True Poets: Getting to Know the Winners of February’s Poetry Contest

First, I hope this post finds everyone safe and healthy! Due to the current times, we all find ourselves living in these days, some actions take longer than others. Particularly, catching up with the winners of the Second Annual African American History Month Poetry Contest. After thinking about it, I realized the timing is not so bad because this month is National Poetry Month. So below, you will find the interviews with all three winners and their winning poems. Enjoy!

I now introduce to you Aries Rage, the grand prize winner of the second annual African American Poetry Contest.

A.H:. A round of applause to you as the first place winner who is also from the motherland of Africa. First of all, all of the participants made my task a difficult one. It was not easy choosing five poems to represent the best entries. Then choosing three and from those deciding on the first place winner. Know that your words were extraordinary. I am very thankful that you decided to enter the contest.

Q: Who is Aries Rage?
A: My name is Elizabeth Taderera D.T. I write most of my poems as Aries Rage which is almost like an alter ego. I was born in a city called Bulawayo in Zimbabwe on the 11 of April 1994. I currently reside in Gweru Zimbabwe. I love watching horror movies and writing as a hobby. I am not married and do not have any children. I am currently a Bartender and a published author with three books already published on Amazon kindle. I love work done by Maya Angelou and Stephen King. And my favorite Rappers of all time are Eminem and Nicki Minaj, and my favorite singer is Toni Braxton.

A.H. Well, we have a lot in common. I love Eminem, Maya Angelou, and Stephen King. When I was younger, horror was my thing. Let’s move on to your life as a poet.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to write poetry?
A: I realized I wanted to write poetry when I was doing my last year in High school, I fell in love with it through our literature subject. We would criticize work by other poets.. and I fell in love with the format of the work and decided to give it a try.

Q: Do you remember the first poetic piece you wrote/What type of poem was it?
A: The first poem I wrote was when I was in high school. It was a motivational piece, I tried my hand at.

Q: Why is African/African American poetry important to you?
A: African/African American poetry is important to me as it gives a voice to my fellow Africans telling a story that most people don’t know. And I think it’s important to educate people about the different cultures in the world.

Q: Have you used your voice to teach others to write African American poetry or poetry in general?
A: Yes I have… Have created a group/program that gives tips to those that wish to learn how to write poetry.

A.H. That must be an awesome group. Educating others in the craft must be rewarding for you.

Q: What made you decide to enter the contest?
A: I felt as if the competition was challenging and I like challenges so I took it up.

Q: How did you decide on the piece you wrote for the contest? Did you write more than one poem?
A: I just took my phone and started writing… I only wrote one poem and read it to my mom and I sent it.

A.H. They say moms know best. LOL!

Q: Where do you see yourself in the future as a poet?
A: I see myself as the next Maya Angelou of Zimbabwe.

A.H. That right Aries, dream big! Let’s move on to your literature life.

Q: Do you write prose/considering to write?
A: Yes I have written 5 books and I have published 3 of them on amazon.

Q: Have you ever been a ghostwriter?
A: No I have never been a Ghostwriter, and I haven’t considered doing so yet.

Q: Awesome. Now, tell me where can we follow you/contact you on social media or other platforms?
A: You can find me on Facebook I am
•Elizabeth Taderera (Aries Rage/ Lizzie)
•On Instagram I am aries_rage.
You can email me on duduziletanya@gmail.com

A.H. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to interview. Lastly, please leave some encouraging words for the world right now as we deal with this extraordinary time in our history.

A.R. Never give up and trust yourself because no one has your back more than yourself. No matter what you go through keep your focus insight.

A.H. Yes, have a clear vision and know this to shall pass. Thank you again Aries.

I hope you all enjoyed the interview with Aries. View her award-winning entry below. Feel free to post your positive thoughts.

Melanin so dark
night skies get jealous when I disappear
in its presence.
Skin so tanned the red sands of the Grand
Canyon becomes envious of me.

My mother sculpted this beauty
took the water from the Nile and
Tanganyika mixing it with the
sands of the Kalahari and Sahara;
while the African sun finishes up
the process burning hotter than
the volcanoes in Hawaii.

The mountains stood high
with King Kilimanjaro
protecting the offspring of
mother Africa and strong I become.
Africa the cradle of mankind,
where kings and queens come from.

Call me a Nubian princess
Or a Munhumutapa
Or Inkosi
African blood flows in my body.
I am proud to be African
Proud of my dialect
Proud of the crown bestowed
on my head.
I shall stand high on the horn of Africa
and shout I am African.

Aries Rage ©

Get to know Agada Patience Anthony Ejembi, the Second Annual Poetry Contest second-place winner.

It is always exciting to interview/get to know talented individuals. Below you will find the interview with Agada!

A.H. First of all let me say when I shared the contest this year, I did not anticipate the response I received. We had over 50 submissions and most of the contestants were from my ancestral land, your home continent, Africa. This was truly a treat for me and my team.

Q: Who are you?
A: My name is Agada Patience Anthony Ejembi, I’m from Benue state Nigeria but born in Langtang South local government area of Plateau state Nigeria and still residing in Jos, the city’s capital.
My favorite movie is WAR ROOM, favorite book is THE ALCHEMIST by Paulo Coelho and my best play as a child was “ten ten”. I enjoy a wide range of activities as hobbies such as; dancing, reading, writing, listening to music, talking, taking walks and playing games.
I am single. I am also a final year student of Mass Communication at the University of Jos, Plateau state Nigeria. I also have a wide range of favorite literature. Under drama is The Blinkards by Kobina Sekyi, under Prose is Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and under Poetry is Ambassador of Poverty by P. O. C Umeh. My favorite singer would be Asa and my favorite rapper is 2pac.

A.H. We have 2pac in common. Let’s move on to your poet’s life.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to write poetry?
A: I started writing poetry in 2013. I studied literature in secondary school and loved it so much. My school was invited to participate in a spoken word poetry contest at the annual GIRLCHILD day celebration, to this regard my literature teacher asked us to write a poem on the theme, “showcasing the potential of a GIRLCHILD”. We all did and two poems were selected to be performed at the contest; mine was one of them and I subsequently won the contest.

Q: Do you remember the first poetic piece you wrote/What type of poem was it?
A: Yes, I titled it THE GIRLCHILD. It was more of descriptive spoken word poetry. A beautiful eulogy to the girl child.

Q: Why is African/African American poetry important to you?
A: African /African American poetry is important to me because it allows for a wide range of participation between two continents of diverse ways of life. It gives room for various poets from these continents to tell their own true stories.

Q: Have you used your voice to teach others to write African American poetry or poetry in general?
A: Yes I have. Both online and offline, within my immediate environment.

Q: What made you decide to enter the contest?
A: Passion for the Art, the reward and the need to lend my voice to the growing poetry society.

Q: How did you decide on the piece you wrote for the contest? Did you write more than one poem?
A: I actually just wrote once. I wrote specifically for the contest. I wanted something that best describes Africa from an African perspective.

Q: Where do you see yourself in the future as a poet?
A: I see myself standing where my fathers( Maya Angelou, Shakespear,Ngogi WA Thiongo, Wole Soyinka, etc) stood and beyond.

A.H. Okay, let’s move on to your literature life.

Q: Do you write prose/considering to write?
A: I do write Prose, short stories mostly.

Q: Have you ever been a ghostwriter?
A: No, I haven’t.

Q: Where can we follow you/contact you on social media or other platforms?
A: You can follow me on Facebook at Wordsdiva Agada, on IG @Wordsdiva_Agada and Twitter is Wordsdivaagada2. I run a blog on WordPress; wordsdivablog.wordpress.com.

A.H. My blog is through WordPress as well. Now, finally, leave some words of encouragement for all of our family/friends/coworkers/society during our current extraordinary time.
A.P: You’re part of the world’s biggest puzzle and without you, the world is incomplete. You’re Rare!

A.H. Thank you for the opportunity to get to know you. I look forward to your future endeavors. Good luck to you.

I hope you all enjoyed the interview. See Agada’s winning poem below. Feel free to share your positive thoughts.

A.H.

AN AFRICAN’S POV.
Africa!
She is brave, beautiful and bright
at the break of dawn.
Glorious and graceful at sundown.
I have seen her skills in the legs of her super eagles,
Like the pyramid of Egypt, she is not feeble.
Her Savannahs births rich resources,
Out of her deserts comes forth treasures.

Africa!
She whose tale is told in distant lands,
through the voices of her poets
and the inks of her writers.
Wealth is spelt on her attires,
like the Ghanian Kentē
and the Nigerian Asokê.
She is an oasis of flowing goodness.

Africa!
Adorned in proud cultures and festivals,
Like the wide banks of river Nile on which tourists feed their bottomless imaginations.
Awing to its splendor like a baby
suckling it’s mother’s breasts.
The tenderness her waters whisper
can be heard even at the Zambezi River.

Africa!
She whose womb bore warriors and fighters.
Like Mohammed Ali whose fist knew no defeat.
Like Bob Marley whose music is a weapon of mental emancipation.
Like Venus and Serena Williams,
whose creativity storms the world of tennis.
Like Ngugi Was Thiongo and Maya Angelou
whose pen spits truth that shakes the world’s pillars.
Like Didier Frogs and Samuel Eto
whose tactical moves decorated the sky of soccer.

Africa!
I have seen the magic of her lands,
like the wonders of her Safari.
I feel the healing in her mountains,
like the serenity around Kilimanjaro.
She is the letter “A” in earth that makes it habitable.
A goddess and a black Queen,
with royalty glowing within her gene.

Africa!
She is an ancient freedom song
Sung by both the old and the young.

Finally, get to know La-Shawn Hudson, the Second Annual Poetry Contest third-place winner.

It is always exciting to interview/get to know talented individuals. Below you will find the interview with La-Shawn!

Q: Tell us about who you are?

A: I am La-Shawn Hudson from Miami, Florida. Being a military kid I was born in Phoneix, Arizona and right after my birth, we went back to our hometown of Miami. I currently live in Georgia. My favorite movie of all times is Harlem Nights. I truly adore any book by Terri McMillian and Toni Morrison. As a child, I participated in drama club and I enjoyed being the mother hen in my first-grade play. I can truly say I enjoy the play The Wiz. I enjoy writing poems and watching sports. I am married with 3 kids. My daughter is 24, My oldest son is 17, and my youngest son is 15. I have a one-year-old granddaughter. I am currently a special education teacher for which I have been doing for 21 years. I am a huge lover of Langston Hughes’s poems and my favorite is Ballad of the Landlord and Mother to Son. I am a huge New Edition fan.

A.H. Wow! New Edition, I have not heard that group’s name in a long time.

A.H. Let’s get into your life as a poet.

Q: When did you realize you wanted to write poetry?
A: I have been writing poems since third grade when I participated in my local district oratorical contest.

Q: Do you remember the first poetic piece you wrote/What type of poem was it?
A: The first poem I wrote was a Haiku for my 3rd-grade teacher. I Don’t remember the exact title of the poem.

Q: Why is African/African American poetry important to you?
A: African American poetry is important to me because it depicts a life that is complicated to understand for many who has not worn the shoes of an African American. It paints a picture of life struggles and accomplishments all in one thought.

Q: Have you used your voice to teach others to write African American poetry or poetry in general?
A: When I ask my students to write a poem, I always write one first to share with them and to provide an example of what is expected of them.

Q: What made you decide to enter the contest?
A: I decided to enter this contest because of the encouragement of a colleague. I thought it would be interesting to actually see if people actually feel my words other than my family.

Q: How did you decide on the piece you wrote for the contest? Did you write more than one poem?
A: The poem I entered into the contest derived from the observation of the life around me. How I view life as an African American evolved throughout history.

Q: Where do you see yourself in the future as a poet?
A: I actually want to write my own poetry book. I started a poetry book previously, but it was ruined during a past family move.

A.H. Dang it. I really hope you can recover from memory those poems lost. But let’s move on to your literature life.

Q: Do you write prose/considering to write?
A: I would love to write, it would be a change from the dissertation piece that I am working on.

A.H. Dissertation! Someone is seeking her doctorial degree. That is awesome.

Q: Have you ever been a ghostwriter?
A: Never been a ghostwriter.

Q: Where can we follow you/contact you on social media or other platforms?
A: I have a social media page but not for my poetry. You can follow me on Facebook (futureDrHudson) and on Instagram (Mrsalwaysimdoingme).

A.H. Leave some words of encouragement for all of our family/friends/coworkers/society during our current extraordinary time.
L.H.You only have one life granted to you and the only way others will know you is if you let them explore your inner thoughts through your words.

A.H. So in a nutshell, be a light everyone. I hope you all enjoy getting to know La-Shawn. Please see her winning poem below. Feel free to share your positive thoughts.

A Free in Me
By La-Shawn Hudson
Smooth and silky as an autumn breeze
Dark is the night silent whispers in the trees
Beyond the shadows a light will shine
The sound of letting freedom ring surrounds a cluttered mind
Long to see the starry night
Shining, the north star ever so bright
What do we hear, the sound of water rivers flowing?
Footsteps of trotters
Can you taste the breaking of the shackles?
The loosing of the strongholds suffocating our very existence
The weathering away of suppression
The oppressor no longer being able to compress us
Bells ringing let freedom ring
Chime in and let freedom ring
people marching let freedom ring
People Sitting let freedom ring
No longer bounded by segregation or de-humanization
The breeze, the fresh air, a crisp breathe in and breathe out
Breathe freely without a doubt
Released from the time master would seek us out
From the top of the mountains to the depths of the sea
No more looking over your shoulders for you and for me.

I hope everyone enjoyed these thought provoking and soul piercing poems.

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