“Stories that come to me in the middle of the night from folks I don’t know. Don’t have nothing to do with me except they know I know how to get a pray through and a story straight.”
Susan “Spit-Fire” Lively is a poet, spoken word artist, producer, photographer, educator, and activist from Belleville, IL. Co-organizer of “100,000 Poets & Musicians for Change – St. Louis” since its inception in 2011; Susan also produces the series’ “First Bloom” and “Women For Peace”, and co-produces the “Dia de los Muertos Fiesta”. In 2016 she became an Officer of Urb Arts’ Executive Board. In January of 2017 Susan produced the St. Louis leg of the international event “Poets & Musicians Against Trump” (with co-producer John Blair).
Lively’s been featured on “Literature For The Halibut”, “The Arts with Nancy Kranzberg”, the “Healthy Living Program” and PBS’ “Living St. Louis”. She has taught spoken word and creative writing at Confluence Academy, Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition, and for the Nine Network and St. Louis Fringe. Susan’s work has been published in “Static Movement”, “Postcard Shorts”, “Head To Hand”, “The East St. Louis Monitor”, “The PEN”, “Chance Operations”, “Drumvoices Revue 20th Anniversary Edition”, “SIUE News”, “Big Bridge“, “No Vacancy” and the social justice anthology “Crossing the Divide“.
“Black Privilege is having to have the same sense of humor as Jesus, remember how he smiled on the cross? Black Privilege is a joke, a myth, a punchline…”
i am broken reborn
broke is a fixed state
they tell me my wounds are lessons in healing
i cry because
it sure does not feel like it
i cry because
i am ever a wound in progress
a wound with a past tense
a slim jagged future in sight
this scar is a ruse
and i cry in ink because my tattoos
are all i have left to prove
i was here
“The voice is where the magic begins. It is with this sound that the spell is spoken and sent across the universe.” ~ Brad Walrond
Poet, writer, performer and activist Brad Walrond was born in Brooklyn New York to first generation Caribbean parents from Barbados. Brad began writing and performing at the age of 24 when he was asked to participate in a theatrical production curated by the legendary entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte.
Shortly thereafter Brad discovered a thriving community of artists, writers and performers at the Sunday Tea Party at Frank’s Lounge in Brooklyn. The Tea Party was an instrumental incubator as Brad honed his craft soon becoming one of the foremost writers and performers of the Black Arts Movement of ‘90s. It was at the Tea Party and other venues like the Brooklyn Moon Café, the Nuyorican Poets Café and numerous venues in and around NYC that Brad had the pleasure of sharing the stage with renowned writers, poets and artists including Abiodun Oyewole of the Last Poets, legendary actress/writer Ruby Dee, Erykah Badu, Saul Williams, Jessica Care Moore, Mos Def, Liza Jesse Peterson, Universes (Then: Mildred Ruiz, Stephen Sapp, Flaco Navaja and Lemon Anderson) and Craig “muMs” Grant.
Brad’s creative voice is rooted in an activist tradition. While pursuing his creative path Brad also served as Assistant to the National Program Director of Pathways to Teaching Careers and as Director of Education at FACES—the historic non-profit in Harlem New York first to respond to the HIV pandemic targeting at-risk populations of color.
Brad received his BA at the City College of New York and received a full scholarship to pursue is doctoral studies in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University. Brad’s battle with major depression upended his studies and he chose to pursue an alternate career in the culinary arts. Brad has had the privilege to cook at some of the finest world-class kitchens in New York City.
For nearly a decade, due to a demanding work schedule, and a persistent depression Brad became disconnected from his creative voice. Fortunately with what he attributes to much prayer, perseverance and professional medical care Brad has found his way back to the rich echoes of his creative voice.
The voice is to a poet what point of view is to a visual artist. It is your signature footprint on the creative landscape. Brad has returned with fervor to his prodigious creative terrain and is claiming his rightful place in it. He has been missed. He is more then just a poet or a speaker of words; he is a weaver of spells and bringer of passion and light.