DSU's Angelo Geter 'Elevates the Community' Through Spoken Word
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DSU's Angelo Geter 'Elevates the Community' Through Spoken Word

January 29, 2020

HIGHLIGHTS

  • As Rock Hill's official poet laureate, Geter's work includes performing at special events, promoting literacy, civic engagement and community outreach. 
  • His favorite piece he's ever written is called "Alive." 

ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – The city of Rock Hill recently named Winthrop University’s very own Angelo Geter ’08 as its official poet laureate. (Watch one of his performances here.)

As one of his first actions with his new honor, Geter performed his spoken word piece, “And Still,” at Rock Hill’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast on Jan. 20, prompting applause and echoes of “Yes!” from a thoughtful crowd. “And Still” talks about how society has created labels for people, and while the world may try to pull people apart, we all have more in common than we realize. 

“[Being named poet laureate] is a huge honor,” said Geter, director of Winthrop’s campus programming. “It’s actually one of my career goals. But I always thought if I was named a poet laureate, I’d be older, so to achieve it now…is amazing.” 

His work as poet laureate includes performing at special events, promoting literacy, civic engagement and community outreach. He plans to host workshops and events for kids and adults. 

Geter carries his craft into the greater Rock Hill community, where he reads and performs at soup kitchens, homeless shelters and local schools. 

“I want to really elevate the community and go where people are,” he said. 

‘A whole new way to express myself’ 

Geter first discovered poetry in sixth grade. His English teacher introduced the unit and asked students to write their feelings. His first poem was “My Butterfly,” a “sappy poem about flowers and trees.” 

“It was like a whole new world opened up for me, a whole new way to express myself,” Geter recalled. “It was so freeing.” 

Geter’s love of poetry evolved after he listened to spoken word artist Kirk Nugent perform at Winthrop and Sekou the Misfit. Inspired, he wrote his first spoken word piece, “Standing Ovation,” a call to stand up for what you believe in and advocate for those who can’t. He performed at Winthrop and represented the university at a regional college spoken word competition. While he didn’t win, he was amazed to see how spoken word has created such a large arts community.  

The next year, he won first place. 

Geter has continued to own and hone his craft over the years via open mics and performances, and has competed in poetry slam competitions as a member of the Slam Charlotte and Respect Da Mic poetry teams. His pieces usually follow the theme of “redefining what masculinity is, specifically black masculinity.” 

“Even if I’m doing a love poem from my perspective…I’m refining how men talk about these things,” he said. “I’m viewing it through the lens of what it is to be a black man.” 

Each piece can take anywhere from a year to 10 minutes to write. 

“It depends on how much it’s on me to write it,” he said. “I want to make sure I’m getting it right.” 

Geter sadly lost his wife, Jasmine, a few years ago due to an illness. His love for Jasmine has greatly affected his work, and she remains his muse. In fact, Geter’s first one-man show, “From Tragedy to Triumph,” showcases his grief process through spoken word. A piece from that show, “Alive,” is actually his favorite one. He hopes to perform it more in the future. 

“I do get nervous [before shows],” Geter said. “I use the nerves and turn it into energy. If you don’t get nervous, then something’s wrong. Nerves show you care about what you’re putting out there.” 

UPCOMING PERFORMANCES

Wednesday, Feb. 5, 6 p.m.: York County Library’s Black History Program

Geter will be one of three performers at this special event. 

Saturday, Feb. 15, 2 p.m.: Poetry in Motion

Ride along with Geter on My Ride Rock Hill’s 30-minute bus loop, followed by a trip to the York County library for more activities. 

Thursday, Feb. 20, 6 p.m.: City of Rock Hill Black History Program, City Hall

For more information, contact Nicole Chisari, communications coordinator, at 803/323-2236 or chisarin@winthrop.edu.

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Last Updated: 2/18/20