Black History Month Event
Coffee House Featuring Former NFL Star
and Poet Travis Watkins Feb. 26
In recognition of Black
History Month, SGA has scheduled a Coffee House program featuring Former NFL star and poet Travis
Watkins as Host at the Theron Montgomery Building Auditorium Tuesday
evening, February 26 beginning at 7 o'clock.
As a 6 foot 4-inch, 300 pound
former Division 1 football star, Travis Watkins doesn't seem to fit the image
of a stereotypical Spoken Word Poet. Yet
as the winner of the coveted National College Language Association Award for
poetry, and a top 8 National Poetry Slam Ranking, it's clear that Travis isn't
concerned with images and stereotypes.
Travis spent 4 years as a starter and 2 year team captain of the
Kansas football team, where he was honored
as a finalist for the District V Academic All-American Team, before graduating
with honors in U.S. History and African American Studies in 2005. While attending K.U., Travis also managed to
find time to volunteer as a mentor to "at-risk" youth at VanGo Mobile Arts,
while making a name for himself as a dynamic up and coming performance
his university's monthly Poetry Slam for a year straight before being retired
and given hosting duties his senior year.
As host of K.U.'s Poetry Slam, Travis shared the stage with Def Poetry
Jam Poets Jason Carney and Helena D. Lewis, and in 05' the scholar-athlete
turned poet was honored with the College Language Association's national award
graduating, Travis was accepted into the highly selective Teach For America
program, committing 2 years to teaching in our country's most poverty ridden
inner-city schools. While teaching high
school U.S. History in Houston TX., Travis began a meteoric rise in the world of
contemporary Slam Poetry by leading his team to the semifinals at the 2006
National Poetry Slam, and making it to the Individual Final Stage finishing
8th out of over 350 poets at his first official National Slam
ranks as one of the top young poetic talents in the nation and is touring the
globe as a performance poet and motivational speaker. Travis incases his touching personal stories
and insightful socially conscious views into a powerful display of poetry unlike
any you've ever seen. You may have read
poetry, you may have heard poetry, but you've never truly "experienced" poetry
until you've witnessed Travis Watkins live.
Source from which passages are cited: http://www.laymanlyric.com/travis_watkins.
Samples of Watkins' video poetry are also accessible on this Website.
In the words of Warren J. Carson, Ph.D., Chair, Margaret Walker Memorial Prizes in Creative Writing,
College Language Association--upon awarding the 1st place award to Watkins:
Travis Watkins's poetry is simply captivating! His
insights are timely and provocative and are encased in a
refreshing masculine tenderness. What a tremendous
celebration of young black manhood!
Maryemma Graham, Ph.D, and Founder, Langston Hughes National Poetry Project, critiqued Watkins as
If poets are
born and not made, then Travis Watkins is among them. His
voice is deliberate, definitive and fearless -- he wants
to make waves. But most of all, he confirms what it means
to be a generation born in the aftermath of civil rights,
who must find their way to a new kind of social commitment
in their own language; this means necessarily breaking the
rules, taking real poetic license.
Source from which passages are cited: http://www.laymanlyric.com/.
Travis Watkins, now a teacher in Houston, recites his poems during workshops referred to as poetry slams. Travis Watkins
has been observed reciting each line in his original work “My Word” forcefully and quickly, and suddenly his tone
changes in the poem about racism.
“When tolerance is silent, hate is what’s heard,” said Watkins, a 2005 Kansas
University graduate and former Jayhawk defensive lineman.
After several more lines rolled off his tongue, he slowed again.
“Find truth for yourself, don’t just take my word,” he said.
According to Watkins, “Poetry is really sharing your soul with people.”
Source from which passages are cited: www.lawrence.com/news/.
for news releases by using the request form at www.jsu.edu/newswire/request