A Concise History of Randi Janelle Poetry

A Concise History of Randi Janelle with Performance & Slam Poetry

It was the summer of 2009.  I belonged to a small poetry circle comprised of friends.  So small we didn’t even have a name for ourselves.  We kept things interesting by assigning ourselves poetic tasks each month.  My favorite was “write a slam poem.”

Now, I didn’t know what that was.  I had taken a university course on “The Beat Generation” and loved So I Married an Axe Murderer growing up.  In other words, I let my gut guide me.  I went out into Asheville’s music festival, Downtown After 5, and produced an epic rambling commentary from the senses.  It had hip-hop like rhymes and enthusiasm, but it wasn’t quite slam.

Sixish months later I entered my first slam in Asheville.  There were three rounds, elimination, a 3 minute time limit, and judges picked randomly from the audience.  Being blissfully ignorant but still a bundle of nerves, I blasted through the two 6-7 minute poems I had prepared, making it into the final round.  I didn’t take the cake that night as I had no third poem to show for myself!

Since then I have gotten to know the poetry communities in Sydney, Australia and Wellington, New Zealand.  I acted co-organizer for Poetry in Motion in Welly, and regularly put on and perform poetry gigs.  In 2013, I published a limited-edition collection of 30 poems titled Made with Love, Living, and Chocolate.  I toured in New Zealand and Australia in 2014 and continue to perform in the United States.

I find it interesting, the effort of collecting credentials in order to make a name for myself.  Though my desire is to tour throughout the world, I’ve come to appreciate the magic of a supportive local community.  Wellington has fostered me in many ways, but the poetry and performance peeps have become my family, and I owe them eternal gratitude.  We are more than our words – we are our hugs, our cheers, our gentle criticisms, our efforts to provide an enigmatic, yet nurturing stage.

That disclaimer in place, please check out my creds.


Photo cred: Sam Warburton

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