As audience members trickled into their seats, Jon Goode was busy studying. He introduced himself to random people as they sat down in hopes of retaining their names by what he called a “word association” trick.
As more people entered, his list of names to remember grew and in between poems he would recite them all along with the mental notes he used to recall the name. Katherine became “Katherine the Great” and Mary became “Mary had a little lamb,” to name a few.
Goode grew up in Richmond, Virginia. As the son of stern parents, he laced his staunch upbringings into some powerful messages about everything from race to religion without skipping a beat. His smooth southern dialect captivated the audience while his timely humor kept the mood light. In one poem about his mother, aptly named “Barbara,” he speaks of how his mother raised him saying, “I’m tell you all what some folks just don’t understand, see, she wasn’t trying to raise a friend she was trying to raise a man so every now and then she had to raise her hand.”
After attending college at James Madison University in Virginia, Goode went to work in the corporate world while his poetry took a back seat. It wasn’t until he nabbed a spot on the HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam” that he was finally able to quit his corporate job and focus solely on his artistic lingual prowess. Goode has performed with many well-known artists and was nominated for an Emmy in 2006 for a skit he created for Nick @ Nite’s Black History Month.
Towards the end of his performance, Goode invited anyone brave enough to take the stage up to recite their own poetry. At that moment, SCSU student Anthony Hoard decided to take him up on his offer. Hoard took the stage and delivered a brief, but commanding excerpt of his own poetry and an impressed Goode shook his hand commending him for his courage and talent.
The night concluded with a heavy tribute piece to Martin Luther King called “Me, God, and Destiny” in which he acknowledges the fortitude with which King fought for what he believed. Goode is the author of a new book called “Conduit: A Collection of Poems and Short Stories.”