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Local poets, speakers to be featured at Whitaker BBT
‘Behold, Here Cometh the Dreamer’ set for Jan. 25
Mical Whitaker, curator of the “Behold, Here Cometh the Dreamer” event, is shown in the Whitaker Black Box Theater, named for him. In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Whitaker will present once again “Behold: Here Cometh the Dreamer.” The slain civil rights leader would have been 92 on Friday. - photo by Scott Bryant

It’s the people who beat to a different drum that drive the rhythm of our universe. Like the wordsmiths who speak a language that not everyone understands.  Plato said that poets utter great and wise things which they do not themselves understand.  They just put pen to paper and bleed in blots of ink.  Those who were born without the spark struggle to see why anyone would call themselves a poet, because their work fuses profound uncertainty with absolute truth.  This creates a unique space that many people are uncomfortable in. 

Although there are some who might oppose its significance, it is hard to imagine a space where poetry doesn’t exist.  Where would we be without the Maya Angelous and Walt Whitmans of the world?  How would the chaos of life be described with such eloquence if not done so through sonnets and free verses?  We would surely endure a grim reality if we did not have these word connoisseurs to filter the essence of the misunderstood soul.

That is why it is so important to shine a light on this creative energy and use it as a guide to recognize the culture around us.   On Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m., the Whitaker Black Box Theater will host an evening of African-American poetry entitled, “Behold, Here Cometh the Dreamer.”  In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the event will celebrate the various voices of young African-Americans from all over the region.  Recitations will include works from classic poets like Langston Hughes and Paul Lawrence Dunbar, among others.

Mical Whitaker, Statesboro native and curator of the event, says the idea of the evening is very much tied into the theater itself. 

“The Black Box is a little-known treasure in Statesboro,” he said. 

A quaint space of about 78 seats, it complements the personal styles and hearty narratives that will be trending throughout the night.  

The beginning of the evening will include a selection of younger speakers who will have the freedom to speak on whatever they want, as long as it pertains to the main theme of the African-American life.  That could mean anything from reciting Jill Scott’s poetry to presenting something they have written themselves.  After an intermission, the guest speaker will take the stage to finish out the evening.  While he is still in the process of selecting who that guest speaker will be, Whitaker always aims to find someone who is both relevant and inspirational.

 “[The speakers] really come from all over because of Georgia Southern.  Living in a university town gives us access to a young and diverse group of African-American poets.  We are just richly blessed by living in an area where there are so many people from so many places,” he said.  Some of those places (aside from the Southeast) include The Islands, as well as Africa.

No doubt, the evening will be filled with plenty of zest and spice from all over the globe — a melting pot of African-American culture being brewed in the Black Box for Statesboro to enjoy.  For those who want a taste of the creativity, tickets are $12, and students get in for $8.

If you listen closely, the messages in poetry have a way of revealing all the raw and shocking revelations of the human experience.  The most heartfelt stories in history are told by means of rhyme schemes and shrewd analogies.  And if we have any hope for the future, then we must look to poetry to pave the way.  In it lies the visionaries who are bold enough to dream of a better tomorrow.