Yecheilyah’s 4th Annual Poetry Contest Grand Prize Winner 2021: Tiffany James

Introducing Our Grand Prize Winner

Tiffany James

Instagram: ncouragetouch

Please, tell us what inspired your poem.

I saw the competition pop up on my IG thread, and the theme of love caught my eye immediately. Being that I am a woman known for always speaking about love and pride myself in how I love people, there was no question on whether I would enter the poetry contest. In addition, I had already written a poem on love and initially submitted that poem because I was not sure if I would have enough time to create a new poem. However, after submitting my first poem, I read how participants could submit two poems and the challenge to us poets to look beyond the normal description of love we often see in poetry. This forced me to visualize all the different perspectives of love.

I love it. What do you love most about poetry?

I love that poetry takes on a life of its own. It can be a song, a narrative, a teacher, a friend, a love letter, a movement, etc. It has its own language to the reader because poetry is personal. It not only speaks to us, but it has the power to move us individually in various ways as if it knows each of us intimately. Does that make sense?

Yes, it does! How did you get started writing?

I started writing when I was very young- it was my escape, and writing was my voice. Although I was outgoing and never had a problem with talking, I struggled with my identity (being understood), so my journals were the only place where I could be myself. I loved how words had the ability to say what I wanted to express vocally. In short, when I wrote, I was free to be me, raw and unapologetic.IMG_6117

You are an author. What has that journey been like for you?

I have to say exciting! I love to hear how something I wrote transformed or inspired someone, which is mostly the core of my writing. But it is also hard because if you are not an established author, it is hard to get your work out there when you are self-published. I had to decide to enjoy the journey no matter what, but your greatest desire is for your work to be read as an author—the journey itself has also been an adventurous teacher. There have been many doors of opportunities that opened for me that I never imagined. For example, my book has been used as a resource in a business. I also use my book as a resource in my work as an encouragement coach, not to mention the speaking opportunities.

You are doing such excellent work. I love it.

As I mentioned earlier, you challenged me. That challenge forced me to look inwardly beyond the “emotion of love” beyond “conceptualizing love,” and I was able to see love in ways that superseded my surface emotions and mental awareness. Realizing that love has always been present, but we are often unaware of its presence. I can admit, I didn’t recognize or appreciate it when I was younger because I allowed others to define love for me.

So, I wanted to give tribute to that type of love and the givers of such love. When they gave, they gave all they had. So as the memories washed over me, I began to write, and it flowed from my being. I saw faces- my mother, grandmother, neighbors, friends. I saw our ancestors, their scarred backs, and forgotten history. When I finished, there was joy and sadness within my heart, and I was proud and, without a second thought, submitted it. It deserved to be read even if I didn’t win. I wrote this poem quickly as the memories washed over me.

That’s beautiful and I can tell you put a lot of thought behind your poem. It’s deep and relatable. I felt right away how set-apart your poem was from the beginning.

What would you say is your writing strength and weakness?

My strength is that I can create a piece quickly. If I am passionate about a topic, the creativity flows. I also love taking chances as a writer, even if I am uncertain if I can write about a particular topic or theme. I put myself out there! I believe it is because I know myself, so I am no longer writing to be affirmed as a writer. I fell in love with my voice, whether written or verbal.

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Wait a minute. Sis said, “I know myself, so I am no longer writing to be affirmed as a writer.” That’s a bar.

Okay, go on, lol.

My weakness. Wow, there are two that come to mind. The short one is learning to get out of my head to fully unlock the untapped potential and creativity that I know I have. My second weakness is more of a past weakness, which is fear because it hindered my writing for so long. 

I love it! And I think it’s what sets you apart. Are you working on any writing projects/books?

I am currently a full-time student, so I only take on small writing projects for people, such as writing personalized poetry pieces or short stories for birthdays, events, or special projects.

Oh, that’s cool!

I have more books in me, but I am trying to get through these last two years of schooling. I recently, right before school started, for the first time, had the opportunity to work on a script project for a short series, and I can’t wait to see where it goes. There are still more episodes to be written, and I hope I have the time to be on the rest of the project. I will say this, scriptwriting gave me a new desire to write a fictional book and maybe dabble even more into scriptwriting for films.

Yes! I see it.

Where do you see yourself a year from now?

On my last year of college, celebrating being a writer on the series project I mentioned earlier and seeing it on Netflix or Hulu. My book being not only in other states but other countries and being a best seller. I want to impact more lives through my encouragement, coaching, and writings, and I expect more unexpected opportunities that blow my mind! I am also a huge supporter, so I want to be in a position to help beginner writers in whatever way I can.

That all sounds amazing and I pray you go as far as you are destined to.

And without further ado, I introduce to you “Love Is,” by Tiffany James

Grandma’s Hands by Curtis James, June 27th, 2011

Love is distinctively woven into the fabric of our being
experienced through the ordinary each day
a silent wave of an old memory washing over us; a segue to our humanity.

Love is home, love is grandma’s baby
love is survival and hustling;
cleaning toilets, scrubbing floors, changing diapers, washing clothes by hand, and layaway plans.

Love is spiritual; a scared village, the spirit’s libation, broken history, and love is migration love is food stamps, government cheese, grits with sugar, and collard greens
love is the sand between my toes.

Love is the prize at the bottom of the crackerjack box, love is hopscotch, and double-dutch love is afro-puffs, two French braids and your first French kiss
love is overtime, colored easter eggs, Santa Claus tales, and hand-me-downs.

Love is that switch from the tree, love is praying hands and bended knees
love is loud, silent, large, small, and intriguingly complex —Love is Proud
love is scarred backs and stubborn roots —old hymns and sung negro spirituals.

Love is “I told you so”
love is easy like Sunday morning
love is Betty Wright, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and Patti LaBelle;
a brilliant collaboration of lyrical hands fighting for the same devotion because love is Soul Train.

Love is rich soil to the soul
love is fearless laughter, getting up at 6am, sleepless nights, untold stories and second chances love is the ancestors’ wisdom —the great orator and the greatest debater.

Love is underestimated, yet chosen
love is fierce; righteously angry, patient, and sacrificial — it is the caged bird singing love is the paint, painter, and work of art.

Love is a savior —the hero’s journey
Love is amazing grace
Love is wealth, life, and death.

Love is not weak; it bows down to no one yet surrenders itself to everyone by its own authority — love is badass. Every time I close my eyes, I witness love.

Love is distinctively woven into the fabric of our being.
experienced through the ordinary each day

© by Tiffany James 2021

Today wraps up our poet spotlight for the 4th Annual Poetry Contest. I want to thank everyone who has participated and supported our poets this year. If you want to help coordinate or sponsor next year’s contest, please reach out to me at yecheilyah@yecheilyahysrayl.com. I love hosting these contests, but I can’t do it without your help.

Congratulations again to all our poets!!

You can find their bios on the dedicated page for year four.

Yecheilyah’s 4th Annual Poetry Contest 2021

Yecheilyah’s 3rd Annual Poetry Contest 2019

Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest 2018

Yecheilyah’s 1st Annual Poetry Contest 2017

Yecheilyah’s 4th Annual Poetry Contest Winners 2021: Jasmina Jammison

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Introducing Jasmina Jammison

Instagram: jillrxse

Please, tell us what inspired your poem.

I wanted to challenge myself with this poem. I have a love for Greek Mythology that I wanted to incorporate into it. But that is just a part of it. My main inspiration was my current relationship. I’ve learned patience and communication, which was something I lacked in other relationships. I also learned self-love and how important it is to have. You’re supposed to be learning how to love someone else, and the best way to start that is to know how you want and need to be loved first.

Well said!

What do you love most about poetry?

I love the freedom of expression when it comes to poetry. Everyone’s voice is different, but we could all be going through the same thing, and your words need to be heard. Poetry is healing and therapy to me. That’s what I love the most. Being able to put everything down on paper and releasing it. I perform most of my poems, and the stage is where I get the most out of it. Letting the pain and stress or discomfort out in the open for everyone to hear and not to have to worry about it be bottled up inside anymore.

Beautiful. We’d love to hear you recite your poetry one day! We’ll have to set that up. For now, you are a new contestant. In what way do you think contests such as this one are beneficial to authors?

Contests like these are beneficial because of the exposure and the opportunity to step out and be bold. I stepped out of my comfort zone when entering, and I placed. Sometimes you have to step out on faith and believe in yourself, and these contests give authors like myself a place to be bold.

How did you get started writing?

I started writing young. I never really took it seriously. I just knew I loved poetry. I started taking my poetry seriously during my first year of college. I read a poem I wrote to a friend, and she asked me why I hadn’t performed any of my pieces. I had terrible stage fright back then. I would never have dreamed of actually being on stage and performing something I wrote. It scared me to think of what others would think about my inner thoughts, but I loved it. Loved opening my truth up to others because some people felt just the way I did. I found a family that wanted to help me perfect my craft and push myself. I owe a lot to the Deep Release Poetry Society at Valdosta State University. Without that organization, I wouldn’t have challenged myself or continued with my writing.

I admire all the winning poems this year because you guys stepped outside the box.

In your case, you used the Greek Goddess Aphrodite, the ancient goddess of love and beauty. What went into this decision? What was the process of writing this poem like for you?

I pulled all my best ideas into this one. I wanted to make sure everything made sense, so I did some research to ensure I had my Greek Mythology right. The first night I started writing, something happened. I can’t remember what exactly, but I did not finish it that night. It actually took me longer than I thought to finish the ending, but it came together. I enjoyed writing this poem because of the care I put into it.

What would you say is your writing strength and weakness?

My writing strength would have to be relatability. I write to make the reader feel what I mean, not just read it. I want my words to bring out the emotion as much as possible to get the message across. When it comes to my weakness, it would have to be not finishing certain pieces and stopping. I have a bad habit sometimes of having writer’s block and just leaving it there. I have many short poems that need some love.

I feel you. Are you working on any writing projects/books?

I am working on a project and hopefully a book as well. It is still in the beginning stages, but I am hoping to get it launched in the next year.

Yess! Well, be sure to let me know. I’m here for it.

Where do you see yourself a year from now?

I see myself winning more contests, haha.

Okay, you sound like Dondi!

But seriously, I see myself taking my writing to the next level. I know that I have the potential to do more, and I’m ready to act. Sometimes we fall short of knowing what we are capable of, and we stop ourselves from doing more. But this time next year, I hope to have one book under my belt.

That’s right, sis. Speak it into existence! Be on the lookout for her book next year, ya’ll.

And without further ado, I introduce to you “The Secret Garden,” by Jasmina Jammison

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Photo by Kilyan Sockalingum on Unsplash

I once dreamed I lived in the Secret Garden
Where I mastered patience and understanding
Where dreams were reality
Where faith didn’t have to be the size
Of a mustard seed
And she lived there with me

We knew each other in and out
In this garden, we were mythological
Like something out of a Greek novel
Aphrodite graced us with her presence

And we learned love without conditions.
We shared passions and pains
Learned how to inhale peace with every breath
She loved me for just me, every ounce of me
But this is a Secret Garden after all

I woke up
Because dreams are only real when you’re asleep
There was no us
It was just me
No garden to hide in
No one to love my flaws
Cupid didn’t exist in this world
No arrows to hit me with
No infinite peace

So I learned how to build
How to pick up bricks of my past
Lay down and surrender to every slab
Of cement in between
And mold a fence of love and understanding

We can build the Secret Garden.
With every ounce of despair
With every love lost
With the love of oneself
We can build a mansion

I know this because she is here
In the walls of this fence
And she loves me for just me

She picked up my bricks
And helped me build
I put down her insecurities
As she laid down my losses in cement
Together we know peace and intimacy

We built this mansion on a foundation
Of affliction
She gave me the blueprints to her heart
And I made a note of every measurement
Handmade every detail to perfection
Carved my name in the outline of her heart
And I pray she’ll keep me there forever

Because this love only comes
Once in a lifetime
we made sure this house wouldn’t collapse
These walls are too sturdy
We never needed the Secret Garden
To build what we have
Aphrodite taught us that

Copyright©2021 Jasmina Jammison

Yecheilyah’s 4th Annual Poetry Contest Winners 2021: Dondi A. Springer

Introducing Dondi A. Springer

Instagram: napalmjax

Please, tell us what inspired your poem.

My inspiration for this poem was really the essence of life itself. Without love, there is no life.

Hmm. I like that! What do you love most about poetry?

I love the wordplay, how you can paint a picture, tell a story, or escape into your own little world. Better yet, you can sing a beautiful song and not sing one note.

You are a returning contestant. What would you say are some benefits of contests like this to writers?

Some benefits of a contest like this is not just the exposure as a poet or writer, but the opportunity to meet other poets from all over. Plus, being able to showcase versatility and depth with a theme.

What I always admire about your poetry is what I like about your answers so far. It’s powerful in its simplicity. You don’t say a lot, but what you do say, I can tell, is from your heart, from the soul. That’s not easy to do.

Tell us, what was the process of writing this poem like for you?

The process of writing this poem for me was actually kind of challenging. Writing to a theme is not always easy, as it makes you think and stretch your creative muscle. Once I got the direction I wanted to go with, the words came easy.

What would you say is your writing strength and weakness?

My writing comes mostly from my life’s experiences and personal growth. So I would have to say that’s my writing strength and my weakness. I have no technical training. I just like to write. When it comes to poetry, I just throw the rules out the window and write it how I feel it.

I love it! And I think it’s what sets you apart. Are you working on any writing projects/books?

Yes. I am working on a project and a book. I have a short inspirational book called “Can’t Stay Here” that I’m doing edits on right now. Also, I’m working on a memoir about my journey into veganism, called “Vegan-is-M(e)/Deeper Than A Diet.”

Nice! Well, we congratulate you on all your endeavors and wish you the best. I’m really looking forward to t”Can’t Stay Here!”

Where do you see yourself a year from now?

A year from now, I see myself back here, competing for the grand prize, and blogging.

That’s the spirit! Dondi said he coming back, ya’ll! I love to see it.

And without further ado, I introduce to you “Love Is,” by Dondi A. Springer

Photo by Joseph Barrientos on Unsplash

Love is a life that flows like a fluid
An infinite vibration like waves of an ocean
Touching your soul, the arrow of a cupid
That breath of fresh air, when life’s undercurrent comes grasping
To some, it comes freely,
to others, it comes while kneeling.
That long labor of love is where you will find compassion
The blind will see the light to walk out of their plight
It is the fluid of life
More than just a feeling, love becomes a part of your being
It runs deep in your veins,
limitless like the astroplane
Love makes us all relate, with no space for hate
So we are all connected in this space
Love is…

Copyright©2021 Dondi A. Springer

Yecheilyah’s 4th Annual Poetry Contest Winners 2021: ZerahYah Ysrayl

Introducing ZerahYah Ysrayl

Instagram: shining_of_yah

Please, tell us what inspired your poem.

In a world that sometimes seems void of all things good, being a single woman, I thought of love on an intimate level. My mind processed what it would feel like and look like, and that poem resulted from that vision.

It’s a beautiful poem and it’s the only one that spoke of love from a parental point of view. You named the poem “Unknown.” Can you walk us through what’s behind that title? Why the unknown?

I named my poem “Unknown” because up until that point, love was something for me that wasn’t just surface. It was a deep, soul-warming feeling from bringing life into this world where I experienced the unknown. It was different, it was new, and it was foreign to me. I now know that parental love is the best love. Often, we associate love with love between man and woman, overlooking the love between mother and child. This love never changes. No matter what, it never wavers. In my thought process, the unknown is the best known, my experience.

What do you love most about poetry?

Poetry is one of the most beautiful forms of expression I have ever encountered. It’s like giving a voice to the soul. It can be a healer to both the writer as well as the reader.

I agree! Tell us, how did you get started writing?

I grew up in a broken home. The chaos of it all would have my mind racing so much that I started writing my thoughts and my feelings down just to relieve the pain. Then, when I entered middle school as a form of escape, I joined a drama class. The first poem I ever heard was “A Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes. It was short but powerful. At that moment, I decided I wanted to turn this pain into something beautiful, and the process began.

You are a returning contestant, and it is something I always admired about you. You always came in as an honorable mention, but you didn’t give up. You kept coming back, and it has paid off. This year, you have placed.

How does that feel and what is behind the persistence? What makes you keep entering?

I’ve heard many say that they don’t enter contests because it can weaken your confidence, or they don’t want their art judged. I’m the opposite. I have never been a quitter. Although I’m still a babe in this art, my goal is to perfect, which can only be done by challenging myself, taking criticism from those more experienced than me, and rendering myself vulnerable and humble to those that have spent years perfecting their craft.

Every year I have accepted my honorable mention not as a defeat but as a means to come back stronger and more mature. This year, I placed, and it felt good. However, my work is not done. I will continue to examine and push myself. I’m coming for that number one spot. They say practice makes perfect.

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Listen. It’s the confidence for me! Sis said she coming.

What would you say are some benefits of contests like this to writers?

It gives the writer exposure, and it helps to strengthen the skills of the writer. You get to share a little bit of yourself with the world, and you never know who you may touch along your journey.

What was the process of writing this poem like for you?

I have always been my worst critic. However, I wanted some maturity to show in my writing skills on this one since the topic was so heavy. I wrote and rewrote a few times. But once I tapped into what the word love really meant to me, the words became clearer. All I needed to do was write.

What would you say is your writing strength and weakness?

My strength would definitely be my ability to speak on any topic without fear. I can bare my soul with complete confidence that my words will resonate with someone. My weakness is that I’m not consistent and unable to remember what I write, so it stays in a book most of the time. I need to share my talent more.

Are you working on any writing projects/books?

I’m currently not working on anything in particular. I write all the time, so I’m just waiting for the opportunity to share.

Where do you see yourself a year from now?

I will continue to mature my writing skills. I also would like to work on some spoken words. Writing a poem is one thing, but reciting it is a whole different experience. Poetry is such an underrated art. I want to continue to be a part of keeping poetry alive. Who knows what the future may hold. My book may be coming to a store near you soon.

That’s what I wanna hear!

And without further ado, I introduce to you “Unknown,” by ZerahYah Ysrayl:

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Photo by Mustafa Omar on Unsplash

The epitome of love I carried in my womb.
Every flutter, every kick brought about abundant joy.
Nauseous and excitingly waiting to give birth to a nation.
As my body morphed to make space
a delectable glow filled my face.
The heartbeat was music to my ears
like an ancestral drum beating in the distance
silencing my fears.

The weight on my bladder
the swelling in my feet
it was worth it cause it was pure love I was to meet.
As stretch marks began to cover my abdominal,
I begin to feel something phenomenal.
The conception of perfection
a body within a body
ten toes, two feet
the divinity of the creator giving life through me.

It was an umbilical connection being nurtured from the beginning, and it has no end
As my pelvis expanded,
the pain sent a thrust through my veins
straight to my brain.
Like a volcanic eruption, I think that’s the best way to explain
My introduction took 15 hours, no sedatives
in the room me and my grandmother
my closest relative.

My first gaze upon his tiny face,
my heart was beating faster than the normal pace.
At that moment, I experienced three degrees of love
Unconditional, Agape, and Infinite
For me, parent to child love was and is
the ultimate.

Copyright©2021 ZerahYah Ysrayl

 

90s Throwback Thursday Jams: I’ll Be Missing You, Diddy

“Every step I take, every move I make
Every single day, every time I pray
I’ll be missing you
Thinkin’ of the day, when you went away
What a life to take, what a bond to break
I’ll be missing you”

No Whining Wednesday – Struggles and Strength

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Welcome back to another episode of No Whining Wednesday! Today, you cannot whine, criticize, or complain.

If you are new to this blog or new to this segment please visit the NWW page here for past episodes.

Our poets are preparing for their interviews, so we have time to squeeze in an NWW. Today’s inspiring word comes from yours truly:

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Chicago, Summer, 1997

EC is ten years old, and that dollar she got for having a good report card is burning a hole in her pocket. She really wanna get ice cream from the ice cream truck singing down the street. But first, she’ll have to get rid of these toys. You see, EC and her twin had a habit of bringing all their barbies outside so they could play with their friends down the street. As the sky grew darker and the street lights came on, EC thought she’d run across the street, buy the ice cream and be back before mama started yelling. It was the perfect plan.

“Hold my toys.”

“But mama said it’s time to come in the house,” her twin whined.

EC rolled her eyes. “Girl, just hold my stuff.”

But EC never made it to that ice cream truck. She was hit by a car just seconds after dashing across the street.

The good news is she lived, which is how she’s writing this right now. But her seemingly simple act of rebellion would have a lifetime impact.

Back to 2021

Last week, I got caught in the rain, and I mean, I got soaked.

I went home, made dinner, and all was well until later that night when my leg started to ache. It wasn’t a big deal to me because I am used to it. Plus, I expected to feel some pain in my thigh because of the rain.

When the car hit me, it broke the bone in my thigh. It was not repairable and in its place is a steel plate I’ll live with for the rest of my life. But what’s this got to do with the rain?

Metal in the body can irritate a nearby tendon or other soft tissues or cause minor to severe pain related to weather changes, especially when many years have gone by and the metal is infused with the body. This is because metal implants transfer heat and cold better than human tissue.

“In other words, while joint conditions may not physically worsen, the pain can seem more intense. Occasionally there is some aching around the scar, which can become worse in cold weather…this is more common with patients who have a metal implant.”

Dr. Tuvi Mendel of Quad City-based Orthopedic Specialist

People with metal implants might feel the cold more in the implant area during lower temperatures. Some people are also affected by the rain.

“Most often, weather-related pain occurs in injured joints or at the site of a previously broken bone. While scientists aren’t entirely sure exactly what causes pain when it rains, it is known to be related to barometric pressure. The barometric pressure drops when storms are rolling in, and somehow, the body detects this change, causing swelling of soft tissue or expansion of the joint fluid. These changes in the collection are what ultimately lead to pain.”

https://aica.com/why-do-past-injuries-hurt-when-it-rains/

The most common way we know how struggle strengthens us is when exercising and how our muscles respond to growing challenges. But what’s less obvious is how this same principle applies to the mind. We pray for strength, but we don’t always realize that we are also asking for a struggle.

Stay with me.

Strength does not fall out of the sky. It is the result of overcoming something difficult. Anytime those struggles arrive in our lives, we can activate the willpower to overcome, which builds mental strength.

Every painful experience offers us a chance to develop emotional fortitude.

That summer, I couldn’t go outside unless someone carried me or I used my walker. You might be wondering about a wheelchair. I couldn’t use that because they used surgical staples that went from just about my knee until the end of my thigh.

Because of this, I did not wear a cast but a self-adhering wrap was wrapped around my entire right leg, from my thigh, where the staples were down to my feet. I was blessed not to have to endure the itchiness of the cast, and my skin could breathe when we changed the wrap, but I also could not bend my leg for weeks.

This is exactly how my wrap looked.

When I say we think it’s our wins that make us stronger, but it’s really our struggles, I mean that challenges and struggles are an opportunity to become wiser. We all need encouragement, and it feels good to be acknowledged for our accomplishments. Praise has its place, but it’s the struggle that grows us.

If everything is always easy, you won’t know how to function when things fall apart. As the saying goes, “the man who falls seven times and stands up eight is stronger than the person who has never fallen.”

Consider the standing in the grocery line longer than expected example. This is an opportunity to be patient. Who knows the next time you will need this skill? These abilities are developed the more they are used.

I always hated math as a kid, but I like that it challenged me mentally. The very fact that it was “hard” is why I needed to do more of it.

By the way, Firefox crashed after I wrote this. I had to wait like ten minutes for everything to start back up. The computer decided it would take its precious time, and I felt myself getting irritated. Then, it crashed again only the second time I was not as annoyed. Apparently, I need more patience.

Introducing The Grand Prize Winner of Yecheilyah’s 4th Annual Poetry Contest 2021

Introducing the Grand Prize Winner of Yecheilyah’s 4th Annual Poetry Contest 2021

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As soon as I read the first few lines of Love Is by Tiffany, I whispered, “Yes.” Determined not to play favoritism, I sat it aside, but every time I came back to it, I would whisper, “Yes.”

I knew from the start this was the poem we were looking for when we decided on this prompt.

When I said this year, our theme was love, I wanted to see how the poets would explore love beyond what we typically think of it. More than romantic love and even self-love. What other faces does love have?

“Love is food stamps, government cheese, grits with sugar, and collard greens. Love is the sand between my toes. Love is the prize at the bottom of crackerjack box. Love is hopscotch and Double Dutch. Love is Afro-puffs, two French braids, and your first French kiss.”

As someone who grew up in the Robert Taylor Projects on Chicago’s south side, I can relate to these words. I remember government cheese and powdered milk and how my mama used to french braid me and my sister’s hair. Sometimes we had one french braid to the back and sometimes two. While we didn’t have much, we had love.

These are the kinds of lines that set Tiffany’s poem apart. She went deeper and took us back to our roots. Her poem showed us other sides of love and it was relatable:

“Love is easy like Sunday morning. Love is Betty Wright, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and Patti LaBelle, a brilliant collaboration of lyrical hands fighting for the same devotion because love is Soul Train. Love is rich soil to the soul.”

As you can see from these excerpts, Tiffany understood the assignment. Let me introduce and congratulate our grand prize winner, who will, along with the other prizes, be taking home a full publishing package toward whatever book she writes in the future.

Congratulations Mrs. James!

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Tiffany James | The Personal Encourager, Founder of Encouraging Touch Enterprises Writer/Encouragement  Coach, Spoken Word Artist/StoryTeller, Author of “Living in the Land of I Am- Your Life Story Reveals your Purpose | IG: ncouragetouch

Tiffany James is an incredible motivator, speaker, and gifted storyteller. She is married and has three beautiful daughters, who are her world. Tiffany’s mission is to inspire everyone to own their voice, walk with their heads high when they walk in a room because they belong in the room, and rock their greatness while celebrating the greatness in others. 

Tiffany knows firsthand how hard it is to be the cheerleader behind your dreams, after deciding in 2007, when her corporate career came to an end due to the economy, to pursue her passion of using her voice and writings to impact change. It has been a beautiful, exciting, and sobering journey. There have been many times over the years she found herself struggling with uncertainty from the many disappointments and considered giving up and returning to Corporate America. Thankfully during that time, she had surrounded herself with a strong tribe who believed in her dreams as much as she did. 

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It is now her mission to be a voice of encouragement to people all over, regardless of their journey, to be bold enough to answer the call of the dream. IMG_6117

www.encouragingtouch.com

Tiffany passionately and consistently achieves this mission through her writings, workshops, storytelling, encouragement-coaching, speaking, and her new, inspiring book, Living in the Land of I Am- Your Life Journey Reveals Your PurposeShe teaches you success is not defined by how many figures you make but by the courage, it takes to stay true to yourself while pursuing your purpose. Her mentoring motto, “Greatness is about serving others with the gift that God has given you.”

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be spotlighting each of these poets individually here on the blog and social media. We will start with #4 and countdown from there. Be sure you are subscribed to this blog as we dig deeper into what inspired the winning poems.