N’Spyre is in positive energy incarnate. Although, she’s been writing for a short time (3.5 years), she’s been putting in work. Since moving from Kansas City, MO to the ATL, she’s opened for Georgia Me (HBO’s Def Poetry). If that wasn’t enough she’s gotten props from Lamar Hill and countless crowds that affirms her ascendance as rising artist in the spoken word community. Now this KC native is performing at Urb Poetry on September 21. To give you a sense of who she is and who inspires her, Urb7 (questions) is at your service.
Q: Why are you a poet?
I am a poet because it is my calling. I never intended to be one. Poetry started out as a form of therapy for me. But it manifested itself and became therapy for others. That’s when I knew that I had to continue writing to help others. It’s my purpose.
Q: What’s the difference between spoken word and poetry?
Spoken word and poetry is one in the same. The only difference is that spoken word is performance poetry uses movements, sounds, and expressions to act out the poem. Basically, in spoken word, the poet is the focal point. In other forms of poetry, the poet is upstaged by the poem.
Q: If a literature professor decided to use you in class, how would they describe your body of work?
A literature professor would refer to my work as storytelling with rhythm. They would recognize my jazz influences from the riffs and counts in my poems. But, they would also acknowledge that each poem tells a story. They would understand that my work is universal. A lot of different audiences can relate to my stories because they have been there or they know someone who has been there.
Q: Keeping with the lit prof angle, which poem of yours would they discuss and what would they say about it?
I believe they would discuss my persona poem “Nyla.” They would describe how I told the tragic story of a little girl with HIV from the perspective of a drum. They would address the history of the drum and how it was a form of communication in certain parts of Africa. In addition, they would discuss how the personality and rhythm of the drum changes throughout the poem to emphasize certain details throughout.
Q: Which poets inspire you & why?
Nikki Giovanni inspires me because she said things that the average woman couldn’t say during her time. Dana Gilmore because she encouraged me to go to my first open mic and read my work. And to this day, she still encourages me to keep pressing my way in spoken word. Lamar Hill inspires me because of his energy that he brings to the stage. Last but not least, Queen godis inspires me because she has the ability to capture her audience without speaking. She has so much authority on the stage.
Q: What was the subject of your first poem?
The subject of my first poem was about my ex. I was so hurt about how things ended that I had to write about it to get my closure.
Q: What do you look for in a presidential candidate?
I look for someone who has great follow through for the people. My ideal candidate would have to be willing to address the needs of the urban public school systems and have a great economic policy. Plus, you have to be able to relate to all economic classes (that includes the rich, middle, and poverty classes).
Urb Poetry happens at Legacy Books and Cafe, 5249 Delmar Boulevard at Union. Doors open at 9. Louis Conphliction hosts. Live music by Boroppe and Chris Ware with me on tables.