Poet of Dominican descent takes poetry by storm in US

Whitney Greenaway

When Whitney Greenaway started writing poetry at the age of thirteen about teenage love, she never realized that her hobby would propel her to eventually participate in one of the leading poetry competitions in the US and Canada.

Greenaway was born in Hollywood, Florida but she got her early educational grooming in Dominica where she was taken to at one year and months old. Her mother is Lorraine Greenaway, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lovertie Greenaway of Goodwill, Dominica. She attended Convent Preparatory School and Sacred Heart Preschool (popularly known as Ms. Burton’s Preschool).

Probably it was her grandmother who actually got Greenaway into poetry. “I was forbidden by my  grandmother to watch any television at all so my idea of relaxation was a good book and very soon I needed an outlet for all my ideas and new vocabulary,” she told Dominica News Online. “I started with mere lines about teenage love and thought nothing of it until I moved to Florida and got introduced to open mics in Tampa.”

But it was in New York her poetry career took off when she was introduced to a type of poetry called Slam Poetry. “Simply put, it is a competition where poets compete against each other and are judged on a scale of one to ten by a few judges picked from the audience,” Greenaway explained.

In New York Greenaway decided to partipate in an open mic poetry recitation at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in Lower East Side, which is one of the most famous venues for Slam Poetry in the US. Althought being extremely nervous she managed to score 30 out of 30. Her big break came in December 2010 when she performed at the Cafe and came out first among 19 other poets paving the way for her participation in ‘Friday Night Slam’ which is
described as the best of the best in New York.

She won a spot on the Nuyorican Slam Team on May 13, 2011 when she competed against six other poets and won. Now she is heading to the National Poetry Slam in August. “The National Poetry Slam is held every year in August for about a week,” Greenaway explained. “Over four hundred poets (about 80 teams consisting of 4 to 5 poets) from all over the U.S and Canada compete for a chance to be the The National Slam Team Winner for that year. This year it is being held in Boston from August 8th to 13th and I am very honored and excited to know that I’m going to be a part of that experience.”

Explaining her work, Greenaway stated, “Thus far, I’ve only written about experiences that are true to my life, making me very vulnerable and open on the mic, but it is absolutely exhilarating  to share my heart with the world.”

Greenaway, who normally use the stage name Witness, said poetry has increased her self confidence and personal growth. She thanks her family and friends who always encourage her and she spoke of her never fading love for Dominica, which she says she will always be called home.

“I’m hoping that eventually Slam Poetry can be an art we use in Dominica for entertainment, talent discovery and general ideas,” she said.

CLICK HERE TO SEE WHITNEY GREENAWAY PERFORM

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34 Comments

  1. From the heart
    May 19, 2011

    I’m happy for you, keep going, keep believing. Bless.

  2. Anonymous
    May 19, 2011

    Well done! Congratulations, and all the best for the future

  3. Long Fing
    May 19, 2011

    Congratulations to a young Dominican poet. Go for it sis!

  4. Tampa Family
    May 18, 2011

    You Gooooo…all of reef circle :lol: will be there to cheer you on in spirit

  5. Convent Prep classmate
    May 18, 2011

    Whitney, make us proud!!!!! You are amazing, show the world what witness is all about!!!!

    We are supporting you 100%

  6. Convent Prep classmate
    May 18, 2011

    Whitney, make us proud!!!!! You are amazing, show the world what whitness is all about!!!!

    We are supporting you 100%

  7. Julie
    May 18, 2011

    The fruit doesn’t fall to far from the tree!! Congratulations Whitney you are beautiful and talented

    and the sky is the limit! ……………..We are all full of pride for you and your accomplishments.

  8. Anonymous
    May 18, 2011

    Good job whits!!!

  9. Good-2go
    May 18, 2011

    wow little Whitney I remember you. My you have gown into a powerful litterary force and I am so proud of you lady. Continue to grow and learn progressing from strength to strength. I too write poetry but have never perfumed in a slam setting. You take the art form to new heights my friend and you make your family and by extension all Domnicans very proud. I pray that your star continues to rise and shine brilliant light on us all.

    Cheers,
    Whit-ness!

  10. Toya
    May 18, 2011

    I’m so proud of you Whits…you’re the best!!!

  11. The truth
    May 18, 2011

    Boy I am diaspora and it really annoys me when things happen in Dominica how people tend to treat diaspora like rubbish when they comment. Yet when it is something amazing done by diaspora or Dominican descent they all up in it.

    The hypocrisy annoys the hell out of me!

    Congrats anyway

    • K
      May 18, 2011

      oh please. You not no diaspora. You are Dominican. When you start identifying yourself as that first you will not have time to dwell on the nonsense you wrote above.

      So Whitney, who btw is fully Dominican, should not be commended for her good work? That is not hypocrisy. It’s commendable, what she is doing no? So why is it hypocrisy to tell her so?

      • The truth
        May 18, 2011

        Hmmm you really are a fool. It’s you all that come with that name not me. Funny how making comments about what go on in the country, you all want us to have no right.

        Thank god for us, else you all would be heading nowhere fast. In fact not even fast. Just nowhere

    • O.G.
      May 18, 2011

      well me self could care less bout that dumb a*s pora… stay dere… dont come to dca…be it positive or negative…

      • The truth
        May 18, 2011

        thats y u all economy will remain busted… i dont need to be in dominica thats for sure. fool. who you think bring money for you to eat into the country? tourist? nope! people like me. and in fact, i am dominican but technically not. so i dont even know why i bother with you fools. my bread well butter

        • Puhleez
          May 18, 2011

          Get over it. Idiot. :mrgreen:

          Find another forum to deal with your insecurities and identity issues.

          Now it’s Whitney’s time. Good going Whitney!!!!!!! Keep up the good work!!!!!!!!! 8)

        • Anonymous
          May 19, 2011

          Excuse me!! People in Dominica work – no one supported me whilst I was in Dominica. No one jumped in from overseas to give me anything. So don’t comfort yourself by thinking its you. How much remittances you think are sent home. I worked a place where postal orders were cashed! Its’s not many. I willl stand up for my Dominicans. It’s silly comments like these that have Dominicans against the diaspora. And all of us have the option to leave Dominica as well. And you haven’t noticed the size of the houses in Dominica. Overseas, you all cannot even do half of that. So shut up stop sounding foolish and get your facts straight.

  12. shatta
    May 18, 2011

    i will tap that

  13. Blaque Qween
    May 18, 2011

    Now that’s what’s up!!! This girl is the shiznit! I’ve been checking out her stuff on Youtube….tight! They say black girls rock….Whit-ness YOU ROCK!!!!

  14. Ms. Pussina
    May 18, 2011

    God Whitney whosss u got pussina with this one.. u go girl

  15. Yahga
    May 18, 2011

    Congrats Whitney,
    Nice to see you finally going out there and doing what you love. May the most high continually bless you and guide you on your Journey.

  16. Anonymous
    May 18, 2011

    nICE JOB wHITNEY…

  17. Wendy
    May 18, 2011

    Hey Whit, Congrats babe so proud of you!!! Muahhhhh

  18. IN AWE
    May 18, 2011

    wow..wow wow.I saw this on dominica source to. this one is my favourite!!!! you go girl!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzqwrr22Fno&feature=player_embedded

  19. bronx
    May 18, 2011

    Wish I knew you were performing that nite at the Cafe.. would have been there to see the battle…

  20. K
    May 18, 2011

    fantastic stuff!

  21. no name
    May 18, 2011

    Go go young lady, God bless, We love you Whitney!!!!!!!!

  22. Vicey
    May 18, 2011

    You Rock Whitney

  23. KAYA
    May 18, 2011

    Congratulations on your success and good luck.

  24. Anonymous
    May 18, 2011

    congrats Whit!!!!! Good luck in the grand slam. :-D

  25. shatta
    May 18, 2011

    Simply beautiful now that’s the type of woman I can wife,continue striving,the sky is the limit angel. Mwah

  26. Goodwill Passe'
    May 18, 2011

    :-P
    Good going girl! Keep your head up, focus and reach for the sky. I love reading your work!!!

  27. peace
    May 18, 2011

    Congrats Whit! you’re making us all proud. Remain focus and do what you do best. :)

  28. rising star
    May 18, 2011

    Im happy for you Whitney.. Best of Luck and God blessing to you.. It is so good to when people do good..

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