Category: THE FEATURES

REPLAYS: BREAK MY SOUL BY BEYONCÉ

They don’t like us outside
But now we ain’t gonna be inside
From the inside, I can see your insides
Looks like y’all don’t like yourself inside
y’all should’ve kept your opinions inside
– Reggie Johnson

SPEAK FREELY: NAMING AND UNNAMING THE SELF

Brookins, Melt, and Tran all address the process of naming and unnaming from different perspectives. Together, these poems will help foster understanding and empathy around the language we use with one another. – Ronnie K. Stephens

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TPQ20: S3EP4 – KHALISA RAE

Join Chris in conversation with Khalisa Rae, author of Ghost in a Black Girl’s Throat (Red Hen Press), about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REPLAYS: SURPRISE BY CHLÖE BAILEY

Not into too many surprises
Unless it’s a special occasion
And whenever I’m with you
It’s a cause for a celebration
– Reggie Johnson

REPLAYS: SAVE ME BY DANNY LONDON & HALFOFYOU

Running from the fears
When it’s coming from the inside
No more counted out
No where for me to hide
Who knows what happens when
Pain and perseverance collides?
– Reggie Johnson

RELEASE DAY: HALF-BRED – ANTHONY SALANDY

Order your copy of A.R. Salandy’s Half-Bred! Only 100 copies available!

REPLAYS: BLU MOON – THEY.

It happens every blue moon
When it aligns, we eclipse
I love everything about you
Fingertips to your lips
– Reggie Johnson

BROWN STUDY: Ọbáfẹ́mi Thanni

Thanni paints the scenery for us clearly—the love between families, the high stakes involved in pursuing change (fly/break, free/remembered), and nestled in these intense bonds, intense violence. – Jeni De La O

SPEAK FREELY: MENTAL HEALTH AND THE POETICS OF COLLECTIVE HEALING

Discussing mental health in the classroom can be incredibly daunting, especially as educators face public criticism and accusations of indoctrinating students. – Ronnie K. Stephens

REPLAYS: WAVES – RUSS

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and I just need to breathe

Inhale exhale put my mind at ease
– Reggie Johnson

REPLAYS: N95 BY KENDRICK LAMAR

Does drained looked good on me?
The pressures of life begin to sink in
And it’s like someone left the water running
Washing ourselves of the sins 
But it feels like I’m taking a ho bath
– Reggie Johnson

REPLAYS: THERAPY MUSIC BY LOGIC & RUSS

The way the chips have fallen
Lays simple and plain
I have a duality of someone’s success is being someone else’s pain
– Reggie Johnson

REPLAYS: HONEST BY JUSTIN BIEBER & DON TOLIVER

Gotta be 
Honest
My attitude
The fondest 
Holding back?
Nothing’s promised
Sleeping on me
I’m an alarmist 
– Reggie Johnson

TALK TO ME: ALEAH DYE

I think the brevity comes somewhat from the fact that I see this glow, this halo, around my intimacy so clearly. I see it, I feel it, I say it. And that’s that. It comes (ah, another pun!) easy. – Aleah Dye

REPLAYS: BE FORREAL BY BLXST

For me it’s sink or swim
Too many people I extended branches
And gone out on a limb
The switch up is contagious
Many do it on a whim
– Reggie Johnson

SPEAK FREELY: NATIONAL POETRY MONTH EDITION

This month, I’m sharing some of my favorite pedagogical practices to introduce during National Poetry Month, as well as some of the poems I return to in my classes year after year. – Ronnie K. Stephens

REPLAYS: SAY MY NAME – FIVIO FOREIGN, QUEEN NAIJA & COI LERAY

Don’t give me material
If you’re reading this it’s too late 
Don’t end up becoming one of my mistakes
– Reggie Johnson

REPLAYS: NAIL TECH – JACK HARLOW

At the end of the day
We ain’t seeing eye to eye
I swear I don’t see you crossing t’s
And I don’t see you dotting I’s
This only a percentage of this income
But we ain’t talking pies 
She can hit that 3.14 stance 
And I ain’t talking pi’s 
– Reggie Johnson

REPLAYS: UP AT NIGHT BY KEHLANI & JUSTIN BIEBER

We can’t control the games people play
We just hope we don’t get played
And the sad part is when I did
At first I would’ve stayed
Then later I prayed
Prayed that I never be someone else’s prey
– Reggie Johnson

REPLAYS: WE GOIN’ UP BY NICKI MINAJ & FIVIO FOREIGN

Check my words 
Check the diction
Best believe
Don’t want no friction

– Reggie Johnson

TPQ20 Logo in TPQ Green with a Microphone in the middle

TPQ20: S2EP12 – JULIAN RANDALL

Join Chris & Courtney of The Poetry Question in a sit down with Julian Randall, author of Refuse (Pitt, 2018), Pilar Ramirez & the Escape from Zafa (Holt), and the upcoming The Dead Don’t Need Reminding: Essays (Bold Type Books), about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry. 

TALK TO ME: MORDECAI MARTIN W/ JOAN KWON GLASS

I sometimes feel like I can’t fully represent any group. But maybe that’s a vehicle for art in and of itself: not to be boxed in, not to follow any prescribed norms for one culture. – Joan Kwon Glass

REPLAYS: FAIR – NORMANI

77 days into this year and I believe I’m making progress
Things have been a hard pill to swallow
However I managed to digest
Recycling old recounts and in the end I just digress
Told myself to focus more and worry less
Will lead to more success
– Reggie Johnson

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TPQ20: S2EP11 – JASON B. CRAWFORD

Join Chris and Courtney in a sitdown with Jason B. Crawford, author of Year of the Unicorn Kidz (Sundress Publications), about passions, process, pitfalls, and poetry!

REPLAYS: BROKEN PROMISES – SUMMER WALKER

Done feeding off the anguish 
This is not another anthem
This problem is continuous
This one time isn’t random
Done being the star of your show
Quit entertaining your fandom
Quit acting like a child
Stop doing your temper tantrums 
– Reggie Johnson

REPLAYS: NATURALLY – TINASHE

Discussing you only as nouns
When the actions made you a verb
No review of you in my book
I’ll just remember you as blurb
– Reggie Johnson

SPEAK FREELY: FORMAL VERSE AS AN ACT OF RESISTANCE

“The activist in me wants students to grapple with how form, and departure from form, serves as commentary on systemic oppression and gatekeeping”. – Ronnie K. Stephens

REPLAYS: LITTLE STORY – KEHLANI

The nightmare is when all the magic stops
Boogeyman syndrome, stay away
– Reggie Johnson

TALK TO ME: MORDECAI MARTIN WITH ARDEN HUNTER

“When I’m in the middle of creating I’m actually not very reflective; I don’t sit back and think, ‘why am I doing it this way?’ I just get a bit possessed by it and power through”. – Arden Hunter

REPLAYS: RENT MONEY – MARY J. BLIGE & DAVE EASTc

Not a care in the world
Learning about one’s self 
Take what I know now 
And protect myself and mental health
Protect my peace
Now I’m up here living with my life on a lease
– Reggie Johnson

REPLAYS: HRS & HRS – MUNI LONG

Who knows how one’s body could have
All the answers to our questions
Thank you for your blessings
– Reggie Johnson

HEY EVERYONE, IT’S SEXYTIME!

IT’S HERE! IT’S HERE! IT’S HERE!

The first of The Poetry Question’s 2021 Chapbook Contest winners has finally arrived! It is SEXYTIME by Lynne Schmidt! 

REPLAYS: JOHNNY P’S CADDY – BENNY THE BUTCHER & J. COLE

Done giving you a reason
You can’t take my words 
And make your own
You don’t have your own seasoning
Soon you’ll learn there’s no appeasing me
Within good reasoning
– Reggie Johnson

SPEAK FREELY: EBONY STEWART TRANSFORMS LIVED EXPERIENCES INTO AWARD-WINNING LITERATURE

“…let us be intentional in recognizing the incredible contributions that women of color have made & continue to make, not just in literature but in all fields”. – Ronnie K. Stephens

REPLAYS: SET IN STONE – DANNY LONDON

So when it’s all said and done
It’s done, nothing to be said
– Reggie Johnson

REPLAYS: EAZY – THE GAME & KANYE WEST

“They wanted to say my life was a wrap
So I started to rap
I was the gift of many Christmases
Wish I could take my presence back”
– Reggie Johnson

REPLAYS: YOU & ME – GUNNA & CHLÖE BAILEY

They wouldn’t know about
What you and I have
And what I have going on with you
Listening to your wants and needs
Means someone got things to do
– Reggie Johnson

EVERYTHING IS A POEM: SPAM AND SOY SAUCE SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH RICE

There’s a deep hurt I feel when I share my food with others and they respond with, “That looks gross!” – Alex Dang

REPLAYS: SACRIFICE – THE WEEKND

I don’t want to sacrifice
Any more time
Because you are all in my memories
And the good that came from it was of you leaving me
– Reggie Johnson

SPEAK FREELY: TEACHING BODY POLITICS AND THE SONG OF RESISTANCE

Gibson’s version is more culturally responsive and inclusive, inviting discussion into the limitations of Whitman’s perceptions of the body, who determines the worth of specific bodies, and how society uses language to establish a hierarchy of humanity. – Ronnie K. Stephens

BROWN STUDY: LYSZ FLO – “Libeté”

“Libeté is a play in three acts masquerading as a stream of consciousness poem. As the poet unspools her themes, the importance of performance and play takes center stage as a means to exploring the matter at hand: liberty. Freedom. Liberation. But not just any liberation, Libeté”. – Jeni De La O

REPLAYS: NOTE TO SELF – RUSS

“It took myself to see that I used to be one-note
Sometimes my actions didn’t match up when I spoke
It took a lot of time for me to dive deep when I wrote
So sink or swim when I go on a whim
I hope you able to float”
– Reggie Johnson

TALK TO ME: SAMANTHA FAIN

“It may be too niche at times, I’m sure, but overall I think its goals are the same as those without a tv show backdropped in it: to (maybe re)create characters and a world that describes how they live beside or with their sadness”. – Samantha Fain

REPLAYS: I HATE U – SZA

“I’m so sick of the inconsistencies
Like a minute ago you was digging me
Smitten me
How you fall in love and the next minute
You want to get rid of me?”
— Reggie Johnson

MUSES VOL. 2: THE 90’S SILVER SURFER ANIMATED SERIES

“The poetically crafted inner monologues of the Silver Surfer that must’ve entrapped my consciousness back then. I realize now he was a poet on this show”. – Chris L. Butler

REPLAYS: AFTER LAST NIGHT – SILK SONIC

If I could have one wish
we’d make up the whole constellation
The only shining star I need
To light up the night
– Reggie Johnson

TALK TO ME: CLAIRE TAYLOR

“I wonder if I can write an entire manuscript centered around the lines from [the Growing Pains] theme song. And that is what I did”. – Claire Taylor

REPLAYS: THROW IT AWAY – SUMMER WALKER

And how did you throw it away
That’s the words I mustered up to say
How you just throw it away
You did everything to go and not stay
How you gonna throw it away
Thankful that you let us go separate ways
How you gonna throw it away
– Reggie Johnson

REPLAYS: VISITING HOURS – ED SHEERAN

If heaven had visiting hours
I’d probably cry and never want to leave
If time could stand still for a second
I would beg and plead
Until the next time I see you all
Hopefully you’ll have stories for me
– Reggie Johnson

REPLAYS: MOTIONLESS – BIA

You used to eat away at my psyche
Listening to my mind thinking you like me
New checks turned into Nikes
New balances turned into might be’s
– Reggie Johnson

EVERYTHING IS A POEM: BETTER CALL SOMEBODY, AND PLEASE DON’T YELL

“I have also tried to be somebody that I’m not. It hurts to crack yourself into multiple parts. It is the loudest noise. It breaks you”. – Alex Dang

MUSES VOL. 1: ANDRE 3000 REMINDS US OF THE POWER INSIDE HEARTFELT ART

“Rappers like Andre Benjamin remind me that poems are the tender glove we need during despair, and the spiked bat of words that can be wielded against injustice” – Chris L. Butler

SPEAK FREELY: IN DEFIANCE OF EVERYTHING

“Hopefully this will allow us all to go out into the world exposed, tongues out in absolute defiance of everything that would dare try to break us”. – Ronnie K. Stephens

TALK TO ME: AMANDA McLEOD

“And that in-between is what I wanted to look at in Heartbreak Autopsy. I’ve known a lot of people who’ve walked around wondering where their happily ever after is – this book is for them”. – Amanda McLeod

GETTING THE GURLZ: AN INTERVIEW WITH I.S. JONES

“If someone is perceived as “conventionally attractive” then their pain is taken more seriously, or to be frank, people care more about their suffering.” – I.S. JONES

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TPQ20: EPISODE 1 – SAM HERSCHEL WEIN

Courtney and Chris Margolin sit down with Sam Herschel Wein to talk about Passions, Process, Pitfalls, and Poetry. 

REPLAYS: ABAJÓ LA DICTADURA – HALFOFYOU

“…ensure that your art is a voice for generations to come and to be a leader in your own revolution”. – Reggie Johnson

REPLAYS: SAN JUNIPERO – GABRIELKNOWSEVERYTHING

Seeking permanence in these verses

Been playing out my own story to find what my worth is

My purpose

– Reggie Johnson

SPEAK FREELY: POETRY AND POLITICS IN THE 21ST CENTURY CLASSROOM

“Poetry is something I love deeply, mainly because those from whom I have learned the most, personally and professionally, have been poets. I’ve never encountered a lesson that wouldn’t benefit from the inclusion of a poem or three”. – Ronnie K. Stephens

REPLAYS: WASTE MY TIME – TRE SENSEI

I want something natural
No challenge too great to handle
No trying to boast or ramble
Love is here to be gambled
So I don’t want a sample
I want something that’s ample
– Reggie Johnson

TALK TO ME: COLIN BANCROFT

“The language of wrestling is poetic because it’s filled with metaphor and allusion and countless other vehicles for expression.” – Colin Bancroft

REPLAYS: 180 – DANNY LONDON

180 discusses the notion that as things around you move so quickly, it’s ok to slow down and reflect, restart or refocus. No matter how many times, I learned to continue to do what’s necessary in order to continue doing what you love.

REPLAYS: CANCELED – BRYSON TILLER

Certain artists captivate me with the shock value they bring when it comes to the music they release… Listening to this song recently had the same reaction I had when listening to it the first time and I was able to curate a new piece. Enjoy!

REPLAYS: DIE FOR YOU

In the beginning stages of my writing, I just wanted to mimic the musicality of the artists to improve my writing abilities.

REPLAYS: OVER – DRAKE

The song served as a reintroduction for my love for writing. For the first time, I was able to combine my love for both music and writing together.

TALK TO ME: MORDECAI MARTIN W/ LANNIE STABILE

“The reverence isn’t in the experiences, it’s in the powerful men. A woman is supposed to feel flattered when a man finds her irresistible. This book is a middle finger to that expectation”. – Lannie Stabile

REPLAYS: CAN’T TOUCH THIS – MC HAMMER

My love for music dates back to me being a kid, where whenever my mom needed to occupy my time while she was busy, she would turn on the music videos.

GETTING THE GURLZ: AN INTERVIEW WITH GABRIELLE BATES

Khalisa Rae sat down with Gabrielle Bates, poet, podcast host, educator, gorgeous-picture taker, and all-around good person.

ODES FROM THE EDITOR: AUGUST EDITION

But, damn, Poetry, you always have a way of bringing me right back. Because it turns out every writer, narrator, and subject matter, has a different make, model, obstacle, feel, and endgame. Plotlines do change. Stories do unfold. Forms to do come together. Characters do come to life.

BROWN STUDY: “OMELET” – ZORA SATCHELL

What sustains us? What nourishes our bones and our souls? How do we sustain each other? In the space between our most authentic selves and our most complicated desires, how do we connect with one another? 

REPLAYS: “LOVE ME LIKE YOU SAY YOU LOVE ME” – KYLE

Should’ve learned to love me
By asking questions
Instead of taking my actions for granted
And second guessing
My motives
My intentions

REPLAYS: NO TIME BY KRIIISPY & M.I.L.O.

She says her time is money
And I don’t have time to waste
Tired of dealing with the same dudes
Done with the copy and paste
Babygirl just like wine and I’m trying to have a taste

REPLAYS: “PASADENA” BY TINASHE & BUDDY

Filled with positivity
Strengthening my sanity
Took last year
As a moment of clarity
The things you see now
Bask in the rarity

TALK TO ME: “MY GOAL IS TO REPLICATE THE DEVASTATION” – LYNN(E) SCHMIDT

To tell our story, and to help tell other people, “Hey it’s okay if you’re fucked up for a long time after your dog dies.” Grief is such a wild journey, and it is different for all of us.

REPLAYS: “SUN GOES DOWN” – LIL NAS X

Didn’t know what depression felt like
Until I was nineteen
It took my crown and the jewels
And said it was fit to be king

REPLAYS: SEEING GREEN BY NICKI MINAJ, DRAKE, & LIL’ WAYNE

I been doing this here since Wayne’s dedication
I been doing this here, hear the dedication
I’ve been doing this hair, na look at the transformation
Went bald on everyone
And look how things shaping up
If you ain’t growing with me
Then you had to be cut

“MY MFA ONLY MADE MY BLENDER WHIR FASTER”: TALK TO ME: CHRISTINE SLOAN STODDARD

I used discarded camera and computer parts to print into clay tablets. I bleached chicken bones, spray-painted various objects, drew large-scale oil pastel scenery, and cut up old books all for art installations.

REPLAYS: WHAT YOU NEED – DON TOLIVER

I can be your new edition
Can you stand the rain
And when the grey clouds roll away
Does the sun reveal your pain

REPLAYS: “LOVE LINE” – SHIFT K3Y & TINASHE

This week’s #REPLAYS takes on “Love Line,” the newest track from British producer Shift K3Y, featuring Tinashe.

BROWN STUDY: “HOME-GOING CELEBRATION” BY KHALISA RAE

“Home-Going Celebration” is a sly poem that bubbles with contradictions. An elegy rooted in mourning, the language pops with the dizzy rush of one sip too many.

“THE READER THINKS THEY’RE IN ON THE JOKE”. – TALK TO ME: SHAWN BERMAN

I’m inspired a lot by stand-up comedians, so a lot of my work is me pretending I’m on stage telling a joke, trying to draw the audience in. – Shawn Berman

REPLAYS: Save Your Tears (Remix) by The Weeknd & Ariana Grande

If I wanted someone to switch up on me, I’d take my talents to Nintendo

Opened up to you just to be shut out like a window

The price I paid for your love as you sent it to others like Venmo

“TODAY WE ARE A WHITE-WING DOVE, TOMORROW WE ARE A SPIRIT” TALK TO ME: KHALISA RAE

Because so many false narratives are being told about Black bodies, it is so crucial to tell the truth about what happens to us and the crimes that are committed against us. I think the true art is sharing the horror in a way that isn’t just trauma porn, but it’s art for a purpose.

REPLAYS: MET HIM LAST NIGHT – DEMI LOVATO & ARIANA GRANDE

REPLAYS: MET HIM LAST NIGHT – DEMI LOVATO & ARIANA GRANDE ​

Bogeyman in my mind
Trying to creep into reality
Defeated him in the past
So right now he mad at me

REPLAYS: PinkPantheress – Pain

REPLAYS: PinkPantheress – Pain

And I 99.9% mean when I say
I’m glad I washed my hands of any
And everything surrounding the pain

“CONFUSION, DESPAIR, OR HOPE” – TALK TO ME: JIYE LEE

“CONFUSION, DESPAIR, OR HOPE” – TALK TO ME: JIYE LEE

I hope to get the same emotions across whether that be confusion, despair, or hope to the readers and to enforce that in such a way it leaves them thinking about the poems for a while.

REPLAYS – Sip It by Iggy Azalea

REPLAYS – Sip It by Iggy Azalea

The journey of an artist can be filled with highs and lows. Some meet roadblocks trying maintain success. One factor is the record label. Because of this, many artists, choose to go Independent. One of these is Australian rapper, Iggy Azalea.

BROWN STUDY: “SELF PORTRAIT AS A MERMAID OR DEAD GIRL” – GAIA RAJAN

BROWN STUDY: “SELF PORTRAIT AS A MERMAID OR DEAD GIRL” – GAIA RAJAN

I started thinking about who owns grief, how memory and grief affect the body, and soon enough, the poem turned into an elegy for someone I’ve lost.

REPLAYS: MY TIME IS NOW – TONE

REPLAYS: MY TIME IS NOW – TONE

Whether it’s released during an album’s rollout, planned or unplanned, music listeners ultimately hear that the time is now.

GETTING THE GURLZ W/ SOFIA FEY & KHALISA RAE: AIREA D. MATTHEWS

GETTING THE GURLZ W/ SOFIA FEY & KHALISA RAE: AIREA D. MATTHEWS

“…in America, the plight of black womxn is fraught with neglect and abuse, where some who behold both our intellect and beauty can’t seem to assert us as either”.

REPLAYS: PEACHES – JUSTIN BIEBER

REPLAYS: PEACHES – JUSTIN BIEBER

We’ll be the one Justin sang about 
saying love was until the end of time.

REPLAYS: HEARTBREAK ANNIVERSARY – GIVEON

REPLAYS: HEARTBREAK ANNIVERSARY – GIVEON

I love the emotion as his baritone voice accentuates the rawness and sincerity in its lyrics. The relatability of the song draws people in and you cannot help but sing along.

HUSTLE & BUSINESS OF POETRY – KHALISA RAE AND SOFIA FEY

HUSTLE & BUSINESS OF POETRY – KHALISA RAE AND SOFIA FEY

Ranging from tips & tricks, to gripes, to gratitude, we have a lot to say! Welcome to the Hustle & Business of Poetry.

REPLAYS: BEAUTIFUL MISTAKES – MAROON 5 & MEGAN THEE STALLION

REPLAYS: BEAUTIFUL MISTAKE – MAROON 5 & MEGAN THEE STALLION

Beautiful Mistakes has just thrown its hat in the ring for Song of the Summer. As the weather warms up, I can bet we will hear this song blast all over the airwaves soon.

“LETTING THE POEMS SAY MORE THAN I WAS AWARE THEY WANTED TO SAY” – TALK TO ME: KATE FOX

“LETTING THE POEMS SAY MORE THAN I WAS AWARE THEY WANTED TO SAY” – TALK TO ME: KATE FOX

I think the rewards of communicating through neurodivergence are not using up energy on masking and hiding. Plus then embodying the fact that humans think/feel/experience the world differently. 

REPLAYS: BRYSON TILLER – LIKE CLOCKWORK

REPLAYS: BRYSON TILLER – LIKE CLOCKWORK

In an industry where the price of fame can change a person for better or worse, Bryson Tiller has remained himself through it all.

BROWN STUDY: “I Don’t Care if Mary Jane Gets Saved or Not” – TAYLOR BYAS

white people, do not recognize the need for succor in Black women, as early as ZERO years old. Their screams (voiced concerns or cries for help) appear no more urgent or fearsome than the twinkling of Christmas lights

“IT’S RIGHT UNDER OUR FEET THE WHOLE TIME” – TALK TO ME: JENI DE LA O

“IT’S RIGHT UNDER OUR FEET THE WHOLE TIME” – TALK TO ME: JENI DE LA O

there are thousands of Amanda Gormans submitting poems right now, being read and rejected right now, by readers and editors who simply haven’t the refined palate to discern a truffle from button mushroom. 

REPLAYS: RUSS – MISUNDERSTOOD

REPLAYS: Russ – Misunderstood

I admire his appreciation for the craft. His consistency and his ability to have people relate to him through his songs is why his fanbase goes hard for the rapper.

POETRY IN CINEMA: POETIC JUSTICE

POETRY IN CINEMA: POETIC JUSTICE

It is Angelou’s poetry we hear in Justice’s voice, how she is trying to make good choices in a world where bad choices are sometimes the only choice.  – Jessica Mookherjee