- Tuesday, 19 September 2023
- Written by Amber Little
Behind the bustle and rumblings of the busy streets, beyond the neon lights of the nightlife, lies the secret heartbeat of the city. Small, intimate venues set the scene for most events, patrons find places to settle before the show starts.
Poetry nights are not new to Fayetteville, but they are slowly becoming more popular, as more businesses open their doors for the words to flow.
Anyone looking for a night of good poetry can find a multitude of places and poets to fit any palate. Fayetteville hosts an array of poets from every background, all with their own unique flow and style.
If you want to know anything about what's going on in the city, there’s only one person to talk to, LeJuane Bowens, better known as “El’Ja,” pronounced L.J.
Like a lot of Fayetteville residents, El’Ja got here by way of the military, originally hailing from Lima, Ohio by way of Detriot, Michigan. While his style and flow are eclectic, from Freewrite to Tankas to spoken word, there is always a story being told.
If you want to hear him perform, you are in luck. El’Ja hosts multiple monthly events in Fayetteville. Every third Thursday is T.A.P at Winterbloom Tea, located at 203 Hay Street.
Arts Meets Life, an event in conjunction with The Sweet Palette, is every first Friday at Blanc Coffee Roasters, located at 103 Person Street. He also hosts poetry workshops, for schools, universities and nonprofits.
Booking can be done online at www.poetrynmotionnc.com. As for the future of poetry in Fayetteville, El’Ja says he hopes for “more recognition and the city having a Poet Laureate.”
Another staple in the poetry scene is Andre Sansbury, also known as “Suavethepoet.” Raised in Fayetteville, he has been writing since 10th grade when he was introduced to Haikus.
“I picked the pen back up as a senior in high school when I was going through challenging times and I never put it back down,” he said.
A true performer, Suavethepoet doesn’t claim a particular style of poetry, he just performs his work from his heart. Heavily influenced by Just Mike the Poet out of Philiphedia and Raleigh’s own,Nick Courmon,
Suave considers his poetry a healing experience for audience members, a sentiment he said drives his passion to write and perform. He can also be found in multiple venues around Fayetteville hosting poetry events.
Trap N Paint: Poetry Paint is every second Thursday at 402 E. Russell Street, and Sessions with Suave: Open Mic is once a month. The date of the event can be found on his Instagram page, @suavethepoet2.0.
He is working on a third monthly location on Ramsey Street. More details will be coming soon.
“I just want to see poetry continue to grow and the support to get better… We are doing something positive and trying to change the dynamic of entertainment,” said Suavethepoet.
“I am constantly thinking of ideas with my brother Poetic Zae on how we can do events that will catch people's attention. I just want people to experience the magic of poetry.”
There are other monthly poetry events scheduled around town, hosted by other talented poets.
The Sip Room holds a poetry event the last Wednesday of the month hosted by Poetic Zae, and Word Playis held every second Friday hosted by Nick Courmon. Fayetteville will be hosting two major poetry slams as well.
Southeastern Regional NC Poetry Fest will be held on Saturday, Sept. 23 at the Fayetteville Arts Council. Tickets are $10, and doors open at 7:15 p.m. The show starts at 8. Suavethepoet is hosting a Youth Poetry Slam in October. Those interested are encouraged to contact him via email firstname.lastname@example.org.