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David Jordan is inspired by such great writers as Langston Hughes.

Reading, Writing and Rhyme

Ode to young lady lands third place finish

David Jordan is a work-study student assigned to the Office of Student Affairs. Friendly and agreeable, David is well liked by his co-workers. So when he revealed a secret passion, they were all willing to help.

Since seventh grade, David has been writing poetry.

He did not grow up on nursery rhymes, but could recite entire rap songs since age seven. He loved the way hip-hop artists used words, rhythm and beat. He sometimes defined his poetry as "rap," but it had all the elements of poetry -- rhyme, meter, rhythm and pace.

He called his first rap effort "Hard Times," and his friends' encouragement kept him writing. That year he performed a poem called "I Am" in front of an audience.

David was hooked. At 15, like many young bards through the ages, David drew inspiration for what he refers to as his "first real poem" from a girl. In fact, he called her and the poem by the same name -- "girl of my dreams". She liked his recitation.

As a college sophomore, David found a new outlet for his writing. He wanted to enter the APC Poetry Slam, and he needed advice. What clothes or hair style would look best? Should he add a sound track to his words? Amateur stylists and fashion mavens in the Office of Student Affairs offered words of wisdom, but David was on his own for material.

"The piece I chose to perform was 'The Girl of My Dreams Part II,'" David said. The passage of time has not dimmed David's admiration and affection for her, but things have changed -- although she is also a student at UMKC, she is in a new relationship. David decided against telling her about his performance to keep it from being -- as he said -- "really awkward."

David was magnanimous in his praise for the winning poet...and the second place finisher.

"There were seven poets in the contest and I got third place. I practiced like I was going to get first; but in the end, I'm grateful for the outcome. I can get better and perfect my craft. I do not have any formal training, but I plan to take some creative writing and composition classes here in the future."

With good friend Jason Summers, David plans to start a UMKC poetry club by the fall of 2009. David envisions holding weekly sessions in the cafeteria at lunch time.

"People can just stand up and express themselves. This would draw a nice crowd and turn the café into a lively spot for poets and people who just want to listen," said David. "This would be very good for UMKC's campus life. Also, every year we would have one huge event showing off UMKC talent and local talent."

Other club activities might center on the study of past writers.

"I really admire Langston Hughes. I was inspired to write poetry by his work entitled 'I, Too, Sing America,'" David said.

David also serves others.

"Nothing brings more joy to my life than to know I made someone else's situation better. My poems talk about how I plan to help others achieve their dreams."

As a break from writing, David plays basketball. His love and passion for the sport were the inspiration for another early ode called "SWISH!!!" And he wants to serve others.

What next?

"I just want to keep writing. Not long ago, I submitted some poems to UMKC's Number One, a student literary magazine. They are in the process of deciding what styles of creative writing they want to publish next. Also I am currently seeking to perform my poetry at various events on campus and around Kansas City."

April is National Poetry Month.

Posted: April 28, 2009

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"Nothing brings more joy to my life than to know I made someone else's situation better. My poems talk about how I plan to help others achieve their dreams."

David Jordan
Sophomore