By: Courtney Greve
(Winner of the 1996-97 Department of Journalism’s Brody Creative Feature Article Writing Award)
Writing this piece taught me the importance of observation. Scribble down every detail, no matter how silly or small; you never know what will be crucial to the narrative later. Since the subject was a poet, it was crucial to capture not only his passion, but the rhythmic pace of his art. Finally, I learned to list questions to ask the subject later — a lesson that stuck with me.
– Courtney Greve
People listen when he speaks. They might not always agree with him, but they listen. A platform to spread the good Word can be found in any room. At least that’s what 19-year-old Kynshasa Ward believes as he prepares to take center stage at The Red Herring’s Thursday night open mic, where the odd assortment of people in the crowd tend to be more accepting of his churchy topics than your average Joe’s. From his table for one in the back of the room, the University of Illinois sophomore can see everybody as they weave between cliques, lighting clove cigarettes and sipping cappuccino. Body-pierced freaks and long-haired neo-hippies dominate the scene.
Kynshasa Ward knows he doesn’t really fit in with this rag-tag gang and that he will be one of the only people performing poetry. He doesn’t think it matters. He waits more than an hour for his chance to speak and during this time he wonders if God will speak through him tonight and if people will hear His message.