Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Dometi Pongo, creative productivity, and those notebooks

A snapshot of Dometi Pongo's notebooks

In the November of 2007, I was asking my first-year students about the “things they carried” from home to college. One of the students Dometi Pongo informed me that he brought his notebooks, which he filled with rap lyrics, poetry, and his various musings. I asked would he mind showing them to me, and so the next class session, he brought along these wonderful notebooks.

I was impressed by his creative productivity. He had filled these three notebooks. He informed me he had many more at home. He was also still composing new materials. All the writing had he already done served as the warm-ups for what he was doing moving forward during his time in college.

In retrospect, it was a special, fleeting moment to encounter a student this interested in writing so many drafts of thoughts and creative expressions in wide-ruled notebooks like that. Soon, an increasing number of students would record most of their thoughts on iPhones, tablets, and computers. Even back then, Pongo was beginning to compose in his notebooks and on his phone.

These days, Pongo is working in broadcast media in Chicago. He’s still highly productive in a number of different contexts – as a radio journalist, rapper, political forum facilitator, and arts organizer.

This semester, as I’m working on our Creativity @ SIUE project concerning current students, I’m also hoping to take some time to reflect on and blog about some of the pursuits of past students like Pongo, Danielle Hall, and others, all of whom inspired me to think about creativity among students at the university a little more.

Creativity @ SIUE
Dometi Pongo

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