Tag Archives: Boyce Watkins

Throwback Feature: “As I Grew Older” by Langston Hughes

7 Nov

Langston Hughes

It was a long time ago.
I have almost forgotten my dream.
But it was there then,
In front of me,
Bright like a sun–
My dream.
And then the wall rose,
Rose slowly,
Slowly,
Between me and my dream.
Rose until it touched the sky–
The wall.
Shadow.
I am black.
I lie down in the shadow.
No longer the light of my dream before me,
Above me.
Only the thick wall.
Only the shadow.
My hands!
My dark hands!
Break through the wall!
Find my dream!
Help me to shatter this darkness,
To smash this night,
To break this shadow
Into a thousand lights of sun,
Into a thousand whirling dreams
Of sun!

~

Experience the power of the Penn. Keep writing, stay blessed, & stay tuned to Your Black Poets.

Spread the poetry revolution by clicking the image to become a fan on Facebook.

Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer pursuing her graduate degrees in dramatic writing and acting. To see her writings and services, click here. To have Ayvaunn Penn feature your original poetry on Your Black Poets, click here

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Featured Video of the Week: “Spelling Father” by Marshall Davis Jones

26 Oct

 

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Experience the power of the Penn. Keep writing, stay blessed, & stay tuned to Your Black Poets.

Spread the poetry revolution by clicking the image to become a fan on Facebook.

Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer pursuing her graduate degrees in dramatic writing and acting. To see her writings and services, click here. To have Ayvaunn Penn feature your original poetry on Your Black Poets, click here

Featured Poem of the Week: “Unrequited” by Miss Quote

24 Oct

You watched me sell my pride to anyone who would buy it.

This fight is only for the strong and careless.

We are not meant to be sterile. There is something healthy about this mess.

When you aren’t around, I’m uninspired. My poetry goes to rest

If you treat it like a disease you will always seek a cure for our side effects.

Today I tasted the salt of your soul and wondered what made you so hypertensive at best.

Who are you without your complex?

Who the hell am I without my perplex?

Even as a coward, you maintain powerful intellect.

The world is your oyster and you don’t even own a pearl necklace?

I watched you with eyes blinking to my sunsets.

We are a defiant merger of sorts.

Human capital with commodities competing at a loss.

Who knew a cut is the same thing as the incisions it aborts?

Our connection isn’t cerebral. This is a colonizing spiritual contort.

Is this why the institution of marriage is less about love and more about courts?

I don’t want this anymore than tricks want magicians to support.

You make this hard even when reason is impotent.

I tore away your body to get to your naked soul.

It is the same reason we pick a flower and put it to our nose.

Spiritual instinct I suppose.

This era is the oasis where all inhibition grows.

It is a glorious day when men smell the burning of their own throne.

My child, there are many ways to love. Just ask your foes.

There is more that protects the hearts from bleeding out onto sleeves.

I have never prayed like this; just ask my knees.

It cannot be helped; emotions grow like weeds.

This fight is only for the strong and careless.

Oh he loved me not, he loved me best.

Unrequited love is always the type of fight that pride never forgets.

~

Miss Quote

About the Author:

Miss Quote is a feminist force of unique talent and poise. Hailing from Montego Bay, Jamaica, which she regards playfully as her heartbeat, she is many things — singer, songwriter, actress, and author. Yet, her definition remains rooted in her spoken word persona, Miss Quote. She first appeared at open mics in South Florida under the mentorship of the late Will “Da Real One” Bell, a celebrated community activist and HBO Def Poet alumni. She can be found these days performing in cities around the globe with great passion and thoughtfullness, wanting more than to empower her audience. Her voice will speak to your mind and sing to your soul.

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Experience the power of the Penn. Keep writing, stay blessed, & stay tuned to Your Black Poets.

Spread the poetry revolution by clicking the image to become a fan on Facebook.

Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer pursuing her graduate degrees in dramatic writing and acting. To see her writings and services, click here. To have Ayvaunn Penn feature your original poetry on Your Black Poets, click here

“Assisting developing poets with vital resources”: Solid Truth Entertainment of Las Vegas

22 Oct

Ida Marie Collins a.k.a. SOLID

Hello YBP Family!

Previously, we talked about how chap books can help you establish and build your presence in the poetry community. There are many different independent publishers who publish these fun-sized poetry booklets. Heck, you might even venture out and do it for yourself. Great. So now, what are other ways to help promote yourself and your work? Today, we hear from the founder of Solid Truth Entertainment, Ida Marie Collins — popularly known as SOLID.

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1.)   Please briefly share with the YBP community how you came to be a woman of poetry and how long you’ve been in the business. 

 I would say I have been a silent poet all my life. Writing and reading came natural to me; it was my passion since the age of 3. As a youngster, I easily memorized lengthy speeches and poems as a way to overcome a speech impediment. I never performed poetry in public before 2006. After seeing 2 local Las Vegas poets, Bliss and LaBlaque onstage, I was instantly inspired and immediately went home to begin writing. Being from Philly, music, culture, and poetry was in my blood, but this new style of performance poetry intrigued me and awakened a longing to speak my own painful truth with authority. 

I began writing on a daily basis and even performed on the double decker bus on the strip during the weekends under the name “Ms. Peaches.” Yearning for a place to express my work I began seeking open mics, and 300 performances later, I am no longer known as the soft, squishy fruit that bruises easily. I am strong, but flexible, and now known as “SOLID” – Socially Organizing Literally Inspiring Desire.” Although I produce and host shows for other artists, I still consider myself a newbie; an eternal student. I am truly a ‘groupie’ for poetry.

2.)  As the founder of Solid Truth Entertainment, you state that the goal of your company is to assist developing poets and other artists with vital resources and networking opportunities to ensure a smooth transition into the entertainment business. Will you please inform our readers of how your company achieves this? 

I am a social butterfly and a social media marketing specialist. By combining the information I collected while doing research for my own projects, I found various ways to help others. I began to share that information freely with other aspiring artists. That grew into an intense desire to teach others the correct ways to move forward while bartering or working with a minimal budget.

 SOLID Truth Entertainment coordinates events that allow upcoming artists to gain experience on stage, while promoting their products and services to industry professionals and fundraisers that can assist them to get to the next level. When other business owners or non-profits see that artists are hungry, sincere, and dedicated to SUCCESS, they are more than willing to offer the vital feedback needed to help the artist elevate their game. It comes from mutual respect. Everybody loves to be entertained and inspired.

3.)  Compared to the competitors of Solid Truth Entertainment, what sets your company apart? What services and benefits do you offer that would encourage writers to use your company over others?

SOLID Truth Entertainment feels there is no competition in EXCELLENCE. We pride ourselves on a job well done. STE provides consultations, referrals, mentoring, artist development, and leadership based on the needs of the individual artist or group. We provide coaching and training that enhances self-awareness and inspires creativity. Mental and behavioral stability have often been an issue with entertainers in the past, so we start with the individual artist first. Our seasoned consultants have proven success records and years of experience in the industry. We believe to do your best, you should be willing to learn from the best.

It is imperative that artists begin with the basics. Talent is not the only aspect that guarantees success. One must be dedicated, self-motivated, and balanced to have longevity in this business. STE delivers its products and services with truth, honesty, and respect. The process of self-discovery is just the first phase of knowing what you can accomplish as an artist. It’s not always about money.

4.)  Given that Solid Truth Entertainment is based in Las Vegas, in what regions of the United States does your company serve? 

Technology has allowed us to provide our services to artists worldwide. We use webinars, conference calling, video technology, and social media marketing to share much needed information. The personal touch is always there, because we plan the training and coaching sessions around the schedule of the artist. STE has worked with artists from the bay area and southern California, to Gary, Indiana, NY, New Jersey, Philadelphia, NC, SC, Florida, and Texas. By staying connected to a vast network of experienced artists who are dedicated to the success of others, we are able to offer referrals in every area. It’s really up to the artist to provide STE with the information that can help us help them. 

5.) What would you say is the number one thing to avoid doing while trying to build a career as a poet, and why?

Be original. There is only limited power in mimicking the talents, cadence, or style of others. Remember it is the inner voice that produces the outer glow. In the midnight sky all the stars shine, but each one has its own brilliance and spectrum of light. It is better to stand out than to try to fit in. Everyone has star potential.

6.)   Where can readers learn even more about you, your company, and your work? 

More information on SOLID Truth and SOLID Truth Entertainment can be found respectively at http://www.solidtruthlv.wordpress.com and solidtruthent.webs.com.

Thank you so much for sharing your time and expertise with the YBP community. We appreciate you!

~

Experience the power of the Penn. Keep writing, stay blessed, & stay tuned to Your Black Poets.

Spread the poetry revolution by clicking the image to become a fan on Facebook.

Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer pursuing her graduate degrees in dramatic writing and acting. To see her writings and services, click here. To have Ayvaunn Penn feature your original poetry on Your Black Poets, click here

Featured Poem of the Week: “Undead” by DeTyme POET

10 Oct

David DeTyme Tolliver

Every day I hide my skeletons

walk with the zombies

and sleep with a ghost…

To wake to a nightmare that haunts me

it seems, whether wearing masks or scary dreams

every day’s become Halloween and now the other holidays taunt me

Valentines and Christmas eves

giving thanks and sharing memories with family trees

the roots, the branches and the leaves

now all Halloween, the willows weep

the autumn falls of dusty leaves crumbled one by one

the willows weep and like the trees the seasons change

and all the withering memories flee like wilting leaves

or roses

Left for dead… amongst the dead

on tombstones

where the zombies rise again

uncovering the skeletons you’ve hidden within

coffins, closets or even skin…

Yes, flesh is home to heart and bone

but when disguised your smile can hide

your deepest secrets and wounded pride

but what happens when theres nothing left inside?

Maybe Im just a phantom

I fathom I get whatever I imagine I desire…

then I just bring it to my grave

burn ember like jackolantern smiles

twisted face with a twist of fate

faintly burning away from the inside

what expression shall I carve…

I could be anything or anyone you want me to be

And that’s the scariest part…

we all wear masks

costumes too, sometimes unaware of what costumes do

give you false facades and embellish truths

until those costumes you wear essentially consume you

Welcome to my nightmare

the children look the happiest

but these are not the innocent

this is dead walking amongst the dead

zombies who tuck their skeletons away

vampires who stay fed, they suck

monsters stay green, and fresh blood stays red

and like I said… the children Look the happiest

but they don’t remain unscathed

sometimes they carry their own scythes that slice their innocence away

walking boldly towards any opportune door

that could seem to make life a little sweeter

young men vanish like magic tricks

he doesn’t know any other way to treat her

all he sees is full moon, he’d rather leave her then to beat her

emotionally or physically, yet it will not defeat her

for she sees herself in costume too

a simple sheet…

all white, or bloody stained

its alright for shes died inside enough to know

theres no more pain, if she goes ghost

…what other option would death provoke?

Trick or treat? They haunt these streets

monsters equally masked the same

whispering ravenous echoes of lost love

never mentioning the others name

“and now…

you can live with your skeletons

sleep with the ghosts in your bed

and rise in the morning to an endless Halloween

Walking through life… Undead”

~

David DeTyme Tolliver a.k.a DeTyme POET, Tampa, FL

About the Author:

David is from Cleveland but currently lives in Tampa, FL. He hosts a monthly slam and showcase in the bay, and it is 3 years running. Additionally, he also hosts a weekly New Ink open mic promoting new writers and poems from your local favorites. Click here to contact DeTyme POET and find out more information about his events and performance schedule. 

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Experience the power of the Penn. Keep writing, stay blessed, & stay tuned to Your Black Poets.

Spread the poetry revolution by clicking the image to become a fan on Facebook.

Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer pursuing her graduate degrees in dramatic writing and acting. To see her writings and services, click here. To have Ayvaunn Penn feature your original poetry on Your Black Poets, click here. To like Your Black Poets on Facebook, click here

You & the Chapbook: Publisher Speaks on Publishing & Promoting Your Poetry

3 Oct

Hello YBP Family!

Publishing your poetry can be a daunting task, as a writer. Should I approach major publishers? I want to be famous! Should I use an independent — “inde” — publisher? Will anyone find my stuff this way? Heck, should I just do the #$%^ thing myself?! I’ll make sure errbody and they mama know who I am! This is a common cranial war that wreaks havoc on many a poet’s brain. Today Christopher K.P. Brown — co-founder of  the unique publishing company 2 Pens & Lint — will help lay our minds to rest.  Lyrical ladies and gents, I present to you Christopher K.P. Brown.

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1.) Please briefly share with the YBP community how you came to be a man of poetry and how long you’ve been in the business. 

I began writing poetry when I was 14 years old (1999). The first poem I ever wrote won 1st place at a poetry competition at a university back home in Arkansas. I’ve unofficially been in the business since then. I sold 200 copies of my first book when I was 16. I self-published the book using a printer and a computer my folks had purchased for me. I’ve officially been in the business since November 2008. Currently, 2 Pens & Lint publishes chapbooks for poets and we also run the website, Poetry247.com which promotes spoken word events in Philly, NYC, Atlanta, Baltimore, and Washington, DC.

2.) As one of the founders of 2 Pens & Lint LLC., will you please inform our readers of how your company helps poets like us through the production of chapbooks? What is a chapbook?

We publish chapbooks for poets. We’re pretty open to what we publish, however we don’t publish erotic poetry. Our service allows poets to put out new product and double their money while doing so. One of the main goals of our company is to put money directly into poets’ pockets. Chapbooks are a small booklet of poetry. Our chapbooks normally consist of 20-25. Traditionally, a poet would produce their own chapbook but the process can be very expensive and very time consuming which is where we come in. We do all of the work for the poet and we do it at a low price. This allows the poet to focus on performing and writing.

3.) Compared to the competitors of 2 Pens & Lint LLC., what sets your company apart? What benefits do you offer that would encourage writers to use your company over others or set aside self-publishing?

We’re more personal. To this day our poets still know they can call me at 2:00 AM in the morning, and I’ll answer my phone regarding their chapbook. We’re a small company with a small staff which allows us to be much more organized. This allows us to actually communicate with our clients on a regular basis and see what their particular goals are regarding poetry and their chapbook. With this in mind we’ll normally offer suggestions and tips to our poets about how to go about achieving those goals. One major plus for us as a company is that we work directly with poets on a lot of major poetry scenes. We actually attend open mics and other poetry events so we’re more in tune with the scene than most larger companies are. As far as self-publishing, as I mentioned before we save our poets both time and money so they can stay focused on the poetry.

4.) Even beyond chapbooks, what would you say are the top three ways poets and spoken word artists can promote themselves and their work?

The top three ways right now are video, performing at open mics regularly, and building up a strong online presence (website, Facebook, and Twitter at least).

5.) What would you say is the number one thing to avoid doing while trying to build a career as a poet, and why?

Don’t forget to write good poetry. Seems simple but I see it all the time. People promote, build connections, save up money for projects but forget that none of that matters if you’re not taking the time to continuously become a better writer.

6.) Where can readers learn even more about you and check out some of your poetry?

Currently, the best way is through my personal website – www.dancingwithscars.com. I have quite a bit posted there, and I will be using that site from here on out for all things Christopher K.P. Brown.

Thank you so much for sharing your time and expertise with the YBP community. We appreciate you!

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Experience the power of the Penn. Keep writing, stay blessed, & stay tuned to Your Black Poets.

Spread the poetry revolution by clicking the image to become a fan on Facebook, and encourage your friends to do the same. We turnin’ this world inside out, ya’ll.

Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer pursuing her graduate degrees in dramatic writing and acting. To see her writings and services, click here. To have Ayvaunn Penn feature your original poetry on Your Black Poets, click here. To like Your Black Poets on Facebook, click here

“Ponytail: A Poem for Gabby Douglas” by Jasmine Waiters

16 Aug

Oh yeah, now this is what I’m talking about — using poetry to positively impact society through raising awareness, provoking deep thought, and inward reflection. This young lady, by the name of Jasmine Waiters wrote a poem in honor of Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas. She calls upon the members of the African-American community to look beyond Gabby’s hair and focus on her accomplishments and the mark she has made in history not only for herself but for her people. Check out this viral video by Jasmine Waiters. Enjoy!

Ayvaunn Penn is an award winning writer pursuing her graduate degrees in dramatic writing and acting. She is also a freelance editorpoet, and spoken word artist. To like The Penn Speaks on Facebook, click here. To become Ayvaunn’s Facebook friend, click here.