A Poem is Born

Photo by Marc Schulte on Unsplash

Not all poems are conceived in light

Some of them are buried in darkness

Surrounded by dirt and soil

gritted teeth

and clenched fists.

Sometimes the lyric is a resurrection of rage

a fire that is only quenched through spilled ink

on blank pages.

Sometimes poems are tears

because not all compositions are conceived

in well-lit rooms

some poems are seeds that only grow in darkness

or did you not know that is how seeds grow?

Hidden, covered and planted in the dirt

the sun coming in from someplace outside of itself

water pouring in from someplace outside of itself.

Some sonnets are crushed grapes

crumpled and left for dead

or did you not know that is how wine is made?

Something fermenting

festered and developing into something worse.

Some poems are nearly dead

before they reach the light.

Or did you not know that is how Messiah rose?

from the grave

from the pit

from the earth.

When you feel that you cannot write

that your life is a laughing contradiction

thrown back into your face

a joke everyone gets but you

when your hands tremble with uncertainty

too weak to hold the pen

too fragile to unvirgin the page

Write anyway.

Because not all poems are conceived in light

some of them, the best of them

are buried in darkness

and covered in dirt.

until suddenly, like a sprouting seed

a poem is born.


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We Are Not Negroes

Inspired by James Baldwin’s “I am Not Your Negro”

 

Negroes are born
without name
without record
they are boys despite age
Uncles
Johns
Negroes are sign language
using symbols to communicate
their existence
born without land
without placement
without ownership
what King referred to as
“a degeneration
of nobodyness”
they are sojourners
wandering from person to person
in search of themselves
Negroes are born
without heritage
without honor
without pride
without mothers
their umbilical cords
cut
their screams muffled with injustice
their bodies sold
and bellies stuffed with lies
Negroes bleed death
and cannot recognize their own corpse.

But we are not Negroes.

We are soil and Earth
lips that sing
mouths and song and praise.
We are bodies and flesh
veins and blood and salt
We are salt
of the Earth.

Seasoning.

We are crowns and rubies and pearls
eyes and nose
vision and smell.
We are scripture and fire
and dripping honey
We are blood, teeth, and bone
We are people
brave. proud. strong.
But we are not your

Negroes.

I Want My Stuff

I want my truth
before slavery.
I want customs and traditions
without being conditioned
I want unconditioned
hair.
I want my stuff.
I want my Kings and Queens
my silver and my gold
I want my laws and commandments and my stories
retold.
I want do-overs
for how we’ve been done over
I want my children re-educated
Give me raised fists
and two-parent households.
I want functioning Black family units,
Afros, Black power, curly hair
and I want my cocoa butter skin.

I want credit for all my skills.
I want my midwives
I want my tribes
I want my inventions before you re-invented them.
I want Lewis Howard Latimer
not Thomas Edison.
I want my covenants renewed
I want my 40 acres and a mule.
I want my land rich as I left it
I want my spirituality accepted
I want my names changed back
I want my Proverbs and freedom songs
and I want my Moses Black.
I want what you stole from me
I want King Solomon Black and comely.
I want it all back.

I want my stuff.

#LitMag Poetry Magazine 2019 is LIVE

LitMag 2019: Vol 1, Issue 1


Poetry is all around us. It’s in the wind’s whistle, the chirping of the birds, the kiss of a loved one. Poetry is my husband’s scent and my mother’s smile. We would like to welcome you to the first issue of the Literary Korner Publishing Magazine (LitMag) for poets. LitMag publishes once a year and is inspired by Yecheilyah’s Annual Poetry Contests featuring poems written by the talented authors who have entered and won from the previous year. As you read, we ask that you think about what it means to love yourself, deeply and authentically.

These are not lullabies or children’s tales. What you are about to witness is each poet’s personal testimony on the transformational power and strength of self-worth. “There was refuge in my brokenness,” says grand prize winner Jahkazia Richardson. “Deep in the soul of my being, I awakened.” As you read, we ask that you think about these lyrics and we hope these poets’ words will help you come home to yourself. “I reverse engineer my collapse,” says Nailah Shami, second place runner-up, “with unhurried tithes to myself.”

Your support helps fund the poetry contest so we can do this year after year.

>>>Get it in Digital or Print<<<

*Free digital version when you get it in print!
Perks: Digital gives you a PDF and web browser version of the Mag.
Print gives you a PDF and web browser version as well as a hardcopy shipped to you. The print copy is a heavy-duty, high-quality booklet in full color. Standard magazine size at 8.25”x10.75”, 54 pages and perfect bound. Ships in sturdy protective cardboard packaging to protect during shipping.

*When sharing about the magazine on sm be sure to use the hashtag #LitMag! Thanks so much.

To be featured in next year’s edition, be sure you are participating in this year’s contest! Click Here for full details on entry, prizes, and guidelines.

poetry contest

The Poetry Magazine Proof

Featuring Jahkazia, Nia, Nailah, Kiyana, Tehilayah, Khaya, Olayemi, Zerahyah, Tinzley, Kathy , Lisa, and S.R. Graham.

So I come home and look what’s here! The proof for our Poetry Magazine featuring the winners and honorable mentions of last year’s contest. It’s so beautiful! I am happy with the way it came out. It’s thick, sturdy, and colorful! The picture doesn’t do it justice. It looks more like the digital version in how it pops (images are not pixelated! Phew). It’s truly a work of art.

Now, I gotta look through this baby and see if there are any changes that are needed so I’m pushing the release date back to Monday, June 3rd. Both hard copies and digital downloads will be available online and I’ll give you the details for that. Wanna be published in next year’s issue? Be sure to enter this year’s contest and win for the 2020 Edition! We also promote our sponsors in the mag, their business, books or services.

 About LitMag

This Literary Korner Publishing Magazine (LitMag) is an extension of Yecheilyah’s Annual Poetry Contests featuring poems written by the talented authors who have entered and won. We would like to welcome you to the first issue of the Literary Korner Publishing Magazine for poets, releasing Monday, June 3, 2019. Inside you’ll meet our Grand Prize Winner, Runner-Ups, and Honorable Mentions. You’ll also read an inspiring article from one of our sponsors and get a look at some phenomenal books to check out! Each year, we will publish a new issue featuring the winning poets of the previous year. This year (2019), we introduce you to the winners of our 2018 contest and next year, you’ll meet the winners of this year’s contest in our 2020 edition.

This year’s contest is officially open to entries!

Be sure you are following this blog for updates. 

Click on the link below for full details on entering, prizes, and all that jazzz! (*new fav word haha*)

 

>>>Enter the 2019 Poetry Contest!<<<

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Laura DiNovis Berry

 

What is your name and where are you from?

I’m Laura DiNovis Berry and I grew up in Lititz, PA, a town that once had its own chocolate factory and now draws famous musicians in.

Yess to chocolate. What genre do you write in, why?

I primarily write poetry. I dabble in short stories, but poetry is like painting with words and there’s something about verse that constantly drives me to keep pushing myself to improve in that arena.

Got another poet in the house ya’ll. When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

I self-published my first poetry chapbook, Bright Pink Ink, right before my wedding last year. It was extremely liberating. I was planning a wedding and a move from Pennsylvania to Texas so having the ability to channel some of my frustrations and nerves into that book provided me with a fantastic stress reliever.

Congrats on the book AND wedding! Laura, are you employed outside of writing?

I am! I have had the pleasure of working and learning from a wide variety of jobs. Currently I work as a Drama Teacher and work with children all the way from kindergarten up to high school. On the whole, it has been a wonderful experience.

I love teaching children. What’s the best thing about working with children?

There is nothing like working with human beings who have only been alive for a few years!

Awwue. Right?

Their take on everything is fascinating. They can be exceptionally mean and fabulously kind – the reminder that they are still learning how to function in this world is sobering, but makes me feel extremely privileged to be a part of that growth. It can also result in some hilarious situations like having the kids be convinced that your hair is a wig since you’ve cut it short. I had to let my class of six year old tug on it to verify.

Available now on Amazon.

I understand also you write free poetry book reviews? Tell us about that.

I do! Book reviews are desperately needed in the poetry community so I created Berry’s Poetry Book Reviews last year. This is a platform for poets so they may reach out to a broader audience! The reviews I provide are free but I donate 10% of of my earnings and donations from patrons to a non-profit organization every year. Last year the beneficent of of these program was the Kennett Square Garage & Youth Center, an after school program which aims to empower middle and high school youth. This year, our combined efforts will be helping Lambda Literary!

Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?

Rugby has had a grip on me since college. Right now I play with the Corpus Christi Clams Women’s Rugby Club. I will be moving soon, sadly, but I have actually begun working on a full poetry collection inspired by the female rugby player’s experience so I don’t think I’ll be able to stop playing any time soon!

Alright now so we got another book in the works. If you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what would the finished house be like?

My husband would sniff at this, but there’s a very good chance it would end up looking like an earth witch’s hobbit hole.

Whaat.

It would be warm, cozy and lead out into a garden filled with vegetable, guarded by maple trees.

Okay that sounds better. Scared us there a moment. What skill do you think you’ve mastered?

Oh, that’s easy. The skill of being ridiculous.

Lol. Care to explain? What’s ridiculous about you?

Well, I am generally known to be silly – it is not an uncommon occurrence for me to start dancing…wherever really. I like to have a good time and make people laugh.

Yea, laughing is lit. Does blogging help you to write?

It does and it doesn’t. It helps in the sense that I practice different forms of writing (more journal-esque writing), but it hurts because I distract myself from working on my poetry.

Understood. Laura, life is not always pretty. We all experience hardship every now and again. What is your best advice for reducing stress?

Exercise – it doesn’t even have to be anything intense. Just the other night my husband and I were in, not quite a fight, let’s say more of a spat, but walking – taking a nice walk outside together – really helped both of us calm down and better engage with each other.

Nice. What do you love about yourself?

My parents once said I don’t know the concept of failure, and I think that is definitely something that I love about myself.

Thank you Laura for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!


Bio.

Laura DiNovis Berry recognizes that poetry is a near magical craft that she will never fully understand but will forever be held in fascination by it. When she is not working on her own poetry, she provides free book reviews for her fellow contemporary poets.

Be Sure to follow this author Online!

Twitter – @poetryberry
Instagram – @berryspoetryreviews

Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE.

3rd Annual Poetry Contest 2019: Tips and Best Practices

poetry contest


We are so excited to meet all the amazing poets who will be entering this year’s contest! Prizes include a $50 Barnes and Noble gift-card, promotion, and publishing in our 2nd Edition, 2020 Poet Magazine. Below are some tips and best practices for bettering your chances of winning this contest! (For the video version of this post, go to my IG account and watch the EcTV version!)

  1. Read the rules (CLICK HERE FOR THIS YEAR’S GUIDELINES)

 

  1. Make sure your poem lines up with the theme surrounding one of these words: Strength, Courage, Wisdom, Faith (Read the rules).

 

  1. To qualify as entry you MUST subscribe to my email list. CLICK HERE to sign up. Then, go ahead and send your poem to yecheilyah@yecheilyahysrayl.com. Don’t rush to write your poem and forget to sign up for the email list. Last year’s winner got her poem in just before the deadline and won the entire competition so take your time and do it right. The best way to remember is to sign up for the email list first and then spend the rest of the time writing your poem. (Read the rules)

 

  1. Deadline for entry is August 1st. Winners announced November 1st. (Read the rules)

 

  1. Poems are judged based on ORIGINALITY, style, and how closely it relates to the theme. Poems cannot be previously published in a book or online and plagiarism is cause for immediate elimination.

 

  1. Pay Attention to the theme: If you submit a poem that is not about Strength, Courage, Wisdom, or Faith in some capacity you put yourself at risk for elimination. Why? Because poems that don’t follow the rules are one of the first to go. My team has to read through a lot of poems and you don’t wanna make it easier for them to disqualify you by not…following the rules.

For a full list of the rules, guidelines,

and prizes CLICK HERE.