What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word “poetry”? Do you mentally moan and think back to old high school textbooks? Fortunately, an amazing group of poets here in Chattanooga are determined to change that old, dusty perception.
“Some people think poetry is boring and we’re working to change that perception and show people that poetry can be fun, interactive, healing, connective and powerful,” says Marsha Mills, President of Rhyme N Chatt.
Rhyme N Chatt Interactive Poetry Organization has been in existence since 1999 and provides a safe place where poetry is shared and discussed and where the poet is valued. They provide platforms for local poets and opportunities to hone their craft and increase their visibility.
“In a nutshell, we’re ‘changing lives one rhyme at a time,'” says Mills. “We host poetry events year-round, however, right now we want people to know about the James Baldwin Festival of Words that Rhyme N Chatt is hosting as part of the Chattanooga Festival of Black Arts & Ideas.”
Several events are planned as part of the festival’s Juneteenth Celebration and Rhyme N Chatt is the organizer of the following events:
- June 11 – Writers’ Workshop with Erika Roberts
- June 11 – Literary fair featuring local black authors
- June 13 – Sip, Paint & Spit with local artist, Swayyvo and Nate Royal
- June 17 – RNC presents. . . An intimate evening with international poet Obbie West
- June 18 – Community Roundtable on Wellness through the Arts
- June 21 – Fresh Out the Shoebox Open Mic Poetry Session
- June 25 – James Baldwin Festival of Words presents Shades of Poetry/Words on Fire Showcase
The full program of events is available at blackartsandideasfest.com
“For many, the very first time they shared their poetry was at a Rhyme n Chatt event,” Mills said. “We’re always on the lookout for new and unexpected places to share poetry. We recently held a poetry show at the Northgate Selfie Spot and had an amazing time.”
To find out how to get involved, visit their website at www.rhymenchatt.com and click JOIN to learn more about membership, click VOLUNTEER to learn more about volunteer opportunities, and select DONATE to donate funds to support their programs.