Walter “Wally B.” Jennings is a poet-turned-performer, who just happens to have been blessed with the gift of public speaking. He began writing poetry in 1989 as an 8th-grade student in response to an English assignment. Wally appreciated the freedom, honesty, and discretion that came along with his writing experiences, so he continued throughout the years. His poems share and discuss common experiences from everyday life, ranging from diabetes, marriage and fatherhood, youth empowerment, and self-determination. In October 1998, just months before his college graduation, Wally took another bold step when he decided to share his poetry publicly for the first time.
The experience was surreal, as his performance was well received and served as a moment of enlightenment. Wally knew he had a responsibility to use his gift and talent of spoken word-poetry to encourage and help others. He has continued to perform and use tact, transparency, and humility as instruments to connect with his listeners.
Wally does not use profanity or vulgarity in his work, to ensure his messages can be communicated in all mediums. Wally is a 1998 graduate of Florida A&M University (Cum Laude), receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Economics.
Wally B.’s poetical talents have allowed him to perform and host various poetry workshops in venues all over the nation, such as: St. Louis, MO (Legacy Bookstore), Philadelphia, PA (Jus’ Words), Greenville, SC (Wits End Poetry), Knoxville, TN (Time Warp Coffee shop), Jacksonville, FL (Soul Release; Karpeles Museum), Miami, FL (Funk Jazz Lounge), Duke University, The University of Florida, The University of South Florida, The University of Tampa, Deep Carnivale, WMNF’s Heatwave, and the Hillsborough County Public Schools/Arts Council of Hillsborough County Poetry Jam program. Wally B. is the founder of “Black on Black Rhyme-Tampa”, one of Central Florida’s largest and longest-running open-mic poetry shows since September 2001. Also, he is the founder of “Heard ‘Em Say Teen Poetry” Night. “Heard ‘Em Say Teen Poetry”, founded in May 2007, was established to provide our community’s youth with a healthy social outlet and platform to express themselves and promote growth in the areas of: self-esteem, written and oral communication, networking, social tolerance, and cultural understanding through the art of spoken word poetry. In addition to “Heard ‘Em Say Teen Poetry”, Wally is also currently the co-host of “Poetry Is…”, the only spoken word radio show in the Tampa Bay Area, which can be heard on WMNF FM 88.5 and www.wmnf.org on Saturday nights from 11 pm-12 am. Wally B.’s passion and commitment to help and encourage others is his ultimate goal…spoken word poetry is simply a tool to aid in this process.