From Behind the Microphone: TwistNWordz
For over a decade Leroy Geotzendanner, III poetically known as TwistNWordz, has been a fixture in the Washington, DC poetry community. I was introduced to Tre (the name he uses in real life) at a backyard barbeque in 2007. He was the shy guy sitting off to the side, I had no idea he was a performing poet. Several months would pass before I discovered how his personality changes when he takes the stage; he just comes alive! With topics ranging from current events to love and lust he is always engaging and in command of the audience’s attention.
He has been an inspiration to several artists including poet and host E-Baby, who says:
E-baby and Twist at Busboys and Poets, Hyattville, MD
“He’s an ambassador to poetry in the DMV, with his endless hard work to keep poetry breathing in the lungs of poets and fans of poetry. I first heard him on the radio of WPGC, heating up the ink that flowed through my veins when I was a child.”
And me? Twist encouraged me to start writing and took me to Organic Soul Tuesdays at Eden’s Lounge in Baltimore in 2007, the first open mic event I ever attended. He has been in my corner ever since, whether I saw him or not.
Supportive is a running theme when anyone speaks of Twist. Besides original poems, his Facebook newsfeed is always peppered with information about shows and workshops. He has a passion for poetry that comes across in every conversation.
With MJG Speaks, he is the host of Spoken World Tuesdays, a venue that has presented several artists with their first opportunity to feature. Their mutual affection for each other is almost infectious. She says:
Twist with MJG
Since our paths have crossed he has been in my ear in at all times, and he listens with intense interest in my life in and outside of the world of poetry. He is enthusiastic and kind, with a keen perspective on writing and poetry. He is my biggest fan, always at every spotlight or feature, encouraging me to continue to stay true in moments when I doubt my artistry, direction and purpose. He is like a father in ways, studying me and providing constructive criticism and love. He can tell the subtle differences most people can’t. Like a brother and sister, we have disagreeing philosophies and fight at times, but we stand up for each other. He is indeed my man but not my man. He is encouraging, loving, gentle and kind, appreciative of my art, joyful in my growth, and confident in my ability as a host. He is indeed a wonderful man!
Stepping from Behind the Microphone: TwistNWordz:
Sherri: In your bio you state you started writing at a young age. Tell us more about what brought you to writing poetry.
Twist: I started writing in 9th grade when a young lady sent me a poem because she liked me. So I sent her one back, more like a revise version of “Roses are Red.” Believe it or not, my favorite subject is, and always will be, English/Literature. I used to write and perform raps in high school. My Dad didn’t approve of that and preferred poetry over writing rap rhymes.
Sherri: Tell the story of your first experience performing.
Twist: In 2000, I was dared—yes, dared—to perform one of my poems at the “For Sistas Only” event at the Washington Convention Center. Out of 20 plus performers, I was one of three men on the list. I was nervous and it showed, with my hands shaking the papers I was holding. The poetess that went before me did a “Men aint’ issh” poem. I had to change the piece I was doing and read a personal poem I wrote to an ex apologizing for breaking her heart. It was a great experience. It landed me a season on a Thursday night radio talk show, “LOVE TALK AND SLOW JAMS” on WPGC 95.5, hosted by Justin Love and Todd B.
Sherri: Your stage name is TwistNWordz. Why did you choose that name? What do you want the audience to know about you when they hear it?
Twist: I chose this name because I was told I can change the content of conversation to anything but the topic at hand, title my work and give it a different meaning and ending. I want my audience to know I am about words and poetry, but sometimes my poems come with a “twist” in them.
Sherri: Who is your favorite writer?
Twist: Edgar Allen Poe. I always love deep, dark writing with suspense in it. I want to be able to write and be remembered like Langston Hughes.
Sherri: You have one hour to have a conversation with anyone in history. Who will you choose, and why?
Twist: Dr. Martin Luther King. I want to know what he would think of the world of today after his death. Was it worth dying for?
Sherri: Your perfect concert: who are three acts, living or dead, you would like to see perform?
Twist: Gil Scott Heron, Nikki Giovanni, the Last Poets—I need this movement!
Sherri: Tells us something about yourself that most people don’t know.
Twist: I really hate reading my work after I write it. I hate performing at the level I’m performing at. I’m a critical writer.
Sherri: Do you have another creative outlet? If not, what is something you have always wanted to learn?
Twist: NO, but I would like to learn how to play the guitar, paint and photography
Sherri: [Borrowed from Inside the Actor’s Studio] if heaven exists, what do you want to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Twist: You did well; that’s why you are here.
TwistNWordz has two upcoming features:
Saturday, December 13, 2014: Heard Through the Grapevine: Autumn Harvest, at the Soulful Emergence Art Gallery 2107 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD. Regular admission $10.00, VIP admission $20.00
Saturday December 27, 2014: The After-Holiday Wine Down, at The Winery at Olney Fair Hill Plaza, 18127 Town Center Dr, Olney, MD 20832: Admission $25.00.
To read his poetry, check out his blog Words from the Soul
For booking, contact him via Facebook
If you wish to ask TwistNWordz a question feel free to leave a comment.
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