This week we are spotlighting the winners of the 2nd Annual Poetry Contest! Today, you’ll get to meet the poets and read their poems. Let’s dive right in with our 3rd Place winner.
INTRODUCING NIA ELISE
Nia Elise is a 41-year-old single mom of two beautiful girls. She currently resides in Covington, Ga after relocating from her hometown of Silver Spring, MD. She is currently a 4th-grade teacher and has spent 19 years working in education. Her love of poetry began in elementary school when she received a signed copy of “Honey, I love” by Eloise Greenfield. She began writing her own poetry in middle school. After her divorce, she took to the stage and began doing spoken word. She is currently working on her first book of poetry and vignettes titled “Lessons on Love.” Be on the lookout for her book, and read more of her poetry by following @PoeticallyPurposed and on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
Welcome Nia! So nice to meet you beautiful. Can you tell us a little bit about what inspired your poem, Self-Love?
Nia: Upon deciding that I would enter the poetry contest, I opened an episode of Red Table Talk where Jada Pinkett Smith discussed her views on self-love. I began thinking about what that meant to me, and more importantly my struggles with learning to love myself, and how I want my daughters to view themselves differently than I did growing up. That was my inspiration to write “Self-Love” for this contest.
I love it. It’s a powerful poem. “The unattainable plight of a woman” was a beautiful way to open and sum up the piece. A few lines caught our attention:
“to break down the expectation into bits she can eat. And she swallows her pride, tears, fears, and the expectations of her peers And spits them back out at her baby girls feet.”
Tell us about those lines.
Nia: Society has placed these expectations on women of what we should look like; Our size, the clothing we wear, how we wear our hair, the way we walk and talk, how we should or should not cater to a man, or how we should mother our children. It’s a lot to take in, or rather to “Swallow”. Every time you open a social media page, there is a meme about what you should or should not be doing to meet these expectations. Through my journey of learning to love myself, I have had to set them aside and understand that I can take in what I think is best for me, and just throw the rest away. I want my daughters to understand this same thing. They do not need to meet the expectations of the world, but only the expectations they have set for themselves.
The unattainable plight of a woman The mask she carries is not her own Under it Lies Expectation Made into self-deprecation Caused by Society, men, magazines and molds. In her youth she may have had the physicality but not the mentality to sustain what they thought she should be. After birth she struggles with the physicality but now owns a mentality to break down the expectation into bits she can eat. And she swallows her pride, tears, fears, and the expectations of her peers And spits them back out at her baby girls feet. She tells her these folks’ expectations are not for you to meet They are for you to beat They will gnaw at your mind Pull on your spirit And you need to push it aside baby girl, Don’t hear it Be the best version of you That is more than just the view That is the drive to be alive and to continue to push through That is the understanding that God’s got you That is the realization that you are beautiful no matter what That your beauty is more than your face and your strut That what matters is in your heart and mind That it’s more important to be gentle and kind Especially since we are all going through The seemingly unattainable plight of learning to love YOU.
This week we are spotlighting the winners of the 2nd Annual Poetry Contest! Today, you’ll get to meet the poets and read their poems. Let’s dive right in with our 4th Place winner.
Introducing Kiyana Blount
Kiyana Blount is a mother, wife, and friend who has a heart of pure gold. She is 27 years old and has a passion for the arts. Kiyana loves to write, dance, sing and act and every time she walks in the room has a light that cannot be dimmed. On her journey through self-love, she is learning how to not only uplift herself but those around her. Kiyana is a hard worker and believes she can accomplish anything she wants to!
Kiyana, so good to meet you beautiful! Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and what inspired your poem.
Kiyana: My life is what inspired this poem! I am currently on a journey of rebuilding my inner Goddess and going back to loving myself and being the best version of myself. This poem is my truth!
I love that. I understand that you have a business. Tell us a little bit about that.
Kiyana: The business I am apart of is bringing awareness to little black Kings and Queens through reading the truth about themselves. One of the books is called I’m Naturally Beautiful and it shows little Black Queens that they do not have to conform to what society says and shows through media. They are beautiful the way they are and can do anything they put their mind to!
Excellent. Clouded Container is a powerful poem. How did you come up with the title and what does it mean?
Kiyana: I came up with the title with some inspiration from a book I’m reading called Warrior Goddess: Become the woman who you are meant to be by Heatherash Amara. In the book, it talks about how you are a container and in your container you take things out and put things in. Whether it’s negative or positive! Sometimes the things we put into ourselves is not always good and it clouds our judgment. It causes nasty smudges and debris and you have to scrub real good to clear it out. I am guilty of many insecurities and making myself feel bad and on my journey of self-love, I have eliminated that. I have grown to love me and everything that makes me, flaws and all. I gave myself a good scrub down!! That’s how I got the title Clouded Container.
Wow. I like that container analogy. Well Kiyana, there are several lines in the poem that caught our attention. One was:
“Conditioned to see cracks in a broken mirror that never fell.”
Can you, briefly, explain that line to us?
Kiyana: It’s funny because that’s actually one of my favorite lines in my poem! What that line is saying is that in our society and the world we live in, they make it their duty to set a standard and make you feel like everything is wrong with you. That’s when insecurities and doubts and negative thoughts about yourself begin. You start to see yourself in this broken mirror. But once you remove the glasses that society prescribed to you, you realize you are so amazing and magical and that the mirror never moved, never fell and was never broken. It was just somebody else trying to define who YOU are!
First, congratulations to ALL of the poets who entered this year’s contest and to those who sent us the required information in case of a win! You certainly did not come to play! My judges and I have read and reread and read again! Some of your poems had us reading out loud and going over each line. Thank you so much for pouring out your heart and soul.
We have read EVERY single entry MORE than once!
We had not one, not two, but three sets of eyeballs on this thing!
The poems were so good that we are STILL choosing a few of the poems that didn’t place to feature in our debut online magazine!
How it Works
Tomorrow, August 23, 2018, we will profile our 4th place winner, Friday, our 3rd place, Saturday our 2nd place and then finally, Sunday AND Monday we will be featuring our Grand Prize Winner and learning more about the poet and the winning poem.
Below are the names of the winners and the names of their poems. Remember, over the next few days, we will be profiling each of them separately so make sure you are staying glued. You’ll learn more aboutthem and read their poems.
Our Runner-Ups will Receive:
Publication in our Magazine, Promotion on this Blog and SM, Special Author Spotlight
$50 Amazon Giftcard nested inside a specialty gift box, no fees, no expiration date, and redeemable towards millions of items storewide at Amazon.com
Signed paperback copy ofI am Soulpoetry book by Yecheilyah Ysrayl
1 Writing Custom Designed Journal and matching pen to encourage your writing journey!
Publication in our online Magazine
Publication and Promotion on this blog and SM, email list, and across social media
Special Individual Blog Promotion + Interview
ANOTHER DRUMM ROLL
OKAY OKAY! 🙂
*1st Place, Grand Prize Winner*
Jahkazia Richardson for
What If I Knew My Worth
CONGRATULATIONS ALL OF YOU!!
BUT WE ARE NOT DONE…
WE STILL HAVE A FEW POEMS THAT WILL MAKE IT INTO OUR MAGAZINE!
POEMS OUR JUDGES ALSO FOUND AMAZING:
S.R. Graham, Love in its Simplest Form
Olayemi Ifeoluwa, On Self-Love
Khaya Ronkainen, Running Brook
You will get to read their poems soon. Stay glued for details on the mag debut.
A Word from Yecheilyah…
I just want to say that I am so proud of these poets. It’s something refreshing and authentic about reading someone’s words and seeing the beauty of the person without having seen their faces or knowing much about their life. When we decided on the winners we didn’t know what these writers looked like or what their lives were like, just their words on the page. When their photos and bios came in it was heartwarming for me personally. We did not intend to choose all women for our finalists. We were so focused on the poems (they had us studying child!) that we didn’t stop to think about race or gender or any of that. Personally, I think that’s what I enjoyed the most about this contest. It was all about the heart and what spoke to the judges the most and I cannot wait until you get to read their poems! Here’s to many more contests to come. Let’s do it bigger next year! Yess.
I can’t leave without extending a special thank you to all of the women who made this contest possible:
I would like to welcome Yecheilyah to my blog today. She is a poet, and is doing a virtual blog tour. Today is the second day of the tour. You can find out more about her by visiting the other blogs she is appearing on. The dates and addresses are at the end of this post.
Tuesday, August 14, 2018 @ 1:00p EST
Yecheilyah (e-SEE-li-yah, affectionately nicknamed EC) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet and lives in Marietta, GA with her wonderful husband. She has been writing poetry since she was twelve years old and joined the UMOJA Poetry Society in High School where she learned to perfect her craft. In 2010, at 23 years-old, Yecheilyah published her first collection of poetry and in 2014, founded Literary Korner Publishing and The PBS blog where she enjoys helping other authors through…
Yecheilyah (e-See-li-yah, affectionately called EC) is an Author, Blogger, and Poet and lives in Marietta, GA with her wonderful husband. She has been writing poetry since she was twelve (12) years old and joined the UMOJA 23 years old Yecheilyah published her first collection of poetry and in 2014 founded Literary Korner Publishing and the PBS Blog where she enjoys helping other authors through her blog interviews and reviews. The PBS Blog has been name among Reedsy’s best book review of 2017 and 2018 and has helped many authors in their writing journey. I Am Soul is her fourth collection of Poetry.
…and we are still riding! It’s not over people! Not until the winner is crowned…
Special thank you to everyone who has participated in this contest in some way. Everyone who submitted poems shared the post on social media, volunteered to sponsor or judge, and just overall supported this endeavor. As the headline suggests, this is only my 2nd year hosting this contest. My hope is that each year it gets better and better and that we are capable of offering you more every year. I am excited to say that we are on track with that!
Last year, we received amazing support and crowned an amazing poet as our grand prize winner.CLICK HEREto read last year’s winning poem and to meet last years poet!
This year, we have leveled up big time!
2nd Annual – 27 poems, 16 contestants
I made some mistakes last year but everything is a learning experience and we wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t a first! So big ups to everyone who helped, sponsored, hosted, judged and participated in that modest but most excellent contest last year!
I took those lessons from last year, noticed the mistakes I made, and applied them to this contest and still, there’s much to learn. Which is why me and my team are already thinking of improvements for next year! We hope to do it even bigger by offering you more publishing packages. Eventually, we’d very much like to progress to offline open mic opportunities as we get better. The sky is not the limit here people!
As a reminder, we are announcing our grand prize winner and runner-ups on Wednesday, August 22, 2018. For a reminder of what is at stake, be sure to revisit the entry guidelines and prizes postHERE.
Poets, be sure to check your email (Spam or Junk folders) and submit the required information at your earliest convenience.
The rest of you, be sure you are following this blog and my social media handles (below) to stay in the loop and to be reminded of our crowned winner. Which King and Queen will take home the grand prize?
Submit a poem on self-love / self-care in some way, subscribe to the email list (you need to subscribe so you get updates on the contest) and then email your poem to: yecheilyah(at)yecheilyahysrayl(dot)com
Go Go GO!!
Be sure you are also following our sponsors and judges!
Follow Tehilayah’s Blog HERE Follow Lisa’s Blog HERE Follow Kathy’s Blog HERE Follow Tinzley’s Blog HERE