Local poet sees city's "Renaissance" as opportunity to come together
Updated: Jul 13
Many may hear the word "poetry" and think of greats like Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes-- but they wouldn't picture a man in a t-shirt and ponytail standing on the corners of Ybor City.
“People do not expect that poetry can be entertaining, that it could be powerful, and it could be as impactful as it is until they hear me speak it,” Dennis Amadeus says confidently with a smile.
Dennis Amadeus has been an important influence in the artistic community for his dedication to poetry, spoken word, and using his art to help the youth. Poetry is like a journal for him. He uses this form of artistry in combination with spoken word to express his own experiences and beliefs. He’s been using his talents to influence the youth and teach them that poetry is not only about writing, but it can also be therapeutic as well.
“Spoken word creates this performance and entertainment element. It allows your voice inflection and its more monologue and acting kind of focus to help the delivery of words,” said Amadeus. In combination with written poetry, spoken word is supposed to be read out loud and in front of an audience. This teaches a person how to build self-confidence, self-awareness, and self-love.
Within the poetry community, Amadeus and other poets have discussed the importance of social injustice, politics, and personal experience that stimulates conversation and inspiration amongst each other. He is a prime example of using his voice to connect with others. “When people see me being authentic and see my real-life matches that authenticity, they feel more comfortable sharing and being open because even if it is something they don’t like, they know that it is not a façade,” said Amadeus proudly.
Tampa is known to be one of the most influential cities within the poetry community. He explains how people from other cities are amazed at how supportive Tampa poets are at competitions and poetry slams. This is because they believe in working together both onstage and offstage. “The slam for us is a way to sharpen our swords for the message we have to deliver for the world,” said Amadeus.
Tampa poets have a strong connection with the youth because they stay involved. Every year six to seven poets, including Amadeus, visit every school in the city for poetry workshops and slams. “We got four kids with scholarships that went free ride to the University of Wisconsin. The young poets who grew up in our poetry scene are now more confident to step up and take over their own shows. They bring a whole new generation of audience their age of youth,” Amadeus explained.
These workshops are meant to help children recognize that their experiences are real, and they can use their voice to share it. For people who want to be a part of the poetry community, Amadeus stated that a person should figure out what type of poetry they are into and to attend events more than once. A person will have to be open-minded, social, and curious during the journey to finding the best place that fits him or her.
“Get involved with our art scene. There is a beautiful, beautiful renaissance happening and when this changing of the universal guard is over, Tampa will be a beautiful hub of artistry, I promise you,” Amadeus said.
He believes that it is our time to use poetry and spoken word as weapons to speak up and make a change for the world to see.
To stay connected within the poetry community, here are some helpful resources: