Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Bards & Brews: Spotlight on Poet Jahman Hill

Jahman Hill was born in Rochester, New York and raised in Larned, Kansas. He currently lives in Tuscaloosa. Hill is a poet, a student, a teacher, and the author of Made From My Mother's Ceilings.  He regularly performs at Bards & Brews, the Birmingham Public Library's popular spoken word poetry/craft beer event as well as at other spoken word poetry events in central Alabama and across the nation. 

How long have you been performing spoken word poetry?

I started writing and performing when I moved to Alabama four years ago, my junior year of college.

Can you tell us about the first time you performed your poetry in front of a crowd?

The first time I performed was at a variety show, I believe. I was a junior in college, and the University of Alabama theater organization, Alpha Psi Omega, were doing their monthly Guerrilla Theater. I performed three poems, and had an absolute blast.

Who are some of the poets or writers that have had the most impact on you?

I have been impacted by a plethora of poets, but those who have had the biggest impact are probably my mentor, Michael Harriot, and my friend, Eric Marable, Jr., who encouraged me to write in the first place. Poets who have greatly influenced me include Dominique Christina, Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib, Zora Howard, and Joshua Bennett.

What art or artists (in any medium) are you most interested right now?

I'm very interested in the work of Jamila Woods as of right now, as well as the local arts scene of Tuscaloosa. Visiting the Kentuck Arts Festival of last week was very inspirational.

Which of you poems has had an unexpected reaction by an audience?

I have this poem called Cash Me Ousside about the Cash Me Ousside girl, and people have really enjoyed it. My poem on kneeling has also received a reaction I wasn't expecting. I am actually nervous about a lot of my work.

Do you have an ask of the readers of this interview?

Ask yourselves how you can use poetry to challenge the society around you, how you can utilize poetry to grow, how poetry can empower you and others as well.

Do you have anything you would like to promote?

Yes! My poetry organization, the Alabama Student Association for Poetry. We're on instagram and twitter @asap_ua and on facebook @uaasap

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