Ozark Poet Brenda Moossy passed away yesterday at her home in Fayetteville. Her loss is deeply felt in the Slam Community since Brenda was a very active part of the National Poetry Slam scene as a competitor, Treasurer for PSI, Inc., part of the Slam America bus tour and contributor to many Slam anthologies including Spoken Word Revolution. She was respected for her detail to craft and energy on the mic, Roger Bonair-Agard has told me that Brenda was the only poet he knew that had successfully slammed on the national level with a sestina.
I met Brenda in 2002 at two louderARTS readings. The first was for one of the very first times I was curating at Bar13. I was already stressed out about the curating since we were adding a lot of new elements to the night including musical accompaniment, collaborations and rearranged the setup of the room, but then, at the last minute, our feature canceled on us and we had to scramble to get someone new to cover. The night turned out fine and the new feature did great but the most calming presence in the room was Brenda Moossy. A fan of the louderARTS Collective, as it was known back then, Brenda was happy to be at Bar13 and offered to help out in any way possible. She took a spot right in the front row and was an attentive listener to every open micer, nodding her heads to strong lines, smiling when a strong image or unexpected turn developed on the stage, and then wildly clapping for every poet. I think the only reason we didn’t ask her to feature that night was because she was set to feature at our Brooklyn reading in a few nights.
She brought her same enthusiastic energy to Morgie’s Cafe, the home of louderARTS South, both as a listener and the feature. On the mic she was happy to share her experiences from the Ozarks and let us know how different things in New York might be but that the feeling of poetry was just as strong in both places and wherever there was a good venue that she could share her words, she was always at home.
I’m sorry that our paths never crossed again since that spirit of community and wonder (so often taken for granted) is something that I need to always be reminded of.