The Poetic Soul: Yazmin Watkins
While hosting the 3rd Annual Love Jones poetry session I noticed a beautiful smile, soft tender elegance, and sophisticated persona sitting in the crowd. As I began to introduce the next poet this alluring young woman gracefully approached the stage and blessed everyone with her articulate poetry. Yazmin Monet Watkins is an award-winning spoken word artist, actress, and filmmaker. She took the time to chat with Senses Lifestyle about her poetry and future endeavors.
SL: When did you realize that poetry was in your heart?
“I think it was my heart that found poetry. Over the years I’ve found that poetry has been a vehicle for me to express myself, my struggles, my loves, my feelings, etc in a way that no other medium has been able to fulfill. I remember my first encounter with spoken word poetry my junior yr at Dickinson College. I was asked to be a part of an activist group called the Silent Poets. Our poems encompassed the theories we’d learn in class and incorporate them with our own lived experiences. We would take over the school cafeteria, faculty lounges, and classrooms and spit a poem in the middle of the fray for all our peers and educators to hear, it was a very exciting time. For the first time I realized and saw all the ways in which our voices could be used to create change on campus. I realized that spoken word poetry was not only a viable tool of communication but a means of social activism as well.”
SL: I have written a few poems and the times that I have done them were in times of depression or heartbreak. When are your poems written before you articulate them poetically?
“It really just depends on what’s happening in my life at the time. I’m not going to lie, some of my early poems are rather dark, but I now find inspiration all around me. As I mentioned before, some of my poems have definitely been created in response to the injustices that I see. The personal is very political for me and, in that sense; I also use poetry as a way to work through my love life as well. I recently released my first book of poems and photographs through Red Journal Publications entitled “Love Without Limits – The Bi-Laws of Love.” It explores one young bisexual woman’s experience with love, sexuality, religion, heartbreak and the cleansing power of self-love. I love without limits and am proud to have been able to share my journey with others.”
SL: What are the best topics you enjoy reciting? (Relationships, love, friends, etc?)
“Well first off, I would like to say I am honored and humbled to be in a position to share my voice and my stories with the community. I generally cater all my sets to the event at which I am performing. Last week I performed at the California State University Northridge (CSUN) campus for an event they had on women of color and trauma. One of the poems I performed there, One in Three, talks about domestic violence and date rape on college campuses. This weekend I’ll be performing at the Queer People of Color Conference so I will be doing a set of poems from my book which talks about love and religion and the LGBT/ queer community. It really just depends on the venue.”
SL: Who is your favorite poet?
“Aw man, that’s tough!! While I cannot isolate just one I will say two of my all time favorites are Audre Lorde and Alice Walker; incredibly brave trailblazers whose works continually inspire me.”
“One of my favorite Audre Lorde quotes (and believe me I have many from both) is an excerpt from The Transformation of Silence Into Language and Action where she says “What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? Perhaps for some of you here today, I am the face of one of your fears. Because I am a woman, because I am Black, because I am lesbian, because I am myself — a Black woman warrior poet doing my work — come to ask you, are you doing yours?”
*gives me chills every time. Her words serve as a reminder to continually speak my mind and share my stories because silence will not protect us.”
SL: Music to me is the significant other to poetry and when I listen to old school Tribe called quest, Jay , Dilla, Pete Rock, etc, that is poetry to me just in different form. What is your favorite musical artist that may inspire your style of poetry?
“Once again, SUCH a tough question. There is literally so much good music in this world it’s hard to decide on just one”
SL: Which one of your poems means the most to you and why?
“One of my favorite poems is entitled “Note to Self” I was at one of my lowest points when I wrote this poem and it told me exactly what I needed to hear. ”
The link to that poem is below 🙂
Interview By: Khorry Lewis
If you’d like to find out more about Yazmin Monet Watkins as an artist, please feel free to check out her website www.yazminmonetwatkins.com and be sure to connect with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jazyyazi