Here is an interview I did with Josephine Reed at the National Endowment for the Arts about my poetry writing, teaching, and coaching.
“Jonathan’s work is sensitive and awake. For such a young man, he speaks with a wise, poignant voice that thrills and educates. His perspective is fresh and his topics relevant and real. JT makes you wanna HOLLA!”
~ Gayle Danley, 1994 National Individual Slam Champion, 1996 International Individual Slam Champion, and 2006 Young Audiences National Artist of the Year.
“You rocked this grandmother’s world this afternoon; watching you recite your moving and powerful poetry brought me tears.” ~ Judy Hopkins, nurse from Maine
“Jonathan Tucker was a great poet whose poems are not only deep but inspiring as well. When he was here, he taught me new ways to find my poems. He was a great speaker and an even better poet. His teachings were fun and easy to comprehend.”
~Carlos Campbell, 8th grader at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School
“Jonathan approached [our] students with confidence and encouragement. His own performance poetry was an inspiration to the kids as well as fodder for a discussion about performance techniques. Jonathan’s role modeling not only set the example of a polished, well prepared performance, but it also served to build trust between him and the students. I highly recommend him to other educators and organizations that work to teach, to inspire and to engage youth.“ ~ Jessica North Macie, Middle School Teacher, Barrie School
“In a day and age where education must compete with Ipods, Facebook, video games and other media gadgets, teachers have a tough time grabbing the attention of pre-teen students. That’s why I invited Jonathan Tucker to come to my 8th grade English class. He brought poetry to life! My students no longer thought poems were boring or something they couldn’t accomplish. One student who NEVER completed a class or homework assignment the entire year wrote a poem Mr. Tucker asked the students to pen entitled “I used to be…but now I am…” Not only did Mr. Tucker read his own work, he taught the students how to follow in his footsteps, how to look at poetry as therapy, as expression, as a future career.” ~Ms. Heather Hopson , 8th Grade Reading English Language Arts (RELA) Teacher, Benjamin Stoddert Middle School, Temple Hills, MD
Speaking about the book I Got The Matches, Justin Christmas, philosopher-poet-emcee says, “that book is slam slam. got me shaking with rage, bout to cry, kinda blazed, and sent shivers down my spine. makes me wanna get up stand up, march on the white house, go kiss my mother and tell the girl of my dreams that i love her. damn life is short but the word is immortal.”
Students Say . . .
“I think Jonathan Tucker was a good and inspirational person. He is a great poet! I liked his poems a lot. I could relate to it.” ~Devin Barnes, 8th grader at Stoddert Middle School, Temple Hills, MD
“It was fun having Jonathan Tucker here. It was educational and awesome.” ~Nykko Payton, 8th grader at Stoddert Middle School, Temple Hills, MD
“Jonathan Tucker was good. He spoke his thoughts and his heart. His rock showed how much he cared.” ~Angell Thompson, 8th grader at Stoddert Middle School, Temple Hills, MD
“I loved Jonathan Tucker’s poem, because it was interesting, funny, and true.”
~Kiera Anderson, 8th grader at Stoddert Middle School, Temple Hills, MD
“Jonathan Tucker was a good poet and it was awesome when he came to read. I liked his poem. It was deep and true. I hope he comes again!” ~Alesha Willis, 8th grader at Stoddert Middle School, Temple Hills, MD
Quotes from students at Doddridge County High School
He really knows what he’s doing. He knew a lot of helpful exercises to help us perform and write poetry better. Shania C.
JT was a very powerful poet. He taught us how to put feeling and strength behind a poem’s words and how to show emotions your own way. Rachel G.
I felt very inspired to write more of my own poems. Amanda F.
JT was awesome! I had a lot of fun writing poems and speaking them. Ashley B.
Jonathan Tucker was a really great poet. I learned a lot about how to write poetry. I love learning more ways to write poems. Natasha S.
Jonathan Tucker asked us to write our own poems and encouraged us along the way. He showed us how to believe in our writing. He made us feel comfortable up in front of people too. Jennifer R.
Having Mr. Tucker here was a fun, hands on way to learn about writing and performance poetry. He taught us how to take our thoughts, ideas, and feelings, put them on paper, and make them sound beautiful. We should have him every year, for every English class. Shauntell M.
Mr. Tucker was very inspiring and helpful. Robbie S.
Mr. Tucker was a great poet who could freestyle really well. Ashby L.
Mr. Tucker taught me how to improve my poetry and how to express myself. Zachary L.
Jonathan Tucker taught me how to write poetry and to be brave enough to read it out loud. I really enjoyed the program he set up for us. Austin F.
Jonathan Tucker helped me and my classmates express ourselves through our poems. He opened my eyes to different ways of reading my poems. He encouraged me a lot because I was so afraid of reading my poem out loud. After reading the poem, I felt like a major weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I would like to thank him for helping me. I hope he comes back to help others like he helped me. Jessica W.
It’s nice to experience new things such as poetry performance. I liked it because we were able to be creative and express ourselves. Hunter N.
I hated getting writer’s block, but Jonathan helped us when we got stuck. Jazmane H.
Jonathan was full of energy, funny, nice, and a good instructor. Bethany C.
Showing us students how things we learn can be used in real life and still be exciting and fun will help us strive to learn. Timmie J.
The poetry was really fun and helped me write poetry a whole lot better. Kevin L.
He made poetry more interesting. Kelsi P.
Jonathan B. Tucker was a great guest artist. I used to dislike poetry, but now I understand it more and I like it. He gave us many types of poetry to work with. He showed how to express ourselves through poetry. He is a very talented poet. Rachel P.
It was very interesting to watch him perform and hear some of his poems. KJ J.
Jonathan Tucker was not only fun but interesting. He didn’t just make us do worksheets or stand up there and bore us; he got us involved. He was very good at what he did. Becky B.
Jonathan Tucker was really educational and fun. It helped me a lot to learn how to express myself and how to read poems with emotion. Kimber O.
Jonathan Tucker made poetry fun for us because of his energy and his passion for writing. Corey A.
J.T. was very inspirational. He introduced me to my new favorite poet, Saul Williams. William T.
Jonathan Tucker was inspirational in many ways. I learned how to perform poetry, write poetry, and express myself and my feelings in writing. He was a pretty cool person too, easy to get along with and fun to talk to. It was a great learning experience. Jessica D.
I despised poetry because more than half the time I had no idea what it was trying to get across. Our poet showed me how to appreciate poetry and give it life through emotion. He had great activities that taught me to create anything from the words I had written. Kelsey K.
Poetry has never been my strong point. Jonathan inspired me to like and enjoy the poems I write. His creative exercises taught us the first steps of how to write a good poem. I really did learn a lot. Kevin P.
J.T. was an awesome teacher. He was skilled and he seemed to absolutely love what he did. I liked how he tried to get everyone involved. Christina W.
stop looking at me and go read a book.