rant

Honestly

woman in white dress shirt holding blue permanent marker
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I am a firm believer of speaking things into existence and although I have long been in love with the written word it never once crossed my mind to teach. I have a cousin, a close friend and a niece who are the primary causes of my current occupation. My cousin and close friend have been calling me “Professor” since I was in my early twenties. My niece made me create assignments for her from the time she was five until she was twelve; during the summer.

Before I started teaching, it was an all-consuming desire; especially once I’d completed my MFA. I mean what else would I do with that, anyway? By that time, it was on my life list of things to do: to teach on the collegiate level. The way that the opportunity finally arose was a bit serendipitous. I was on a local campus with some friends who were alumni and was introduced to the chair of the Language, Literature and Communication department. I initially began teaching online courses which I liked but when I started teaching face to face classes I was a mixture of nerves and excitement.  As I grew more confident in my teaching style, which was always laid back and conversational, I learned how to infuse the subjects that I taught with humor and a splash of current events.

I love teaching, I really do. I love imparting the information that I’ve spent so much time gathering. But I am no longer sure that my teaching needs to take place the way it currently does. In a classroom, under the constraints and dictates of others. Or from books that others choose. These days, I feel the need my own space to teach workshops unfettered. I miss teaching creative writing courses so much. And I miss being inspired by my student’s commitment to writing.

I want to be able to teach wearing a maxi skirt, off the shoulder sweatshirt and Timbs. Or in jeans, a bookish t-shirt and sneakers with my hair in braids. I want to encourage my students and expose them to as much as I can while also encouraging their creativity. I want to teach workshops in the community where I am not bound by limitations. Where I can adapt the topics and even the material that I use to teach. What I’ve come to realize is that I want to have a space where I can encourage growth and healing through writing and create my own workshops, hold events and mentor other writers.

 

poetry

Magnolia Flowers- Langston Hughes

This poem was featured in a book that I picked up earlier this year in one of my favorite bookstores in New Orleans. I wanted to share a Hughes pieces that I wasn’t familiar with but something evocative of his work and this poem jumped out at me. Magnolias are one of my favorite flowers and in this corner of North Carolina they dot the landscape. As I read through this poem, I was enthralled by the juxtaposition of the ugliness and the beauty of magnolias.

flowers spring magnolia white flower
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The quiet fading out of life

In a corner full of ugliness.

I went lookin’ for magnolia flowers

But I didn’t find ’em.

I went lookin’ for magnolia flowers in the dusk

And there was only this corner

Full of ugliness.

‘Scuse me,

I didn’t mean to stump ma toe on you, lady.

There ought to be magnolias

Somewhere in this dusk.

‘Scuse me,

I didn’t mean to stump ma toe on you.

writing

The Work

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For as long as I have been writing poetry, I have always considered creating it “the work.” Not necessarily the hard work because some of my pieces are written in one take and then I go back, and revise or tweak as needed. Even when I struggle with writing pieces, I never considered writing poetry to be hard. That’s one of the reasons that I resisted majoring in poetry while completing my MFA, I didn’t want anyone to steal the joy of creating it from me. Creating my own collection has always been in the back of my mind but I never took the steps to do it beyond what I needed to create for classes.

But as some of you may know, that’s a project that I’m currently working on. One of the ways that I have been ensuring that I keep working on compiling the manuscript is to make sure that I am going back to it at least once every two weeks just to look at the poems and review them. I have also made myself commit to getting the work together and having a rough version printed and bound by the end of this month so that I can decide which poems will make the cut and to get second and third opinions on whether the collection is cohesive.  What I never considered was that I would be doing this without one of my closest friends who was also my number one poetry advisor. However, I am slowly but surely piecing together a collection that I love. As I mentioned in a previous post, it will contain several of the poems that have been featured on the blog and some older poems that have been revised.

Hopefully, one of my first posts in August will feature an update on my progress and a picture of the printed and bound manuscript. If anyone else has self-published poetry please feel free to share any tips you have.

 

poetry

Who Said It Was So Simple -Audre Lorde

I selected this Audre Lorde poem because I love the title. It reminds me of being young, and a younger adult when I was trying to figure out which version of me was the real one. What I love about the poem itself, is the way she layers in the experiences and imagery making sure that the reader understands the complexities that cloud the poem.  I also love that it catalogues a period in American history and provides a glimpse int the time. In light of today being America’s Independence Day, I wanted to share something that touched on the idea of liberation. Even if only in passing.

green tree photo
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There are so many roots to the tree of anger

that sometimes the branches shatter

before they bear.

 

Sitting in Nedicks

the women rally before they march

discussing the problematic girls

they hire to make them free.

An almost white counterman passes

a waiting brother to serve them first

and the ladies neither notice nor reject

the slighter pleasures of their slavery.

But I who am bound by my mirror

as well as my bed

see causes in colour

as well as sex

 

and sit here wondering

which me will survive

all these liberations.