Chattanooga's first interactive poetry organization where poets
rhyme - give a voice to their words and chat - explain the hidden symbolism within their poetry.

We would like to invite you to c
ome out and participate with
every Friday at 6:00pm at Glenwood Recreation Center.


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.

This 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 that did!

Vincent Phipps
Rhyme N Chatt Creator

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