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Verbal Slap

Verbal Slap

The Connecticut Poetry Slam Team “Verbal Slap” originated in 2011 by Frederick-Douglas Knowles and Croilot Carlos Adames. Since 2011 the team has been competing nationally at the National Poetry Slam Competition (NPS). Each year the team has been able to get closer to obtaining the title “National Poetry Slam Champions”. The National Poetry Slam is held in a different state each year. We jokingly call it “The Poetry Olympics”. In 2014 NPS was held in Oakland, CA. In 2015 NPS will be held in Newark, NJ.

In order to be a member of Verbal Slap you are required to compete locally in the weekly slams and win. The slams are open for anyone who would like to participate. We have preliminary, semi-finals and final competitions. Once the competition is complete, the top three or four poets are chosen to participate on the team. The team meets weekly with the Coaches and Slam Master, spending their time developing new material and sharpening their performance skills.

Our current core members are: Tarishi “Midnight” Shuler, Slam Master, Croilot Carlos Adames, Writing Coach and Darlene “Peaches” Brandon, Performance Coach. 2014 Verbal Slap Team Members: Tracy “Mind Evolution” Caldwell, Jerome Geyer, Lynnette Johnson and Michael “Chief” Peterson (bio’s are listed below).

We are excited about the accomplishments of the 2014 Verbal Slap Team and are looking forward to the 2015 Verbal Slap hopefuls!

Twitter: @VerbalSlap_CT ; on Facebook: www.facebook.com/verbalslapct ; Instagram: VERBALSLAP_CT or you can email them at verbalslap.ct@gmail.com

Tarishi “M.I.D.N.I.G.H.T” Shuler | Slam Master

Tarishi means messenger in Swahili. His stage name M.I.D.N.I.G.H.T is an acronym that stands for Messiah is dominant, now inspired, God helps Tarishi. Tarishi is a model, an actor and an activist. He is a co-facilitator for Love146. Love146 is an organization that advocates, educates and provides aftercare for victims of child sex trafficking and exploitation. He uses poetry to spread his message of love and purpose. He has taken the East Coast by storm by earning 1st place in the McDonald’s McCafe Poetry Slam in 2010, 2012 and 2013. He won the title of Connecticut Grand Slam Champion in 2011 and 2012. He has been a member of Verbal Slap since 2011 and has competed with them at the national competition for the last three years. This year, 2014 he is the Verbal Slap Slam Master in training. His enthusiasm is refreshing and contagious.

Croilot Carlos Adames | Writing Coach

Croilot (Kwalo) is a Haitian/Dominican native, and current resident of Brooklyn, NY but Connecticut will not turn him loose. He has been the feature poet for performances at UConn, Yale, Rutgers, Sacred Heart and various institutions and venues in Connecticut and New York. Croilot has shared the stage with legendary artists Amiri Baraka, and Ngoma, and contemporary poets Jamal St. John, Taalam Acey, Carlos Andres Gomez and many others. He is a proud founding member of Verbal Slap. He has led the team to national competition in 2011, 2012 and 2013. With multiple Grand Slam Champion titles under his belt, including the Nuyorican Jazz Café 2005, Brooklyn, NY 2005, and the Quinnipiac Annual Slam, he is the logical choice for a writing coach. With his leadership, filler words will be tossed in the garbage and metaphors will be concrete!

Darlene “Peaches” Brandon | Performance Coach

She is affectionately known as Peaches and one of the long-standing hosts of The Love Jones Experience at The Russell in Hartford. This Monday night, open-microphone, event is a haven and mandatory pit stop for every up and coming performing artist in the greater Hartford area. Darlene is a poet, an actor, a director, a playwright and founder of MaPeach Productions; a thriving theater company. She takes her work personally. She has an eye, ear and heart for the artistic community. Do not let her sweet smile or stage name fool you. She is serious about the craft of spoken word and pulls no punches when it is time to hit the stage. Her expectations are high. She is bringing her wit, insight and dedication to Verbal Slap. This will ensure every performance will be bigger, memorable and correct.

Tracy “Mind Evolution” Caldwell | Freshman

It was Tracy, otherwise known as M.E., who demanded there not be a separate competition for men and women looking for a spot on Verbal Slap. She is Hartford, Connecticut’s slam champion. Tracy is a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend and she is a powerful voice in her community. She is well known for being unapologetically passionate and opinionated and having no use for a microphone. M.E. is an actor, published poet and playwright. Her play The Thick Chronicles has been a movement in the Northeast. She is an advocate for expanding antiquated and narrow ideals of beauty. She has had the opportunity to record her poetry and travel the United States with her magnificent metaphors. She is a brilliant addition to the team.

Jerome Geyer | Freshmen

Jerome “Thunder Clap” Geyer is a Southern Connecticut native. He is a poet’s poet because he always shows up armed with a powerful pen and matching applause. Since 2005 he has been a recognized spoken word artist in his community. He has been a featured performer all over New England and looks forward to lending his gift to the rest of the world. He uses personal experience and societal woes to ask questions in rhyme and verse. His experience as an improvisational actor allows for dexterity in his performance and commands audiences every time he hits the stage. His interest in poetry was born out of a desire to inspire young people. He is a worthy opponent in competition and is sharpening his skills in preparation for hitting the West Coast this summer. This is Jerome’s first year as member of the team.

Lynnette Johnson | Freshman

Lynnette is a resident of Western Massachusetts lending her talents to Connecticut to compete nationally. She is a published writer and accomplished performer. Lynnette is an educator, poet, model, actor, and dancer. She incorporates humor and charm to command a room. She inherited those skills from her mother who never goes unnoticed. Lynnette has had the opportunity to share her poetry in multiple cities and various venues in the United States. She speaks of God, love, relationships, solidarity and challenges audiences to consider a shift in their outlook every time she hits the stage. She has been a performing artist for over a decade. She is looking forward to being a reliable weapon in her team’s arsenal and making a name for herself in this male-dominated sport of slamming. They ain’t ready…

Michael “Chief” Peterson | Returning Champion

Chief is a poet, actor and playwright. He has married social consciousness with poetic verses, and uses personal experience to turn art into action. Chief”s dedication to his family and commitment to inspiring youth is evident in his work and in his art. His one-man-show has been nominated for multiple awards. His talents have brought him all over the world. He has featured his poetry in Finland and performed in London, England during the 2012 Olympics. Chief has been the opening act for Brian McKnight, Musiq Soulchild, and Genuine during the Love, Heart and Soul Tour. He is a two-time Nuyorican Poet’s Café Grand Slam semi-finalist, two-time Enchanted Garden Slam Champion, and two-time Saint Joseph’s college “Love Jones” Champion. He is the reigning Connecticut Grand Slam Spoken Word Champion for 2013 and 2014. Michael “Chief” Peterson is a returning member of Verbal Slap and the poet to beat.


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