Jodie Summers and the Transformative Power of Poetry and the Spoken Word

Jodie Summers

By Asia Nail
The Truth Reporter

Have you ever wondered how your story will be remembered after you’re gone? Jodie L. Summers, a multi-disciplinary artist and community leader, has a unique perspective on leaving a lasting legacy. As we celebrate National Poetry Month this April, Jodi’s words resonate with the power of eternity, not just in print but in the hearts and minds of those who hear them.

If you’re already following Summers online, then you’re familiar with his brand—Child of the System. Born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, Jodie is nationally recognized for his powerful spoken word performances and poignant poetry, commanding a remarkable presence both on stage and off.

When asked how he stays so productive, Jodie says, “I keep moving and stay active. This is my best advice for other artists: Don’t Quit!”

His contributions to literature and the arts are vast and varied. From both his Tears of the Wounded to his Childhood Trauma book series, Summers’ words have the power to heal, inspire and provoke change. But his impact doesn’t stop there. As an activist, illustrator, motivational speaker, event coordinator, chef, elected official and business owner, he wears many hats, each one adding layers to his dynamic persona.

With every book he publishes, he invites readers to immerse themselves in his world, but he also encourages us all to consider our own story. “Leave a part of yourself written or vocal,’ Jodie advises, ‘so that you can live on even after you’re gone.”

Spoken word, with its roots deeply embedded in African American culture, serves as a powerful medium of expression for people from all walks of life. Its rhythmic cadence, emotive delivery and raw authenticity provide a platform for individuals to share their truths, struggles, and triumphs. Within the Black community and among the underserved, spoken word holds even greater significance, offering a space where voices that have been historically marginalized can be amplified and celebrated.

Washington Muhammad and Jodie Summers at the podcast

What if poetry could transcend time and space?

“Speak your truth to power and it will,” says Jodie.

With poetry, time becomes fluid, and the barriers between past, present, and future collide. Through the power of words, we can evoke the essence of our ancestors, hear their stories, and learn from their wisdom. Similarly, our poems become time capsules, carrying our hopes, dreams, and experiences forward to inspire and guide future generations.

“I just released book #17. I also make sure all my books are available at the Lucas County Public Library for free to everyone.”

Summers is not just a multi-talented artist but also a dedicated community leader. With a seat on over seven boards, including those focused on urban farming, community solidarity and addressing social issues like domestic violence, he’s actively working to make a difference in the community.

But perhaps what sets Jodie apart is his unwavering commitment to encouraging others to find their voices and share their stories. Last year alone, he graced the stage of 527 spoken word performance venues, showcasing his powerful poetry and spreading messages of hope and empowerment. Already this year, he has visited over 100 venues, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to his craft and his community.

Can poetry truly change the world, or is it merely a form of artistic expression?

Poetry is both a reflection of the world as it is and a catalyst for the world as it could be,” says Summers.

While poetry may not single-handedly alter the course of history, it has the power to spark conversations, challenge perceptions and ignite movements for social change. Like seeds planted in fertile soil, words have the potential to grow and flourish, transforming hearts, minds, and societies.

“Last year I performed in both Japan and Canada. I’m humbled to be able to travel around the world by the sound of my voice,” shares Jodie.

With seven independent films and four stage plays to his name, Summers continues to leave a lasting mark on both the artistic and social scenes around the world. Featured in documentaries like Black Men Unfiltered and Sons of Toledo, he sheds light on important social issues, further demonstrating his versatility as an artist and storyteller.

“I run 26 pages on Facebook,” he says laughing. “I post more on social media than a small country.”

For many, poetry and spoken word are not just forms of artistic expression but a means of survival. In a society that often silences the voices of the oppressed, poetry becomes a tool for resistance, resilience and reclaiming one’s narrative. Through the art of spoken word, individuals can confront systemic injustices, challenge societal norms, and assert their humanity in a world that too often seeks to diminish it.

As a skilled creator, Jodie also crafts original artwork, clothing, and jewelry reflecting his unique perspective and creativity. As the owner of Toledo Mud Sauce, he not only tantalizes taste buds but also fosters a sense of community through food.

“Artists stay open to trying new venues and experiences,” he recommends.

Along the way your passion will find you.”

Jodie Summers’ accolades speak volumes about his influence and reach within the community. From winning the Outstanding Author 419 People’s Choice Awards to being the keynote poet for the Pan-African flag raising in Lucas County, his presence is felt far and wide. He’s a recipient of multiple Momentum awards, a winner of various poetry slams across the country, and a featured artist for numerous festivals and events.

Within the Black community, spoken word has long served as a means of cultural preservation and storytelling. From the griots of West Africa to the poets of the Harlem Renaissance, Black artists like Jodie have used spoken word to pass down traditions, document history and celebrate resilience in the face of adversity.

Can poetry heal wounds, mend broken hearts, and bring solace to the soul?

Indeed, poetry has a transformative power that transcends the physical realm and touches the depths of the human spirit. Through its lyrical beauty, evocative imagery, and heartfelt sincerity, poetry has the ability to soothe the sorrows of the soul, offer comfort in times of hardship, and bring light to the darkest of days. In the hands of a skilled poet, words become medicine, offering healing and hope to all who dare to listen.

Spoken word is like a mirror reflecting both our differences and the human experiences that bind us together,” adds Jodie.

As we reflect on Jodie Summers’ journey, let us heed his advice to leave a part of ourselves behind. Whether it’s through writing, spoken word, art, or activism, each of us has a story to tell. And like Jodie, we have the power to shape our legacies, ensuring that our voices echo forever through time.