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Poets of the Month

WMNF supports and gives a platform to local artists around the Tampa Bay area. If you’re a poet who would like to be featured throughout our airwaves and website, we’d love to hear from you! You can apply HERE.

WMNF’s First Poet of the Month is Jamie Dawson!

Listen to “These My People” by Jamie Dawson below

Jamie Dawson is a professional performer and award-winning spoken word poet whose topics and research range from black life and multiculturalism to women’s rights and healing. Jamie was born and raised in Tampa, FL and developed her writing and performance skills with Heard Em Say Youth Arts Collective. She made history by placing in the Hillsborough County District Poetry Jam three consecutive times, and qualified four times for the internationally competing Tampa youth poetry slam team. Jamie was active in the Tampa youth arts scene up until her matriculation to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she joined the 9th Cohort of the First Wave Hip Hop and Urban Arts Learning Community. Jamie graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BA in Psychology and Afro-American Studies with an emphasis in the arts. In her eight years as a writer and performance artist, Jamie has completed dozens of collaborative and interdisciplinary projects from music to dance and identity exploration. The combination of the pillars of art, academics, and activism guide Jamie’s work, and are present in her two solo shows Goddess At Your Feet directed by Dana Pellebon and Feast of Flowers directed by Karl Iglesias. Jamie has also been a workshop facilitator and teaching artist focusing on themes such as writing as healing, storytelling as community building, and diversity and inclusion as responsible art activism.

Alice Saunders and D-Rod of WMNF’s Poetry Is (Sundays @ 8pm) were able to talk to Jamie about what lead her to become a spoken word poet, as well as hearing her perspective is as an artist of Tampa Bay. Here is their conversation:

  1. How did you get your start in writing and Poetry?

    I remember learning about SHMOP (Similie, Hyperbole, Metaphor, Onomatopoeia and Personification) with my 2nd grade teacher Mrs. Meyers. I was elated to know that the things that I loved and found fun had names for them. Then in 5th grade I remember reading my first poem I was ever really proud of with my class. It was about the color gold and had the line “golden arches and victory marches, a memory that lasts forever cause you and me are together.” 

    But, I really got my start with both writing and performing poetry, the art of spoken word, with the District Poetry Jams for middle school and high school. Then I strengthened my voice, found my community and honed my craft with Heard Em Say Youth Arts Collective in Tampa, founded by Walter “Wally B” Jennings as the only youth poetry space in the Tampa Bay Area.

  2. Have the past two years impacted your writing in any way?

    Going virtual forced my work to expand to different audiences. In the past two years I have rediscovered, and in some instances, been introduced to what it is that makes me and my work magical. I would say that my writing now is more unapologetically me and takes risks. I thank my community and peers for constantly giving me spaces in which to grow. 

  3. Please tell us about your latest album / project.

    My latest album is called “It’s Hot Outside (Live from Tampa, FL).” The cover features the brick roads and graffiti of downtown while a sun-drenched me poses in a signature design by local designer Elijah Lee Products. The live set which originally premiered at a showcase at Drip Ybor is a celebration, a love song, and an honoring for all things Tampa, arts, and community (read: family). These are all of the essentials that raised me, and I’m so elated to be home creating again.

    You can listen to my album anywhere you find and listen to your music by searching Jamie Dawson It’s Hot Outside.

  4. Where can people find you online?

    I love connecting with those interested in my art, and I love providing writing prompts and workshops that can inspire anyone – writers, visual artists, business owners, moms, you name it! 

    Find me at dawsontheartist.com/connect

    My name is Jamie Dawson, and I’m Dawson the Artist on all platforms. 

  5. How does it feel to be our first 88.5 WMNF Tampa Poet of the Month?

    I didn’t know my submissions would open the door to grant me this honor. I was hoping to share my art and my love with other people born and raised in Tampa, and to give a passionate introduction to my city to those just now getting acquainted. I’m happy for what this means for spoken word and other aspiring local artists. We are being heard, seen and recognized and for that I’m grateful!

Want to be WMNF’s next Poet of the Month? Apply HERE!