first interactive poetry organization where
- give a voice to their words and chat - explain
the hidden symbolism within their poetry.
We would like to invite you to come
out and participate with
RHYME N CHATT
every Friday at 6:00pm at Glenwood Recreation
An artist's inspiration is usually
paralleled by an idea. This is the origin of an organization that had
an inspirational idea so strong it became wonderfully contagious!
A Chattanooga poet enjoyed 2 things: sharing poetry and talking with
people. He believed people misunderstood poetry because some of it was
too profound with too many interpretations, which left several poems
dismissed as just words thrown together with ambiguous meanings. To
fulfill his need for "understanding" a poet's message, he
would talk with the poet after they read and asked; "What was your
meaning behind that poem?"
Surprisingly the answers weren't much different from his interpretations,
but sometimes he was way off. He thought others would appreciate hearing
the poems genuine interpretation come directly from the poet. Knowing
a poem's true meaning is only achieved when you can hear it from the
poet directly. He wanted an environment where poetry was appreciated
by the listener, so he created the opportunity for Rhyme N Chatt to
be born. The Rhyme embodies the poetic atmosphere (of course not all
poetry has to rhyme) and the Chatt constitutes the discussions following
a reading, and the city's origin of Chattanooga.
idea was proposed to Barbara Readnower, Supervisor over Special Projects
at Chattanooga Parks, Recreation, Arts, and Culture Department. Before
committing long-term, she and the City of Chattanooga agreed to sponsor
this inaugural organization on a temporary basis to ensure there was
an interest. The first official Rhyme N Chatt session was October 15,
1999. Only five people were present (this included two people who were
plucked into our session from their frisbee game). Over the next couple
months, attendance was not much better. Sometimes hours of planning
resulted in volumes of poetry and no one to read to.
Regardless of your love of poetry, it is challenging to remain enthusiastic
while staring at empty seats where you expected excited participants
to be. At times, the future of Rhyme N Chatt seemed doomed and it was
questioned if this was even a project worth investing further energy.
Fortunately the spirit of an idea is sometimes stronger than the mind
that conjured it. Rhyme N Chatt caught a break. A Rhyme N Chatt poet
appeared on a local radio station. The poems read peaked interest and
calls started arriving at the station. Information was given and at
the next Rhyme N Chatt session, for the first night time, the participant
total reached double digits (11 people, hey this was a lot to us then!).
As the word spread, Rhyme N Chatt began to circulate across the city
to local poets and to people who just wanted to get involved in something
fun, positive, and different! As more poets and participants came out,
the word spread and support increased.
With the help of Rhyme N Chatt forefather Dameian Helton and organizational
committee members, Finn Billie, Connie Hilt, Charlotte Franklin, James
and Kenya Moss, Jr. and Jesus' Santiago, Rhyme N Chatt has taken Chattanooga
by storm. Chattanooga Parks and Recreation are now Rhyme N Chatt's permanent
sponsors. Together they are hosting quarterly poetry showcases for the
Chattanooga community. Although this may seem like a fairy tale of overnight
success, it took a lot of hard work and persistence by several people
working together for a common cause -- the love of people and poetry.
Unfortunately not all dreams come true. This is the story of a dream
Rhyme N Chatt Creator