Since 2015, The Velvet Note has consistently been named one of the best Jazz Clubs in Georgia, and I have the honor of headlining its first Author/Word event. “Velvet Voices,” is a thought-provoking series of presentations by authors, historians and spoken-word artists and premiers on Wednesday, August 21, 2019, in Alpharetta, Georgia from 7:00-9:30p. The series will run from 8/21 through 9/25, and I am the opener for the first show reading excerpts from my Historical Fiction novel Renaissance: The Nora White Story. Some fantastic poets will bless the mic, and it is also an open mic for attendees.
Enjoy thought provoking discussion in an award-winning, beautifully-appointed listening room. I will have copies of Renaissance, and I am Soul on hand to sign. If this series does well, The Velvet Note will incorporate it into its regular program. Get your tickets NOW and let’s make history!!
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.
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.
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!)
Make sure your poem lines up with the theme surrounding one of these words: Strength, Courage, Wisdom, Faith (Read the rules).
To qualify as entry you MUST subscribe to my email list. CLICK HERE to sign up. Then, go ahead and send your poem to email@example.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)
Deadline for entry is August 1st. Winners announced November 1st. (Read the rules)
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.
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.
Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Tehilayah Ysrayl. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Tehilayah Yahqar Ysrayl. I am from Fort Wayne, Indiana.
For those who don’t know, tell us what your name means.
My name means a song of praise to Yah.
Wonderful. What would your perfect writing/reading room look like?
Oh…I have never been asked this before. Hmm. I would have to say it would be white with splashes of earth tones, you know browns, tans, and greens. I would have an oversized reading chair with a tan blanket laid across. Next to the chair would be a table that displays the current book I am reading and an always ready wine glass. Across the room would be this glass desk with an executive chair and a new computer would be waiting for me and next to it a monogrammed notebook with my name in gold, (I love notebooks). My coffee cup to keep me energized. The sunlight would beam through the room because of the sky windows and land on my beautiful bookcases. There would be a beautiful rug in the middle of the floor, maybe white to cover the cognac colored hardwood floors. In the winter I would be able to light my fireplace so that I can stay cozy while I read and write. Yesss, and there would be a sign on the door that says “leave me alone I am writing/reading”. I would have a tranquil waterfall in the corner to give it that relaxed feel. Yess, lol… I kind of went there huh?
You did but we love it. That room sounds nice! What’s your favorite food?
Mexican food, I love it. Can’t get enough. I love nachos and guacamole.
Do you have a favorite color?
It changes, right now it’s purple and burgundy. Those colors have always been royal to me.
So Tehilayah, married? Children?
I am and my hubby is awesome. We have been together for almost 16 years and married for going on 6 or 7 years. Oh, wait, I better get that right. lol. Well, we have an anniversary coming up in October. We actually celebrate 2 anniversaries. The day we met and the day we got married. I think that is why I get it all messed up, lol. Truth is I knew he was my husband 2 weeks after we met. When he finds you, you just know, hee hee hee. I do have 4 children. three boys and one girl, she’s the baby. They are the ages of 19, 17, 14 and 9.
Beautiful. What is your favorite movie or TV show?
Movie is The Matrix hands down. That has always been my favorite. I have the whole trilogy but nothing is like the first one. My favorite TV show is Underground. I really hope they bring that back soon.
I loved Underground myself. Let’s talk about writing a bit. I hear you are working on a book. Tell us about this project and what inspired you to write it.
I am. No Idle Word is my first collection of poetry.
Thank you! This project is my baby. It’s the start to a new beginning and venture. It was last year when I took to the stage and I realized that I had a voice. It was then that hubby said, “you should release a book.” I thought he was gassing me up! I was nervous and anxious but I am here, trying new things and stepping out my comfort zone. I decided to leave it all on the page.
I love “No Idle Word.” Why this title? What does it mean, “No Idle Word?”
I meditated on a title for a while. I had so many written down and scratched out. No Idle Word was my last thought. I chose this because words are living. They have the power to build up and break down. They are always moving. It’s just a matter of how you choose to use your voice.
You heard it here first people!
Now. If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be?
Well, my son is my go-to guru on everything superpower. But if I had to choose without his consultation it would be love. Love conquers all things. If I could touch someone one to make them feel loved and give love we could change the world one touch at a time. Make it contagious. “Don’t touch her she got that love bug.”
Love it. In your own words, what is truth?
Truth is taking off the mask and walking in the you that people don’t see. It’s the bearing of all unapologetically. Truth has never been gentle. I would say it’s the one experience that is always authentic. There’s a phrase “truth, you can’t handle the truth,” something like that. It’s true. We can’t handle the truth. Truth handles us, it refines, tears down and builds. Truth has always been the start of construction and growth within yourself.
Why is writing important to you?
Writing is the way that I can release all the ideas and thoughts that I have flowing all day and night. If I didn’t have a pen and notebook on my person I would probably be frazzled and confused all day. It’s a way that I can get whatever is on my heart and mind out so that I don’t let whatever feelings I have had throughout the day overtake me. Writing is my place of freedom.
Thank you Tehilayah for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!
Tehilayah is a poet, wife, and mother and has presented her poetry at various venues and impromptu poetry gatherings in her city. She enjoys singing, sewing, reading, wine, whiskey and, most importantly, words. Some of her favorite poets include but are not limited to, Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Amiri Baraka, Countee Cullen, Sonia Sanchez, Steven Willis, and Rudy Francisco.
Tehilayah is also a voracious reader and fell in love with Urban Fiction because of Donald Goines. From there she branched off to discover other authors like Sista Soulja and the love stories that Eric Jerome Dickey brought, Carl Weber and many more. Currently, Tehilayah is enthralled in the Ashley and Jaquavis novel series. Tehilayah reads not only for the entertainment but also for the techniques in writing.
Tehilayah is working on her first book, a collection of poetry she is calling, No Idle Word. No Idle Word is about encouraging the faint at heart, providing awareness to the ignorant, and healing to the broken.
This week we are spotlighting the winners of the 2nd Annual Poetry Contest! For the next two days, you’ll get to learn more about our grand prize winner.
Jahkazia reminded me that it’s never too late. How so? Because her poem came in exactly one minute to the deadline of this contest and won the entire competition. If she had thought, “maybe it’s too late,” then we would not get to meet and learn more about this beautiful soul. Let’s get into it.
Introducing Jahkazia Richardson
Jahkazia (Jah-kay-asia which translates to Goddess of the land) is a slam poet hailed from Durham, NC. She studied Clinical Psychology at William Peace University and will be continuing her vocational path in Art and expressive therapy next fall. She appreciates going to live shows in the area as well as trying different recipes from all over the world. Currently, she is an insurance agent in ‘Bull City’ where she teaches clients how to protect their financial assets.
Welcome Jahkazia! So nice to meet you beautiful. We almost didn’t get to witness your beautiful writing and voice. Please, tell us what inspired your poem.
Jahkazia: In my darkest moments, I saw myself as a victim for a long time, and I always had a pretty negative outlook on life. When things got cleared up, I truly felt more powerful than I have ever felt before. My inspiration for my piece was a deep reflection of my overall growth and healing journey as well as wanting to honor my ancestors in their struggle to find their own power also.
We’re going to stop here because tomorrow we will go a bit deeper into the mind of Ms. Richardson. For now, let’s get into this poem!
Thunder that cracked like the whip on the back of my ancestors
Too bad I didn’t have their strength
Head hung low and shallow
my back hunched and broken.
How did I get here?
Words that cut deep into my skin like razors,
But I didn’t let anyone see me bleed
Times that I would cut into my own self
with the perpetuation of my thoughts
Lies that I would tell the little girl inside myself
Cut – excise the light from their eyes
Until darkness became my reality
Pain my reality
Depression my reality
Shujaa – warrior
Ripped out, open, and beaten.
Boom, boom, boom, I’m an African drum
Don’t let them see you break
Don’t let them see you bleed
Wrap them like the bastard’s child away and out of sight
Until the blood began to drip through
Until the universe can no longer ignore my cry
Cry like – negro spirituals echoing through the Earth and waking up the light
Somehow there was refuge in my brokenness
Deep in the soul of my being,
Up I came from the waters and introduced my light
Shujaa – warrior
Shujaa – strength
That’s me powerful with my pen and I write:
“Thunder thighs was my name growing up,
I hear thunder that cracked like the whip on the back of my ancestors
Passed down like tales they used to speak,
I now know that power
I am worthy. I am warrior.”
Whew. That’s some powerful stuff. I highlighted some of the lyrics that really spoke to me. What did I like about this poem and why did I think it was worthy of the win?
Self-love is a journey and a journey is called that because you never know what you will find. It’s not always about being where you want to be but the journey. It’s about the process and all of the challenges and emotions that come along with it and the willpower to endure those challenges and to overcome those emotions.
This piece embodied the personal touch that all of the poems had. It was set-apart in that it told the story of how one person went from self-hatred to self-love in a deeply honest way. This is not just someone who had conquered the demon of self-hatred, but someone who had fought it and could show that fight in words. Someone who had gone through the journey and had fought to reclaim that power. This is a fight we’ve all had and this poem showcased that process. You get to see someone who did not just suddenly arrive but who evolved and endured the way we all do when we are coming home to ourselves. At some point, we have all asked ourselves, “What if I knew My Worth?”
Very well done.
Be Sure to Follow Jahkazia Online!
Facebook: Jahkazia Richardson
Tomorrow, we will be asking Ms. Richardson some more questions and learning more about her as a person with an extensive introduction interview. You don’t want to miss this. Stay glued.
Missed our other poet spotlights? Please be sure to show our winners some love:
There are just EIGHT more days to enter the 2nd Annual Poetry Contest! Prizes include money, promotion, publishing, books and more. Don’t miss out! CLICK HERE for a reminder of the entry guidelines and prizes. The deadline will be here before you know it. Enter today!
I would like to organize a blog tour to help to spread awareness about my latest collection of poetry, I am Soul. Except, I do not have much money so I am reaching out to bloggers who enjoy poetry to see if you would have the time and interest to host me on your blog this summer.
I would like to present a new poem to each of the blogs that I visit. The days of the tour will depend on the host blogger interested in hosting me. I am open to any blogs willing to promote Indie Authors, though poetry blogs would be a plus. I will provide the following:
I am Soul Book Cover
One new poem per blog
5 Fun Facts about myself
Amazon Author Central Page
Social Media Links
I am willing to put in the work necessary to provide all that you need since I do not have the funds to pay for a tour. All you will have to do is schedule my post according to your time and our agreed upon dates.
Once I have a list of blogs willing to volunteer to help me out (and your dates), I will create a promotional flyer to use to promote the tour. This means that all the blogs willing to help me will get exposure and promotion right alongside me. Your blogs will be promoted, your views will increase and you may just find new followers. Promoting me is not just about me. It’s about all of the blogs willing to participate. We will essentially be promoting each other. Each one, reach one.
If you are interested in this opportunity, please email me at yecheilyah (at) yecheilyahysrayl (dot) com. I will send you the required information this week and see what dates work best for you.
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UPDATE: CLOSED FOR SUBMISSIONS. SPECIAL THANK YOU TO ALL THE BLOGGERS WHO VOLUNTEERED TO ASSIST ME! I AM NO LONGER ACCEPTING MORE HOSTS.