Commentary Strange Fruit

If you think of poetry slams as sedate affairs where people sip wine and read monotonously from notebooks, you might want to go visit one.

Louisville’s vibrant poetry slam scene is a diverse group of poets reciting works that often tackle deeply personal topics and encourage audience reaction and participation.

But as encouraging as these spaces are of free expression, Louisville poet Rheonna Thornton noticed they didn’t always feel welcoming to women poets.

“And when they did go up,” she said, “you’d hear, ‘another angry black woman piece.'”

So Thornton started her own poetry slam — for women: “Lipstick Wars.”

Thornton joins us this week to talk about how she made that happen, and to look ahead at her next project, “Lip Gloss Diaries,” a poetry slam for girls ages 15-18.

She also sits in for our Juicy Fruit segment, where this week, we keep the Women’s History Month love going by celebrating 10th grader Akilah Johnson. Her Google Doodle, which honors her African-American heritage, was selected from 100,000 submissions for the Doodle 4 Google competition for young artists.

Laura produces Recut, Curious Louisville, and other audio news stories and podcasts for WFPL.