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    Performance poet Madison West will be releasing her cd Wannabe tonight at Jazzy Blu Cafe as part of the  monthly poetry night by 30 Something Entertainment, which often has standing room only.  The doors open at 7 p.m. and the cover is $10. (Dress to impress.)

    West's CD includes 13 tracks total. Some are straight poetry, while others are set to original music by Solo LaMaze. There is also a bonus track by Louisville R&B artist Detroyia Feel the Music with an intro by West.

    This poet showed a talent for writing at a young age and even submitted her own episode to Miami Vice while she was in high school. 

    "They just sent me a thank you and a glossy picture of Crockett and Tubbs," says West. "I probably should have concentrated more on school."

    After that, she set writing aside to work, go to school, and raise children.  It wasn't until 2008 that she began to take poetry more seriously and began writing/performing with Black Man, which was inspired by a friend who pushed her to find her passion in life after spending most of her life "married to her couch". West was encouraged to attend some open mics after sharing the piece with coworkers and friends. She accepted when one of her friends invited her to join them on a road trip to Atlanta for her first open mic. When she returned to Louisville, she began performing at Expressions of You and has been on a roll since.

    "Poetry has become  like a midlife revolution for me," she said. "I speak about that in my poem My Couch which is on the CD.  [As for other pieces], a lot of people think Black Man was written about one man. It was inspired by one friend, but it speaks about several men who have shaped my life.  It is a love letter of sorts to black men in general and to those men who have shaped my life...from my ex-husband to some of my best friends. It is a 'thank you' piece for the lessons learned from failed relationships as well as to those male friends who have stuck by me throughout the years and encouraged me to be my most authentic self.

    West said that she has been inspired by many local poets, especially Truth B. Told and Terraance Nai Lee of Nai's 1st poetry.  She also draws inspiration from a youth poetry group that she works with called Generation iSpeak. She is also a part of a poetic ensemble called The Movement, with members in Indianapolis, Louisville and Cincinnati. 

    Her future plans include another CD in additon to a book of poems that are not on her CD. She is planning to branch out from Louisville into other cities, although she has already performed in Lexington, Cincinnati, Atlanta, and Indianapolis.  She's headed to Nashville on June 24 for a poetry slam.

    Catch this rising star while you can. The event will have an open mic portion as well. I've attended before and have never seen such a lively event with so many people dressed to the hilt and ready to be supportive as they show what it means to "live it up".  West is ready to give it her all.

    "When I feature, I try to give the audience a little bit of everything...from humor to heavy to raunchy."

    Below is a video of West performing on a radio show. (Click here to view it on Youtube.)

    "I was so sick the day I was at the radio station, but it was a very rewarding experience. The mother of one of the young men, Aaron Shields, who I referred to in my poem NonSense, heard me performing the piece that day and asked for a framed copy. He was one of the boys killed in a car wreck a few years ago when leaving the Youth Alive meeting. I think that day at the radio station made me realize that this poetry thing was going to be less about open mics and more about getting involved in the community."

    Photo and video supplied by Madison West.

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    About Jessica Lynn

    Jessica Lynn has been writing for since fall of 2010 and has also been published in LEO, Velocity, Voice-Tribune and others after serving as Editor in Chief of The JCC student newspaper, The Quadrangle. She has also served as columnist or contributing writer to an array of online publications.

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