AS ONE OF TWO founding members of the Spitfire Poetry Group's Junior Company ("JuCo" for short), Savannah Arts Academy senior Brandyn Poole has become a rising star on the local spoken wordcene, which centers around coffeehouse showcases and competitive "slams".
Poole, who soon starts her college career at Howard University in Washington, D.C. on a full scholarship, credits her involvement with JuCo as not only a positive experience but a pivotal moment in her life.
“My confidence and ability to overcome adverse situations has come directly from being a member of Spitfire,” she declares matter-of-factly. “Knowing that I can use poetry and writing as a tool to get energy out in a non-destructive way keeps me healthy. It’s an amazing feeling.”
Before she was introduced to the notion of performed literature, Poole was rather disinterested in poetry. She credits Spitfire leader Clinton Powell as a key inspiration.
“I regularly took part in the annual Georgia Youth Summer Writing Project —which recently stopped after several years— and the summer between seventh and eighth grade, they brought Clinton in to speak to us. I fell in love with him right away! Before meeting him, the only poetry I’d heard was from books. It was kind of ‘sing-songy’. It made me want to go to sleep. (laughs) Spitfire opened up a new window for me.”
Poole, says that she, along with other founding members of JuCo who are about to start college, Melanie Headly (Savannah Arts Academy) and Anthony Williams (Jenkins High), found in the more vibrant, confessional world of spoken word competition an outlet for their own private, personal observations that might otherwise have gone unheard — and, quite possibly, unformed.
The fruits of those labors will be on display in a more tangible way than ever before when those three poets —along with their younger counterparts Marquise Williams, Rachael Butler and Josh Davis— release their first-ever CD of original poems, all of which have been set to music and professionally recorded by engineers The Charles Singleton and Frankie Aponte, collectively known as The Outfit Producers.
Entitled Ink Blots, the 30-minute long disc includes over a dozen tracks, some of which are collaborations among the three eldest group members. Soon the discs will be available online at Spitfire’s website, and Powell also plans to disseminate them in local middle and elementary schools.
Poole says that by naming the CD Ink Blots, the poets are alluding to the fact that poetry is an extremely subjective medium.
“All our writings are open to interpretation, like an ink blot in a psychiatrist’s office. Every one will find something different in our poetry.”
Spitfire Poetry’s Ink Blots CD Release
Where: The Sentient Bean
When: 7:30 pm, Thurs., May 15
Cost: Free (CDs available for $10)