Ep. 109: Suzi Q. Smith – Slam Poet, Artist, Activist

Suzi Q. Smith is a slam poet, an artist, an activist, the Executive Director of Poetry Slam, Inc., and yet another escapee from the corporate world. And this episode is once again loaded with fascinating insights from across Suzi’s life, her work, her achievement of her childhood dream of becoming “a superstar poet,” her former career, and a ton more.

Suzi is good enough to indulge me in a little bit of Poetry Slam 101. She explains how a competition works, what you can expect to see and hear at one, the history of poetry slams, and how the judging works. It’s an interesting world, and one in which I was not terribly familiar. It’s not surprising Suzi is such a great ambassador for this art form considering her role as executive director.

We spend the bulk of this episode talking about the poetry world, which is as it should be. We cover everything from how much one rehearses a piece (since we both work in coaching in this world, it was fun to geek out over the minutia of coaching techniques and rehearsals), to Suzi’s life on the road as a traveling act, to how she brought the National Poetry Slam to Denver, to how working with students will humble you and help ground your art. This is all fantastic.

About 2/3 of the way through the episode, we go way back into Suzi’s history as an account executive for Shamrock Foods and talk about the unbelievably stressful world of selling large quantities of food to restaurants. And this part of the episode is killer because I knew nothing about this world either. Suzi goes into detail about the incredible demands of this horrifically cutthroat job, recounts a manager’s insanely idiotic motivational tactic, and discusses my favorite topic on this show: finally making the leap.

Needless to say, I’m over the moon with this episode. It’s fantastically informative, endlessly interesting, and thoroughly entertaining. Suzi Q. Smith is someone I could easily listen to all day, and it was a thrill to feature her and her work on the show.

For more info about the National Poetry Slam, click here.

To see more from Suzi Q. Smith, check out her Facebook page.

This episode is available on iTunes, Stitcher, or the Jon of All Trades homepage.

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