When Poetry Meets God

Saint is a poet whose wordsmithing sheds humor and compassion for humanity when hitting the stage. His numerous accomplishments as an artist has given him the opportunity to open for hip-hop artists such as Common, Lupe Fiasco and gospel sensation Dietrick Haddon.

As a performing artist, Saint has made appearances on Season 3 and 5 of the NAACP Image Award nominated show “Versus and Flow” and was a member of the San Diego Slam Team in 2015 (which placed 5th in the nation at the National Poetry Slam). In addition, he’s released 2 CD’s, a chapbook, and a DVD documentary entitled, “Rise To the III-list: Poetic Journey of the Saint.”

Saint finds purpose in his work as he “tells [his] story in the way God gave it to [him].”

Check out his story below!


“My introduction to spoken word poetry came in the belly of my father’s church. I had started writing in high school, mainly as a better way to write a note to a girl I liked instead of the usual, ‘Do you like me? Mark yes, no, or maybe.’ After that, I dabbled with writing here and there but never took it very seriously. It wasn’t until my father started a church in the city of Stockton that I actually started reading aloud anything I wrote. I had grown up in church my entire life witnessing the staple forms of praise and worship: singing in choir, praise dancing, and more recently gospel rap.

I wanted to give a different approach to professing my faith, which is what drew me to reciting poetry. I would take different words that assimilated with the Christian culture (faith, love, blessings, etc.) and build a spoken word piece around it. I would then perform it at church during some type of special service. I then transitioned into doing a piece about my family, involving deeper concepts, and challenging church traditions that weren’t rooted in scripture.

I definitely wanted to expand my voice and take it out of the four walls of the church, but didn’t know how to do that. A nationwide spoken word competition ended up taking place right in my city. A few people told me I should go out for it and just see what happens. I entered and during the first round I did a poem called “Why,” which was a series of questions that had elements of humor but contained faith-based undertones. It was the only poem I felt fit a secular competition. I performed it in the first round and it allowed me to advance to the next round. Unfortunately, I needed two poems in the second round so I decided to write something really quickly for the competition. Because it was forced and also the fact some of the participating poets had been performing for years, I didn’t advance to the next round. However, the people that put on the competition noticed a light in me and decided they would take me under their wing and become my poetry mentors.

As a result of their tutelage, I discovered a purpose that I had never had before. It was to tell my story in the way God gave it to me. It’s been 12 years since the first local competition I participated in and the art form has taken me to places I never would have been otherwise. Even though my topics have diversified and my style has changed, I have never wavered from speaking about my faith and the God in me, because without Him, I would definitely be nothing.”


About Karla Cordero

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