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Dayton poet Kat King’s climb

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Every now and then, you meet or come across someone who captures your attention. They’re creating something. They’re saying something. Maybe they aren’t where they want to be with what they are doing. But, they are getting there. And, you feel compelled to follow that journey. Something special in them makes you want to watch their potential ascension. Local poet Kat King is one of those people. Kat’s attempting to climb her way to success. She has a good chance of reaching it.

Now, who is Kat King? King is a Dayton area poet. Mainly a spoken word poet who also performs free verse poetry. She’s relatively new, but she’s been making inroads into the Miami Valley scene. You can check out her work on her Facebook page. When asked directly about who she is, she answers, “I'm 27 and I grew up in Xenia, OH. But I didn't feel at home until I made the move to Dayton in June 2021. Since moving, I have been blessed endlessly with people and opportunities that have allowed space for myself and my art.”

As far as her interest in poetry, King revealed, “I have loved writing ever since I was younger. I wanted to be a songwriter when I grew up. I was always interested in poetry, but I thought it always had to follow the formats of the poetry we were taught in school. I had no idea free verse existed or that there was a community of spoken word poets.”

You’re probably asking why we should care about Kat? It’s not like she’s the only spoken word poet in this region. Nor the only one with talent. Well, there’s an urgency to her art. When you watch her performance videos, there’s a visible energy mixed with real vulnerability that’s very noticeable. Maybe because King hasn’t been at this artist thing that long. King shared, “I wrote my first spoken word poem after high school after seeing a video on Facebook of a poet. But I had no idea this type of poetry had a name.. I just knew I liked it. When I discovered "spoken word" I thought it was cool but again, was completely unaware of the Dayton poetry scene. In 2019, I found my first open mic at Third Perk Coffeehouse and Wine Bar at their old location. From there, I networked, even throughout the pandemic. But I didn't start going hard at my poetry until this year.”

Also, the topics that Kat writes about are potentially major ones, as she explained, “I write various topics ranging from female empowerment, to my personal story, to relationships and even some erotic pieces.”

King knows that she’s on the come-up, and she knows that she can’t stop. Not now. When asked about her current work, she said, “Aside from writing poems to build my first chapbook of poems, I am trying to get on every stage I can. I recognize that I'm new at writing and performing so every stage is a challenge to me... learning to work the crowd, learning to 'rewind' when an audience member shouts it out, learning to slow down, learning to think out of the box. I wouldn't say there's any specific project that I'm working on other than myself at this point. Being a spoken word poet has really allowed me to elevate personally in ways I didn't think was possible. So every day is another day on the neverending project of me both on and off stage.”

In talking with King, she also revealed that she has other creative pursuits besides poetry. “I've always loved theater. I recently was accepted into a program called 24 Hour Theater up in Canton, OH, where I had the honor of being a playwright. The concept is, a play is cast, written, directed and performed within 24h hours. I can honestly say this was one of the coolest experiences I have ever been a part of. It was incredibly challenging but was creatively fueling. We wrote a 10 minute play that night but I walked away with a few poems I wrote during the weekend as well. My next creative project is that I'll be stepping on the set of a film in October. This will be a whole new world for me but I'm eager to learn. I would also love to try to get back into songwriting,” she said.

I have a line in my poem Busy and Beautiful that states "I'm achieving dreams I didn't even know I had." That line is the statement of my life right now.

So, what does King hope to ultimately accomplish as a poet? In her words, "I have a line in my poem Busy and Beautiful that states 'I'm achieving dreams I didn't even know I had.' That line is the statement of my life right now, because to be honest, I didn't think my poetry was going to make it this far. Of course I wanted to be competing at slams and booking gigs but I didn't think I had what it took. I've only been pursuing my poetry seriously since February of this year. But it didn't really hit me that I was kind of good until June. But it wasn't until recently that I realized other people also thought I was good (laughter). With my poetry I like to make people feel/think. I like giving performances where people walk away thinking 'She said some real s—- back there.' So that's my main focus right now… delivering performances that move people. If I can make just one person feel one line in a poem... I've done what I came to do."

You don’t know her. You’ve never heard of her. But, maybe you should consider following her. Because her steps will be exciting…and her destination could be spectacular.

Greg Simms Jr. is a veteran content creator and cultural expert who's worked for numerous digital publications over the years. He's a resident of Greene County, but he's always aware of social-cultural events happening all over the Miami Valley. To contact Greg, email him at: grgsmmsjr@gmail.com