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Racism is Messy

J Mase III
J Mase III Author Interview

White Folks Be Trippin’ is a thoughtful collection of poetry that explores people and culture. What were some ideas you felt were important to highlight in your poetry?

Honestly, I wanted to create a space where I could be truthful about the absurdities of maneuvering through the white gaze as a Black person. When folks read this text, I want them to feel like they were immersed in a workshop where we got to cry, and laugh and throw things together. From naming the ways we protect white innocence, to understanding the nuances of how we rob Black/Brown/Indigenous children of theirs, I used poetry, micro-memoir and worksheets to play out all the darting thoughts that come across a mind forced to bear witness to the realities of whiteness in it is truest forms. Incarceration sites to the slave owning history of our Bank lenders, racism is messy and the gaslighting runs deep.

There is deep examination of race and justice in the book. What do you feel is something that doesn’t get discussed a lot when it comes to race?

When it comes to discussing race, especially as authors, we are demanded to write about race from a perspective that is about teaching white people how to be better versions of themselves, rather than pouring into Black, Brown and/or Indigenous folks who suffer under the weight of racism and white supremacy. That in and of itself is racism and white supremacy. The notion that the people that we should invest the most in intellectually are white people robs Black/Brown/Indigenous folks of our right to learn more about the systems we live in, about our own people, about our own capacity for growth. Many racial justice learning spaces operate from this perspective as though the learning of the most targeted peoples is unimportant. I am invested in writing books that center our awareness when it comes to race and justice rather than feel compelled to write for an audience that refuses to up their game and be in it with the experts rather than at the starting place.

Did you write this collection of poetry over time or did you write it specifically for this book?

I started this collection a few months after I moved from NYC to Seattle, WA in early 2016. Moving from a city as large as New York, to a place like Seattle was a culture shock. What was even more interesting, is that as white as Seattle is, people spoke of it as if it was (and is) a huge progressive bubble. Meanwhile, I was experiencing some of the most direct racism I had ever encountered. I needed a place to express what I was observing- that what white folks were telling themselves about who they are, was different than how they showed up. I made a short chapbook version of this book, and thought that would be it. Then the pandemic hit, and then the Black Uprising, and I wanted to make a tool for us. For Black folks. It’s almost normal for Black folks to be expected to absorb all the violence we deal with in these systems and just keep going as if we are superhuman. This Spring reminded me of our need to reflect.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?

I hope readers of this book understand Black folks, Brown folks & Indigenous folks have a right to our humanity, which includes talking about our experiences in a way that is not meant to coddle white people.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Instagram

In the spirit of Langston Hughes’s the Ways of White Folks, Black Trans poet & educator, J Mase III takes us on a journey through the absurdities of whiteness. From MLK quotes out of context, to strange dance moves and circular conversations about justice that go nowhere, he guides us into accepting what we already know: White Folks Be Trippin’. More importantly, in an Instagram world he warns that not knowing the complexities of whiteness, white supremacy and its impacts can be downright dangerous for us all.

Atomic Kiss

Atomic Kiss by [Brendan Bigney]

Atomic Kiss by Brendan S. Bigney is a collection of thought-provoking poetry that uses striking prose to create stimulating literature that speaks on a wide variety of topics relating to emotion and the human experience.

There is a diverse collection of poetry in this book that range from short, some only three lines, to longer ones that fill a page. But all of them have the same impact: some are beguiling, others are refreshing, all of them will certainly leave you thinking.

My favorite poem from the collection is ‘AI > Human’, because of two lines that made me stop reading, put the book down and think about the implications of what I just read. The poem is about how AI will learn how to create art that will be indistinguishable from human art:

“and it will create work that will rival that of any human

because it will have learned imperfection”

This is a good example of the type of compelling poetry that fills these pages. Brendan S. Bigney uses simple language to relay complex ideas and emotions. Atomic Kiss is a highlight in the poetry community.

Pages: 84 | ASIN: B07Y88XX8F

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Painted My Inner Soul

Sandeep Kumar Mishra
Sandeep Kumar Mishra Author Interview

One Heart- Many Breaks is a thought provoking collection of emotional poetry. What inspired you to publish this collection?

I don’t have any plan to be a writer. My personal life has been mentally and financially tough since childhood . I am an introvert,so when I felt depressed I used to write in my diary. After 20 years,that has resulted in a poetry collection.

I have written what my mind and situation compelled me and how I experienced a particular thing in my life. I keep writing and painted my inner soul. I have used some paintings in the book. So you can say readers will know about my life after reading the book.

Did you write the poems for this book or did you write them slowly over time?

My personal circumstances find expression in my writing and tend to seek some solace from the reader. One Heart – Many Breaks is an autobiographical poetry collection that plunges into modern times, regrets, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Most of them are poetic reflections of personal emotions and situation I was laid in. The poems cover 20 years life events and are expression of clear, true and purged feelings and stark reality of my situation.

My favourite poem from the collection is ‘The Reality’. Do you have a favourite poem from this book?

All poems are close to my heart. Each poem has a story and not written in one sitting. It took so many thoughts and days to write a poem for me. It took 20 years to write 50 poems for me. So each one is like a gold mine for me,a history and a life story attached to it.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Any art be it writing or painting depends on your mood and circumstances. When you write about yourself, you tend to feel reluctant and little bit of shy of letting other know your sentiments and ideas. I think only those people write about themselves who are introvert or had been helpless to their situation. So it is difficult to be true to yourself and write about everything as they are. I also painted the characters which symbolic to my life.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I keep writing whenever I have time. It’s my pastime and passion. May be another collection come in near future. I am not a professional writer so can’t say when.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Autobiographical poetry that plunges into modern times, regrets, depression, and suicidal thoughts.Most of them are poetic reflections of personal emotions and situations the poet was laid in. The poems cover a 20 years life events and are expression of clear, true and purged feelings and stark reality of his situation.

Let’s Go Walking In The Storm: A Collection of Poetry and Reflections for Soul and Spirit – Book Trailer

What happens when soul and spirit face a storm together? They meet pretence, doubt, fear, anger, grief, revulsion, and desperation. After a walk through the commotions, they get a reality of darkness obscuring them from light. In this divine walk, they may be gifted revelations of what truly matters. Sometimes, there are answers. Other times, there are no answers. The walk through the storm opens the door to godly rooms where divine meaning, authentic truth, and deeper understanding reside. Let’s Go Walking in the Storm is a soulful anthology of poetry and reflections. It’s the murky walking trail, with stormy stopovers, to the divine. Through poems and reflections, the book delves into human sufferings, environmental problems, violent conflicts and immigration, the COVID-19 pandemic, and racism and discrimination. As a spiritual journey to seek understanding and acceptance in the chaos, the spirit is also honoured with inspirations. May you find calm when it’s time to walk in the storm.

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The Silence of Contemplation

T.P. Graf
T.P. Graf Author Interview

Looking Out Onto Our World is a compelling collection of introspective poems. How did you decide which poems to include in the collection?

As I have shared many of these with friends over the years, I often found that certain ones I thought wouldn’t inspire much of a connection did in fact do so. With that in mind, I did little culling from my musings. While I concentrated on a definite theme in my other collection, August Kibler’s Stories for Tyler, (Bible characters) here I allowed the many years of pondering stand for itself with all the diversity in topics, mood and inspiration.

Where do you find your mind often wandering when you write poetry?

I am most fed by nature and the silence of contemplation within natural surroundings. However, I also try to better inform my own complicity with evil by digging deeply into contemporary issues and always trying not to buy the convenient answer too often sold to us by those in any role of power. Despite the darkness of any present moment, I know the work I have to do is to find hope and act on such as to bring those hopes to fruition.

‘Heavenly Drone’ is my favorite poem from the collection. Do you have a poem that stands out to you from this collection?

Heavenly Drone was inspired by a large fully-in-bloom Cenizo bush which was covered in bees. You could walk right up to the bush to watch them work—oblivious to my presence. The slightly modulating hum of their work was like a hymn of gratitude.

The Refugee is certainly one I would like for many to read and contemplate. On the lighter side of things, I have a fondness for Draft Horse Journal inspired by Amish neighbors working along side “modern farming.”

Do you plan to write and publish more works of poetry?

2020 has brought me to taking up some time to write two novels—something I’ve never made an attempt at before. I released As the Daisies Bloom at the same time as this collection and am working on finalizing a follow-up to it—Roots, Branches and Buzz Saws – More Stories of August Kibler. I hope to have this second novel released in January 2021.

Other than that, only time and inspiration will tell. I continue to jot down musings as they come to me. If it gets to a “collection’s worth,” I will release it so it is there for any interested.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon

Long abandoning the popular notions of optimism and pessimism, Looking Out onto Our World is a many-year journey, with plenty to despair, yet always with a mind toward hope, joy, and celebrating the many free gifts of creation. You are invited into musings that on one page delve into our complex complicity and on the next observe as a simple creature goes about its daily work. You are invited to examine where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are headed. It is a celebration of life and the grace that comes at the cost of each of us recognizing what we have done and what is still ours to do.

Noir

Noir: [Or, When the Night Comes] by [Derek R. King]

Noir is the French word for “dark,” and in his first poetry book, Derek R. King takes us on a chilling and deeply emotional journey through the different forms of darkness. Using the French term as a metaphor for the less desirable but unavoidable elements of life, King paints a picture of what it feels like to be plagued by these entities. He explores the depths of depression, loneliness, grief, heartbreak, and despair.

King communicates his themes using a mixture of verve and solemnity. This combination strikes several emotional chords and ensures his words reverberate in your mind long after hearing them. It’s the sort of feeling you want to get from poems that touch on the aspects of life that are shrouded in darkness. This feeling helps us acknowledge that these dark elements exist. And instead of running from them or repressing them, we challenge them.

The beauty of King’s work also lies in the simplicity with which he writes. His words are not only vivid and piercing; they are also easy to grasp. King obviously paid attention to Hemingway’s reply to Faulkner’s criticism: “poor Faulkner, does he really think big emotions come from big words?”

Apart from King’s apt choice of words, he applies thoughtful figurative expressions that add color to his dark themed poems. He brings the concepts to life by pulling the emotions out of the dark corners of the mind and into the light where they can be properly felt and understood.

The authenticity with which King writes is also worth mentioning. He supplies an honest appraisal of the emotions which lurk in the crevices of our hearts. He’s raw, direct, and brutally candid, as he makes us feel what we feel but cannot acknowledge. There’s a dark side. It’s not pretty, but it exists, and King isn’t afraid to point it out.

I believe King’s book helps us come to terms with several unpleasant emotions. His work is an interesting read if you want to take a deep dive into the sea of self-awareness that few venture into.

Pages: 154 | ASIN: B08HSKJLGX

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One Heart- Many Breaks

One Heart- Many Breaks by [Sandeep Kumar Mishra]

One Heart- Many Breaks is an autobiographical collection of provocative poetry by Sandeep Kumar Mishra. It is a set of contemporary poems that explore various emotions such as regret, depression, and even the dark places the mind goes when contemplating suicide. The majority of the poems in this compelling collection reflect on the personal situations Sandeep Kumar Mishra experienced and all of the bleak emotions that he felt over a twenty year span.

Sandeep Kumar Mishra provides readers with a thought-provoking collection of vivid poetry that delves into the numerous and diverse emotions that affect the heart and plague the mind. Each poem, to me, was exciting because I didn’t know where it would take me. The poems spoke on everything from life, family, friends, nature, our vexing society, and the universe. The collection is somber and sometimes dreary so it is best read when you’ve already got a touch of melancholy.

I highly recommend this collection of captivating poetry to anyone who loves poetry. This is a great collection that will inspire thought and helps you grapple with those dark emotions you might also be feeling.

Pages: 82 | ASIN : B08GY1G9KR

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White Folks Be Trippin’

The modern-day history of America is filled with police brutality and racial injustice towards black, brown and indigenous people. The unjust murders of people of color by the hand of police officers continue. But we cannot tie the racism only with these murders. Racism is a deep-rooted social evil that exists in every bit of this country. People express their racial mindset rather proudly. It is often presented as a national pride. Every raising voice against this is branded as anti-national. But the more they oppress, the higher will be the voice. This anthology propels that voice beyond limits. Every line, every word is filed with the personal experiences. Every poem reflects the anger, pain and injustice.

White Folks be trippin’ is not a typical collection of prose and poems. While reading this striking collection of poetry, you will feel the intensity of the underlying emotions. They speak volumes. You will experience a sudden urge to express your emotions too. This is our inner voice and our expression against oppression. Suddenly, we will find a space to pen down our raising thoughts.  J Mase III speaks to his readers through his passionate and emotive language. Because he knows every black, brown, indigenous, and queer person has gone through the same experiences at least once in their lifetime. If you can relate to the poetry you’ll find truth within the pages, if you cannot relate you’ll still be able to feel the authenticity in the words.

The feeling of sarcasm permeates some of the poetry. The author uncovers the contradictory nature of people and their weak efforts to create a liberal, empathetic, compassionate face for themselves. Although the author presents this true face with a touch of humor, these words can still pierce your heart. White Folks be trippin’ is an engaging and poignant collection of thought-provoking poetry.

Pages: 92 | ISBN: 1716758637

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