This weekend I had the pleasure of going to the Poets in Autumn Tour in Cleveland, Ohio. I think it is the fourth year they have been doing the tour. This year their tour has been to/is going to over 30 cities, and the tour is almost over.  The artists on the tour were Ezekiel Azonwu, Preston Perry, Joseph Solomon, Chris Webb, and Jannete…ikz. I have had the pleasure of interviewing Ezekiel Azonwu and Preston Perry before. They each did two to three poems and did not disappoint. It was the best show I’ve ever been to. It beats any show I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been to a lot of cool concerts.

The craft and practice that went into these poems were incredible! Each of the artists really poured their hearts out in their pieces and their performances of them. I loved how they addressed a bunch of sensitive and often taboo topics: domestic abuse, PTSD, miscarriage, depression, and immigration, to name a few. Joseph Solomon’s poem, “Depression Is,” was so relatable and encouraged people not to be ashamed to seek counseling and medical treatment for mental health issues, an often taboo subject for Christians. If they put these pieces on YouTube after the tour is over, I think they would go viral.

They showed the brokenness of our world but at the end of the poems always pointed back to Jesus and the Gospel message. One thing to note is that they spoke very fast and often used complex sentences, so if you didn’t pay close attention, you might have had trouble following along.

Besides the poems, the visuals of the show were incredible. They did not have a dramatic lights show, but they had a screen at the back of the stage with all original content that was filmed for the show to go along with each poem. They put a lot more into the event than their words. The videos illustrated the words and messages as the artists spoke and the combination was totally captivating. Shout out to HOPP, the tour’s production manager, who is also a great artist in his own right, for putting on a great show.

The tour was sponsored by nonprofit Compassion International. Ezekiel gave an awesome piece about serving the least of these and spoke about how he sponsored a child with Compassion after visiting their programs in Nairobi, Kenya. It was really cool.

The show wasn’t all serious: they had some fun too. They did a segment about dating where Ezekiel, Preston Perry, and Chris Webb tried to win a date with Janette…ikz. It was hilarous. The concert ended with an worship song led by Joseph Solomon with his guitar. I’m not sure if they did/do this at each date, but after the show each artist was hanging out in the lobby where fans could come meet them. I always love it when they do that. It is so great to be able to tell the artists that you loved their pieces, and its also cool as a fan to meet the artists and get pictures with them. I posted the pictures to my Instagram.

If you’ve been to the PIA Tour, let us know what you thought in the comments and on social media. You can get tickets to future shows here.