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Manhattanville Senior Opens For Prominent Spoken Word Artist

A Manhattanville College senior was awarded the opportunity to open for a prominent spoken word poet.
A Manhattanville College senior was awarded the opportunity to open for a prominent spoken word poet. Photo Credit: webexhibits.org

PURCHASE, N.Y. -- Manhattanville College senior Steven Willis opened for prominent spoken word poet Jasmine Mans at the Apache Café in Atlanta, Ga.

Willis and seven other poets woke up Friday, Sept. 19, to find that after reviewing many submissions Mans chose them to be her opening acts for the event that took place the next night.  “I honestly didn’t think I had a chance of being chosen," said Willis. "The show was in Atlanta, and of course I live here in Purchase. I was sure she was going to pick someone local to Atlanta, who would without a doubt be in attendance, but I thought it was worth the try." To his surprise, he was chosen and consequently spent most of Friday morning scrambling to find  transportation and accommodations.  “I took a bus 14 hours to Atlanta. The show was the very same day I arrived! I was lucky enough to have family in the area willing to allow me to stay with them on such short notice,” said Willis.

“This was an opportunity I wouldn’t think about missing for the world, I was just really lucky to have family and friends willing to help me make the impossible happen.”

Mans, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison, was chosen by Glamour magazine as one of the “Top 10 Most Influential Women in College in 2012.”

Willis who has been doing spoken word since he was 15, started performing in Chicago, his hometown, at Louder Than a Bomb, which to date is the largest team poetry festival in the world. His long term goal is to make a poetry slam team based in New York, and compete at the National Poetry Slam in 2015.

Willis is currently working on a chapbook of his spoken word poems, and plans to have it released in 2015.

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