We caught up with Henry this weekend to have him tell us a little about one of his oldest passions: slam poetry. Although Henry doesn’t perform slam here at Kenyon as much as he used to, you can still see him onstage at Kenyon, acting in various KCDC productions. Here’s what he had to tell us about his poetry:
So, Henry Nash, how did you get started doing slam poetry?
I wrote a lot of poems when I was a freshman in high school for an English class I was in, and the teacher was also the sponsor of the slam team at our school, and she was like “Hey, you should think about coming out to these meetings and see if you like it”. So I went out, and there were these sort of open-mics that happened every two weeks, and I just sort of fell in love with the thing. It was very cool.
Who’s your biggest inspiration when you slam?
When I slam? Uh, probably…. (long, thoughtful pause)
Dig deep. Could be anyone. Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade…
… MY MOM!!!! Because she’s the light of my life, the apple of my eye… that’s my main gal.
When was the last time you slammed?
Probably sometime last year. I went to an open mic in Chicago.
What is the best piece you think you’ve ever performed?
It’s funny, I’m actually kind of a fraud – I really haven’t done that much performing in my life, just a little bit. Probably the best one, though, was a piece I wrote about Chicago. But it’s not the one that’s on the internet, this one’s way better!
Do you have any advice for someone who’s trying to break into the slam scene, but is just nervous or doesn’t know where to start?
Two pieces of advice. One: be attractive. Two: Slam is not the same thing as page poetry, poetry that belongs on a page. It is as much performance as it is writing. Just remember that, channel that. (to interviewer) You want me to do a piece right now?
Yes. Yes, I really do.
Background: This piece was performed on September 19th, 2015, just outside the Horn Gallery, just prior to the start of the Sicko Mobb show. A previous piece was performed, but the interviewer (the “Caf’rin” referenced in the poem) really goofed it up, bad, and didn’t actually record it. Those words are now beautiful sacrifices to the Slam Gods, scattered on the winds. This, the second poem, was successfully recorded and is now posted here for your listening and viewing enjoyment. So please do enjoy.