Mike started as the only male in a middle school poetry group, and he became the top-scoring poet at the San Francisco Teen Poetry Slam. He faces a unique challenge as a poet. "As a kid," he says, "I didn't understand why it took me so much longer to read than a lot of kids. I do have mild dyslexia and that has made it harder all through life to keep up with schoolwork or read a whole bunch at a time. As a writer, I've found ways around my dyslexia. I memorize my poems. Because when you have a poem memorized, it's yours and you can give it to other people."
This college student of faith doesn't write for therapy or for himself; he performs to entertain and to win. Some label his style lightweight and dismiss his wins as lucky. But Mike feels good about his life in California and is unapologetic about wanting to do happy poetry.
Mike's passion for spoken word evolved from his love of the message and creativity of the Christian hip hop artists introduced to him by his parents. Mike says, "If I do the best that I can, I am happy. I want to present not a flawless piece, but a piece that makes me look like a poet. I wanna make somebody laugh."
Mike's focus and positivity are assets for him and his team at Brave New Voices. He hopes that he and his fellow poets live up to their potential and bring home the championship for the Bay.