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.

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.

Yecheilyah’s 3rd Annual Poetry Contest 2019: Rules, Guidelines, and Prizes

poetry contest

It’s that time of the year again!!!

Submissions Accepted

Now – August 1, 2019

Winners Announced:

Friday, November 1, 2019.


Theme:

The purpose of this year’s theme is to use words that empower and inspire us to be the best version of ourselves. We talked about Self-Love last year and now it’s time we spoke it into existence and live it through our actions. 

Choose any one of these words to dedicate your poem to.

Strength, Courage, Wisdom, Faith

Guidelines:

  • The poems submitted must be original work. This means that the poems must be written by you. If we find a poem that resembles any previously published poem in any way that poet will be disqualified from the competition. Poems must be your own work.
  • The poem must not be previously published in a book or anywhere online (including your blog)

 

  • The poems will be judged based on originality, writing, style and how closely the poem adheres to the theme.

 

  • We are judges of the competition only. All poets are welcomed to enter regardless of race, religion, political views or location.

*Poems using discriminatory language will be disqualified from the competition.

  • All poems must be written in English. In the event a poet wins this competition and their residence is outside of the U.S., any prize requiring shipping (if any) will be awarded in digital form. ex. ebooks /e-cards.
  • All poets must be at least 18 years of age to submit.
  • There is no entry fee for this competition, but you must subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE to enter. Anyone who subscribes only to unsubscribe before the competition is complete (any time before the winners are announced) will be disqualified for the win. Any subscription that has not been made before 11:59pm EST on August 1st will be disqualified.
  • Authors of the winning poems grant Yecheilyah of Literary Korner Publishing the right to publish the poems on her blog located at www.thepbsblog.com as the winning poem. Permission is granted upon entry of the contest for publishing to The PBS Blog. The poets retain all rights and copyrights of their own work. (I don’t own your stuff.)
  • Upon submission, poets grant Yecheilyah of Literary Korner Publishing the right to publish the poem in the Literary Korner Publishing 2020 Magazine Edition. The poets retain all rights and copyrights of their own work. (I don’t own your stuff.)
  • Multiple entries to this contest are allowed. If submitting multiple poems there is a 2-poem max per poet.
  • Entry is taken as acceptance of ALL of these guidelines.

Submission Instructions:

  • Click on THIS link and subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list. This will automatically give us your name and email address. *If you are already subscribed to my list you are halfway there! Just email your poem*
  • Once you’ve subscribed to the list, please send your poem(s) to yecheilyah@yecheilyahysrayl.com.
  • Both of the above steps are needed for a poem to be considered submitted.
  • Winners are announced November 1, 2019 on The PBS Blog and across social media.

Prizes:

  • $50 Barnes and Noble Gift card
Coming June, 2019 Featuring Last Year’s Poetry Contest Winners!
  • Publishing in the 2020 2nd Edition Literary Korner Publishing Magazine for Poets
  • Publishing and Author Spotlight Interview on Yecheilyah’s Blog (over 2800 subscribers, 70k views a week)
  • Spotlight across Yecheilyah’s social media
  • Spotlight in Yecheilyah’s email list
  • Signed copy of I am Soul with matching bookmark

  • 1 Grand Prize Winner (Wins Everything)
  • 3 Runner-Ups (Wins everything minus the gift card)
  • 4 Honorable Mentions (Wins publishing in the LKP 2020 Edition Magazine)

All Entrants

All entrants will have the chance of being featured in the magazine. Put your best foot forward, only a few will be chosen!


Wanna sponsor this contest? We are looking for poetry related books and publishing services from sponsors. If you would like to sponsor a poetry book or collection, writing services (editing, proofreading, ebook formatting), gift cards and more for our poets, reply to this post or email me at yecheilyah@yecheilyahysrayl.com. In return you get promotion alongside our contest both on my blog and across social media. Whenever the contest is promoted, so will you be.

Cry Out

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

How does it make you feel

to see someone

mistreating themselves

to hear them poison their mouth

with self-hate language

or disrespect their soul

with insecurities

does not your intestines cringe

do they not wrap themselves around the wrongness there

the diseased spirit of a person defeated

does not your stomach turn into knots

does not the human in you cry out

now imagine

if you were outside your own body

and observing yourself

poisoning your mouth with self-hate language

and disrespecting your soul with insecurities

do your intestines cringe?

do they wrap themselves around the wrongness there?

do you recognize the diseased spirit of a person defeated?

does your stomach turn into knots?

when you are self-hating yourself

does the human in you

Cry Out


It’s National Poetry Month!!

 

Grab your copy of I am Soul for just 99cents in ebook for the entire month of April.  Want a paperback? The Nubian bookstore signing is next week! (4/12) Be sure to stop by for a signed paperback copy and save on shipping. Meet me in person and let’s take pictures and stuff!

https://www.yecheilyahysrayl.com/