As everyone who is into poetry knows and even some who aren't, April was National Poetry Month. All over the country, people were hosting events and contests. Everywhere poets were picking up their pens to challenge themselves in writing a poem a day. If they made it they would have written 30 new poems!
So much happened in April that blogging took a back seat. Some of it was amazing and some of it had me in my feelings for a while. I also was sick in April. That wasn't too exciting. In any case, here we are in May and I'm looking back at April with a smile of fulfillment. Here's what happened.
1. I started hosting again!
Poetic Vibe at Troy Kitchen has been a growing poetry experience every Monday. There have been some great features and an open mic that leaves the imagination spinning. The list of features for April were Daniel Summerhill, Elizabeth "Elizag" Gordon, Tarishi "M.I.D.N.I.G.H.T." Shuler, Tai Allen, Luis "L-Majesty" Pabon, and Darien "Poetyc Visionz" Gooden! It has been amazing to say the least. Though Peter "Rainmaker" Seaton couldn't make it this time but we'll see him on May 23rd.
2. I wrote new poems!
Alright, so I didn't reach 30 poems but I think I'll finish my 30 in May. Call it artistic liberty to extend an April challenge into the next month! However, I did write 16 poems so I'd say I didn't do too bad. Here's to more poem writing!
3. I co-taught poetry workshops for adults!
Daniel Summerhill and I did two workshops this month for poets. The first one focused on the writing and poetry's relationship with society. Everyone in attendance engaged in a very intellectually stimulating conversation about one of Langston Hughes' poems and got to draft new poems. The second workshop highlighted performance and evolving on the stage. We did vocal exercises, shared what we know, listened to some awesome material and laughed. All in all we had a great time!
4. I finished out workshops for teens at my job.
It's been a long journey trying to get M.A.D. Youth Poetry off the ground. I've been fortunate to be able to do workshops at Albany Leadership Charter High School for Girls. Right before spring break, they held their annual Poetry Cafe and I was able to help girls prepare for the stage. The night was beautiful, filled with music from the band and a ton of great poems read by students and teachers. It really gave me some ideas on how to approach youth poetry on the next round of workshops.
5. More books came in!
If you did not get your copy yet, I got more in April! You can purchase Dreaming in Kreyol here. I am truly grateful for all the support.
6. I started working on a burial container for the Schuyler Flatts Burial Ground Project.
It has been an honor to give back to ancestors who were buried and forgotten. To remember the lives of those who were enslaved and then left in unmarked graves not too far from where I am...has been a humbling, spiritual and fulfilling experience. It's safe to say I'm painting the most important and heart-filled piece as a visual artist. I am so thankful for being welcomed into the process. Click here for more info.
But April wasn't all good. Aside from not being 100% health wise, my cousin passed away in Haiti and it hit me hard. I cried so much. I held back tears at work. I wrote a poem for her and cried while I wrote it. I was not expecting that. I was not prepared to not see her again. Later that week, snow in April took on a new meaning when Prince passed away. No one was expecting that. The flood of love for his music and the kind of person he was overwhelmed social media. It was such a reminder that life is fleeting. I think it all gave me even more emotion to pour into the burial container. Mourning manifests itself in different ways. April gave me so much art mourning was easier.
Here's to living life full and unapologetic. Here's to healing and hope. Here's to everything poetry and art give me back. The beauty is all in the journey. It always has been.