I have hinted at who my favourite poets are a couple times, but have never come out and said it directly. Well one poet that is on the top of that list for sure is Alysia Harris.
Besides being an incredible writer and performer there is such a genuine honesty to her work. I believe her every time. Which unfortunately is rare nowadays.
There is a raw energy in her writing, it feels like she pulls every poem thru herself and on to the page. She does with a poem what Sade does with a song, she wraps a universe into a small space, she then takes that space and creates an entire universe. Her poems are living rooms, they are things you can get comfortable inside of.
You often know when someone is writing for slam, or using a formula to try to gain fanfare, it is robotic in a way, it is a shiny thing. Alysia’s poems are not, they are weathered, they are the sweatshirt you gave your lover to keep them warm.
Another thing that I love about her poems is normally she starts off just talking to you. Speaking familiar things, identifiable things about family or love or life and then she builds — puts you right there on Mt. Everest and you did not even know you were traveling, did not know that you could go so high so fast. and just like that you are there on the edge of your seat, your hands coming together as if you had magnets in your palms. Your tear ducts throwing coal in the fire, getting ready to clock in.
There are a ton of great poems by Alysia, I say this a lot but picking the poem to spotlight is one of the hardest things about writing the post, so today I am going to cheat and post two.
One of my favourite poems is called “Baby Boy” and features another amazing artist Tina Colon.
[Side note – Tina Colon has a song called “God Who Guides” that I still listen to when I want to feel connected to something bigger than myself, when I want to remember what it was like to believe in god completely.] It is seriously a great song.
From what I can gather this poem came together on the spot, she heard the song and started writing and they just collaborated right there in the moment, which is why I am guessing there is so much raw energy in this video.
Another one of my favourites is “Depth over Distance” [Featuring Bridget Barkan]
Also check out the Mama Atlas Tour her and Jasmine Mans are putting on during the month of April at the official Tumblr.
Mama Atlas Tour