those afraid of nappy hair,” said Diamond Dancer. “No to those just afraid, to talk, shut up, move, live, die or do. No to people who died a long time ago but are still walking around. No to the unconscious, no to the super-conscious, no to the self-obsessed.”
Thomas Williams was one of the following poets, a multi-talented singer and writer who is well connected in the poetry community. He hosts the Wednesday night open mic at 1917 American Bistro on Livernois, a highly successful weekly event that consistently draws a packed and spirited crowd.
“Because you can’t sustain life when you feed off of death,” recited Williams, “so I’m here to dispense truth, that truth gives light, and light gives life, and I offer you this, you a God by nature, mind raised in hatred, and I just want to show you love.”
The Trinosophes Cafe, the recently opened cafe located at 1464 Gratiot, has an attached art gallery, which provides a deeper connection to the city’s artistic community, and a live performance stage, which promises to draw more local acts in the coming months.
“The performance and gallery aspects are kind of our reason to exist, and the cafe is more so we have a daily presence,” Joel Peterson, co-owner of Trinosophes, told the Michigan Citizen.
The cafe is a part of the redeveloping Eastern Market neighborhood, an area that Peterson targeted as an ideal location to bring his vision of a dynamic location for residents passionate about the arts.
“To me, this always has been one of the top two most viable commercial districts in the entire city,” said Peterson. “You have 40,000 people down there every Saturday.”
The end of the poetry series was reserved for the poetry slam, but before Omari King Wise brought on the competition, he presented another special guest, Christina “shewrites” Jackson.
“So I want to bring this poet up because she is our feature here next week,” he told the audience. “And she is just a phenomenal artist and phenomenal person. I don’t know what else to say about her. Her poetry is amazing.”
“I am bound by chain not to forget our strength, but for those of you who have, I’d like to offer you a lift,” said shewrites. “A soft kiss, granting you the right not to be ignored.”
Raised in Detroit and now living in Grand Rapids, shewrites delivered this powerful poem about the idea of feminism and her perspective as an empowered woman. She will feature at No Words Barred July 15.
“Let the reality of your presence be pregnant in your pores,” she said. “Saturate the soil of your soul. Be needy, be greedy, read books in small nooks, cook, clean and feed yourself, build your own empire.”
Each week’s lineup of poets promises to deliver a variety of topics close to the artist’s hearts. Omari King Wise’s goal is to maintain a high level of talent featured at the event every week.
“A host never makes a venue what it is,” he said. “All they do is compliment what is being brought to them. So let’s keep this going; let’s make this a movement.”