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Alyesha Wise: Poetry and Performance

Posted April 17th, 2013
“Poetry started off as the feeling I got when I screamed in the pillow.”
Alyesha Wise. Photo: SP Photography.

Alyesha Wise. Photo: SP Photography.

On May 13 and 14, FringeArts presents our second annual Jumpstart, a showcase designed to identify new and emerging talent in the field of live performance. 2013 will feature six artists/companies performing short works, and we here at FringeArts Blog thought we’d catch up with them, starting with poet and storyteller Ms. Wise (mswisedecision.com), who will be performing her work A Denzel Theory.

Ms. Wise is Alyesha Wise, a poet and teaching artist from Camden, NJ, who has performed throughout the country. Currently residing in Philadelphia, she is the founder of Love, Us, which serves to spread universal and self-love through the arts. Alyesha is a two-time Women of the World Poetry Slam finalist, placing 5th in the world in 2010. Recently she was interviewed by film director Ron Howard who called her work “very powerful.” (Hey Ron, come to the show! You can get tickets here!)

FringeArts: Why is your show title A Denzel Theory?

 Alyesha Wise: A Denzel Theory is named after my kid brother, Denzel. Growing up in my hometown didn’t necessarily pave an easy road to success. Denzel made it look quite the opposite, remaining focused, engaging in sports and academics, then getting a full scholarship to college. This piece is about how our old city eventually swayed him in the opposite direction. This piece is about how this happens to many youth in environments like ours. This poem is a cry. And it’s a theory. Not sure when it came to me; but it’s one of the fastest poems I’ve ever written.

FringeArts: Where did you grow up?

Alyesha Wise: I grew up in Camden, New Jersey. It was a broken community. But it was community. I remember playing kickball and hide-n-go-seek. I remember growing up too fast. It made me the super person I am today.

FringeArts: How did you go about creating this work?

Alyesha Wise: It presented itself as a theory to me. I thought about all of the things I knew about my younger brothers, my older brother, the peers I grew up with, my students. I thought about how I changed my life around and how some don’t or never had to do so. I wanted the poem to have a hip hop feel without lacking “the poem.” And I wanted to finish saying to myself, Now this theory here makes perfect sense.

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