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Spit It Out!

Written by Candace Edwards

Mia Jackson '11 and Aaron Hernandez '12 at a Spit That! meeting (composite photo). Photos: Mike Grippi '10 and Bill Truslow

Spit That! poetry group may sound somewhat crude, however it’s anything but. “To ‘spit’ means to say your poetry with passion and feeling,” says club founder Jaylene Clark ’09. “If someone says ‘Spit that!’ while you are performing, it is similar to saying,“Keep saying what you have to say! I’m really feeling it!”

Lenelle Moise, poet, playwright, performance artist, and three-time winner of the New World Theater National Poetry Slam, is a 2002 Ithaca graduate.

Poet, playwright, and performance artist Lenelle Moise '02 returned to campus to perform as part of National Coming Out Day.

Spit That! was founded in 2006 to function as a poetry workshop. When Clark arrived at Ithaca College, she wanted to continue her poetic development. When she didn’t see a creative outlet like Urban Word NYC, a nonprofit poetry workshop she had been affiliated with in New York City, she created one.

Clark began writing poetry in the fifth grade, and eventually earned a spot on the Urban Word Slam team. Her talent, creativity, and ambition have earned her numerous titles, including the 2005 International Brave New Voices Poetry Festival (for which she won as part of the Urban Word Slam team) and the 2005 Harlem Live Poetry Slam.

She’s also a three-time winner of the Cornell Spoken Soul Poetry Slam and a published poet in Falling Hard: 100 Love Poems by Teenagers.

Spit That! has grown from an idea to a dynamic and artistic enterprise. Last fall, the group hosted a phenomenal, sold-out evening of spoken word, featuring the poetry of Spit That! members, as well as Writers Block, a poetry group based in New York City.

The club meets weekly and holds open poetry workshops for anyone who is interested. Clark and the executive board create exercises for the members that facilitate poetic flow, spark new ideas, and explore creative thought and presentation. Clark also uses the exercises she has learned with her involvement in Urban Word NYC.

Club member Kendra Sundal ’09 says that she draws poetic inspiration from life. “I use my poetry as an outlet to express my anger, pain, and frustration.” Current president Zaidy Morales ’12 says that anything and everything inspires her poetry. Clark’s poetry, though, comes from experience.

“I usually write when something I have experienced affects me,” she says. “Whether I see something in a movie, read it in a book, or have it actually happen to me, all of these things are included in the action of just living one’s life.”

Member Nellie Cuddy ’10 never considered herself a poet before joining Spit That! “I have grown so much from being the shy, quiet one who would observe, to getting up and sharing life experiences with the group, to even performing on stage for others to see.”

Former student body president Cornell Woodson ’09 is also a fan of the club. “Spit That! is a revolutionary student organization. I have never seen such a force of creativity and inspiration on this campus,” he says.

Clark’s poetry continues to grow, as well. She recently studied abroad in Trinidad and Tobago, and plans to incorporate this experience into the progression and growth of Spit That! She encourages others to travel, or at least research cultures outside of themselves to realize the potential that the information can take them in their poetry.

On campus, Spit That! promotes awareness of the power of spoken word poetry and provides an outlet for experienced and inexperienced poets alike to participate in writing, experiencing, and performing poetry. Sundal says Spit That! helps her access the rhythm and tone of performing poetry.

“It’s a very supportive group,” she says. “I am able to try out work on them that I’m not done with, and it helps me see where I want to take a piece.” Spit That! is the perfect atmosphere for anyone to grow and learn to articulate their experiences through a poetic lens.


Hi everyone! I am Jaylene Clark, the President and founder of Spit That!. We will have our weekly meetings starting September 14, 2009 at 6:30PM in the ALS room, which is in the West Tower Lobby. Hope to see you there! If you have any questions please email me at jclar4@ithaca.edu.

Hi everyone, correction on my email. You can email me with questions at jclark4@ithaca.edu!


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