Heroes: How Powerful a Poet can be…

Heroes: How Powerful a Poet can be…

One night I went to the Berkeley Repertory Theater… I was looking forward to seeing a performance by a male poet billed as spoken word artist mixing hip-hop and poetry. But what I saw that night can only be described by me thus:

Imagine a storyteller, a dancer, a performer who invites you to a fantastic experience bar none. Imagine seeing a human being spherically detonate an entire pantheon of personas before your very eyes; personaes fulfilled not only with call of voice and the spoken word but with incredible movement. Imagine the feeling of the spoken word as it mixes rhythmically with dance and is realized in all its poetic glory fully manifested in the body of one man. These are just the beginning of the experiences of attending the performance of spoken word-artist-dancer Marc Bamuthi.

Expressing fully with all his body, mind and soul a grand series of poetic presences, Bamuthi truly becomes poetry in motion. Bamuthi embodies his poetic imagination with all kinds of physical presence as he dances, writhes, conjures, solicits and otherwise powerfully emotes through a cacophony of words and moods that he punctuates with incredible flourishing spins, leaps, taps, and snaps. Whirling across a universe and a stage -ecstatically melting before your eyes; Bamuthi transforms into a gorgeous waterfall of a man! A chameleon of color and personae, a divine storyteller, who performs imploringly mesmerizing feats of hybridity where the intersection of both a contemporary man and a plethora of primeval beings arrive together – realized holistically in a community of one body, to live in the present moment full of appreciating sight, body and sound!


Bamuthi articulate stories that like the best of all stories are incredibly personal and yet made available for everyone…stories the kind a father can tell his son, full of vulnerable suffering and empowering joy! Stories, offering that connection of shared reality, where somewhere in the middle of despair and hope; arrives our realization of the tremendous courage and fragility in being alive – in the face of all our pain and many deaths, and we can honestly honor what makes life full of joy and living!

And all the while, Bamuthi continues to channel it all together, one transformational story after the other, intertwining body and words in the most memorable and visceral of ways. As he exudes obvious enjoyment, jubilation, and open appreciation, in honoring and making manifest his story-making talents – sharing words and worlds invigorated with dance every step of the way!

And I’m sitting there watching him – and I get this awesome feeling, overcoming me! A feeling of admiration and awe as I see Bamuthi on stage – across the many lives he brings alive, giving body and voice – so that none go unheard! And I think I begin to see, how truly powerful a poet can be!

After witnessing the performance, having shared breath in that most magical space of theater, I have come away touched and moved in unexpected ways and for me – personally, Bamuthi proves physically, emotionally and spiritually inspiring as mentor.

I am very grateful to have been able to attend Bamuthi’s show, to witness his most magical poetry, and I sincerely look forward to finding ways that I too can go on and make manifest the gifts of my own story-making talents to share with others.

-Nichelle Lee

PS. BIG THANK YOU!!! to OPAL PALMER, amazing poet & teacher who made the evening possible for me. Thank you, Opal! 🙂






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