MacKenzie poetically spoken speak is a recipe of deep meaningful thoughts…laced with diverse volumes of consciousness for your minds ear to savor… If ever there was a meaning to the phrase “Seek & Thee Shall Find”. In doing so..this Louisville bred spoken word artist made a resounding reality of it by going on a quest that took her to a destination…that continues to elevate and rendezvous to different heights and a multi myriad of on going journeys of verbs nouns and word-isms. What’s in a word? Check it out ..


Q. MRCPROMO: Hello Mackenzie thank you for taking time out with us how are you?
A. MACKENZIE: I am doing well, thank you for having me.

Q. MRCPROMO: How did you first become involved with spoken-word poetry?
A. MACKENZIE: My first introduction to performance poetry was through YouTube. My best friend suggested I would like a poem by Philly poet Kai Davis and showed me a video of her performing. I had written poetry before but had never been exposed to spoken word, to the concept of performing a poem. The video was powerful and it had swank and swagger and I had never seen
anything like it before. From there I searched many more performance poetry videos on YouTube and found out there was a whole world I had known nothing about.

Q. MRCPROMO: Do you belong to a poetry organization? What is a poetry slam is? Can anyone join?
A. MACKENZIE: Yes, I started a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization called Young Poets of Louisville that provides a safe space for young people ages 13-19 to develop themselves through the written and spoken expression of poetry. We have free writing workshops, youth poetry slams, and public readings. A poetry slam, unlike a reading, is a competition of poetry. There are three
or four rounds of poetry in a poetry slam and each poet has 3 minutes to spit a poem in each round. The only thing a poet is guaranteed in a poetry slam is that first round―after that there are fewer and fewer poets based on the scores they receive from judges, who score each poem from 0.0-10.0. For the Young Poets youth slams anyone ages 13-19 can join in
the regular season; however, we are now preparing our youth poetry slam team for competition and so are working specifically with those poets.

Q. MRCPROMO: What’s the difference between an open mic and an a poetry slam?
A. MACKENZIE: In an open mic, anyone can perform any act without a strict time limit. In a poetry slam, there is competition with a 3 minute time limit per round. There is a winner and there are finalists which makes the crowd more invested and emotionally attached to certain poems and poets. Competition creates intrigue.

Q. MRCPROMO: In your opinion what parallels are there between rap and slam poetry? What
do they share?
A. MACKENZIE: Both rap and slam poetry have roots in competition, in spitting something that competes against someone else’s work. Both rap and slam are performances―they are meant to engage the audience and interact with them. They also have many similar elements such as rhythm, rhyme, and flow and you can see singing in rap just as you can see singing in slam poetry.
They are of the same roots―slam came from rap.

Q. MRCPROMO: What’s you’re creative process, do you hear rhythm, do you hear a rhyme
when your working on a subject you want to address?
A. MACKENZIE: My creative process with performance poetry is typically based off rhythm. I use repetition, metaphor, and syllable count to consider the rhythm of a poem, especially if the subject is intertwined with rhythm, such as Muhammad Ali. He spoke in rhythm, so it’s a device that can be used to draw connection with him, but the form really just depends on the subject matter being discussed.

Q. MRCPROMO: Who are your favorite poets?
A. MACKENZIE: Some of my favorite poets, including both written and performance, are Nikky Finney, Jericho Brown, Terrance Hayes, Warsan Shire, Maya Angelou, Audre Lorde, Kai Davis, Jasmine Mans, and Sister Outsider.

Q. MRCPROMO: Any dream artists you’d love to work with?
A. MACKENZIE: I would love to work with Kai Davis because she is an incredible poet and was the inspiration behind Young Poets of Louisville.

Q. MRCPROMO: Where can we catch one of your performances and our there any tours
coming up?
A. MACKENZIE: I will be performing at the Lip Gloss Diaries Poetry Slam at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts in Bomhard Theater on April 2nd at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Q. MRCPROMO: Last Words or shouts?
A. MACKENZIE: I want to thank the city of Louisville for its support. Louisville has shown so much love to me and Young Poets of Louisville. This is so important to us. Thank you to Lance Newman, Brandon “B.Shatter” Harrison, Roots & Wings, Rheonna Thornton, Jasmine Reed, Scz, and Tarsha Semakula for sharing knowledge on poetry and maintaining the Louisville poetry slam scene.

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EDITOR: La Mont Reed
IMAGE: Mackenzie Berry