I am pretty new to the spoken word world. But I started to look into it when I moved to Cleveland, and the name that kept coming up was Basheer Jones. Since I am used to reading poetry, I bought his book first, which I think was a mistake. I had a lucky opportunity to hear him before I finished the book. Once I did, then I had his delivery, cadences and passion in my head, the second half of the book really sprung to life.
I admire the energy, spirit and responsibility of these poems and of the man. He doesn’t seek to go somewhere else. He wants to stay in Cleveland and see what he can do. And these days, we can use everyone we can get.
The students loved his performance, and to see two students pass his book around under the desk like it was some kind of secret contraband was delightful. On another day, the same two students passed his book back and forth and read poems to each other.
So, listen first. . .
And then read. . .