And the last. I love my mothafuckin GIRLS…
To Whom It May Concern,
For the past six months, I have been fortunate to call Brian “Omni” Dillon my coach. As a third year veteran in the college slam poetry scene, I have been asked many times why the team even needs a coach. To be honest, I wasn’t completely sure of all the role encompasses. I saw him or her as a part of the team who handles the administrative aspect and would sometimes critique my work a bit more than my peers. Although my past coaches were helpful, Omni has revamped what it means to be a poetry coach.
Omni has been doing slam and writing poetry long before most of us knew what the art form was. His passion hasn’t ceased since the day he wrote his first poem. Those on the team see him get on stage and he captivates us; we want to, one day, be able to perform, write and captivate an audience like he can. With all that he is accomplished, he has never taken a patronizing role. He knows when to be authoritative and when to be our peer. He gives us a coach’s support while still staying on our level and relating to us. Because of that quality, there is never a lack of respect or trust from both ends of the spectrum and I know it would be the same in any classroom.
Another great aspect of his character is his dedication to the art form and to his team. He strives off of a good line, a good performance or a good response from an audience. He has pushed us past where we thought we could go with our poetry by making us try different forums that we didn’t know existed. He has taken us out of the college campus and brought us to other venues like the Nuyorican Poets Café, the place where slam started in New York City. It was an honor for all of us just to perform there and we may not have been able to do so without Omni’s knowledge and organizational skills. His ability to keep all the administrative aspects in check allows us to relax when we have a big show but he also tells us what needs to be done, like booking venues or performing in our classes. By doing so, he is teaching us the business aspect of the art which is allowing us to become well-rounded poets. I’m sure Omni will expose his students to the different aspects of the art form as well.
In terms of our writing, Omni has made himself available to critique our poetry round the clock. Whether it is through an e-mail or a phone call, I know I can count on him to give me and honest, intellectual opinion of my piece. And because of his experience with the art, I know I am getting advice from a skilled poet. He knows the formula to a perfect slam piece and sculpts it to fit us individually. He will do that with his students as well. He can take anyone nervous of a stage and show them how to cultivate those nerves into energy for a performance. I truly believe he can break the shyest of children out of his or her shell because he gives us confidence.
There can be no one better for a poetry teacher than Brian “Omni” Dillon because I cannot even articulate the lessons he has given me. I can say, with the utmost honesty, his moral support has pushed me to write my best work and give my best performance. Even if I have trouble, he still makes me feel like I have succeeded as a poet with his encouraging words. Because of him, I consider myself more of a poet than I ever did. I believe any student would be lucky to have him as a teacher just like I am lucky to have him as my coach and my friend.