Milan Brewster, Contributing Writer
All eyes were on poet Frederick Eberhardt, also known as Breeze, as he stood on the dimly lit stage, performing with power in his words as he detailed his journey with false love and hopes that his son has a better experience with the emotion.
Eberhardt was among the performers at the Writer’s Den of Richmond’s monthly poetry slam competition on Thursday, where poets presented original pieces. The room expanded with the loud expressions and words that escaped each writer’s mouth.
Founder of the Writer’s Den and host of the event Roscoe Burnems said in addition to poetry slams and competing regionally and nationally, the group holds writing and performance workshops the first Saturday of every month.
“With poetry you get a little bit of everything, you never know what’s going to touch the stage,” Burnems said. “They can perform love poems, political pieces or very culturally inspired work, it just all depends on the poets. People come out to have fun and hear great poetry.”
The poetry slam had three judged rounds. Eleven poets participated in the first round; the top seven scorers moved on to the second. Then, the top four from the second round went on to the final round.
The top three winners of the night were Eberhardt, Quelimane Jones and Phuncansee. The winners will come back to compete in March for the grand slam competition, which will determine who will represent Richmond at the regional and national level.
Jones, who got second place, said she loves being around creative people and the inspiring environment of the poetry slam.
“I was being honest and having fun,” Jones said. “I tell my truth and come from a very authentic place and let the chips fall where they may.”
Jones spoke about past experiences with love, society and the power of black women.
Eberhardt, who won first place, said poets as a whole encompass many descriptors.
“We are ratchet. We are sophisticated. It is about tapping into those emotions,” Eberhardt said. “You are talking personally to that person through your poetry.”