National Poetry Month Celebration 2015
Bio: Angelique Palmer is a finalist in the 2015 Women of the World Poetry Slam and shares the #5 ranking with two other dynamic artists from the hard-fought, talent-latented bout.
A writer, teacher, and performer, she is from Miami by way of New Orleans, now calling Northern Virginia home. The Creative Writing graduate from Florida State University found slam poetry through Will “Da Real One” Bell, was born and raised on the Literary Café and Poetry Lounge stage and where a devotee is called a “Café Baby.” As an Elementary School Creative Writing Instructor at the American Poetry Museum in Washington, DC, she traveled to different area charter schools introducing creative writing as an art form and watching the faces of her students light up when they debut on the semester ending open mics. As a volunteer with Split This Rock, and DC Youth Slam she found new fire in the explosive talent of young people striving for greatness. Often taking on the role of an organizer and Angelique Palmer spent 3-plus years hosting weekly open mics and curating local poetry shows.
Since making her feature debut in Miami, 2008, Angelique continues to bring her brand of vulnerability and passion to stages, coffee houses and corporate events in Atlanta, Charlotte, Jersey City, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and all over Washington, DC. A former TV news producer turned elementary school teacher, she takes pride in her daughter, her students, and her walk through the world.
1. Where do you draw your inspiration from to write poetry?
I write about life, love and pain. Most of my writing is done in the 30/30 challenges. I like writing prompts because they help me to unpack a compound thought. And if I'm honest, those 30/30 poems were already writing themselves in my head way before I committ them to my harddrive.
2. What advice do you have for someone that is threatened by poetry?
Dear Threatened by Poetry:
Congratulations on your good instincts. Poetry will cut you! Poetry has teeth and claws and a comfortable seat in dark smoky bars. If you're uncomfortable it is because you're meant to be. But if you're comforted it is because you're meant to be. Poetry isn't there to threaten you, it is there to exist and speak truth.
3. What is an interesting fact about you?
I actually have 6 fingers on each hand! My daughter does too. I also haven't been on a date in 3+ years, I haven't seen a movie in a theatre in longer than that.
4. Where are you from/Where do you live?
I live in Manassas, VA. I am very proud to say I'm from New Orleans, Louisiana. I feel like that will always be home and I haven't lived there since I was 12.
5. Who is your favorite poet?
OH THIS IS SUCH A HARD QUESTION! I love different poets for different reasons; I love poets more than their poems and I love some poems more than their creators. I LOVE Nikky Finney! I can do with her subtlety and revealtion all day. And for a different reason I LOVE Marty McConnell. She is a lightning storm on stage; a person the eyes surrender to, an enjambment the brain waltzes with, and metaphors all rolled in talent. And for a different reason I think of Janae Johnson here; she is captivating! She uses her body and cadence to create a shared experience with her audience.
A poem by Angelique
Watch What Happens
There’s a boy I know...
met him last summer.
His body is a betrayal,
lies under oath.
His skin, for example,
a blueberry patch in summer sun.
A rare disorder turns the slightest brush,
into a blue ribbon surfacing
through the pail of milk;
even sitting on the wrong surface, at
the wrong velocity makes him
dove-coo a whimper
he makes small.
But he complains though, reacts.
as if being in pain
for that long and so often
isn’t enough to scramble a mind into
a gold medal cuss-out in the bad behavior relay.
He wins, a lot.
One time I touched this boy on the back,
he stared saltwater into every paper cut I ever had
and throb back into all my stubbed pinky toes.
loud enough for everyone to turn and look.
He took the camp counselor-sure out of me.
I was embarrassed, my mindless hands.
One time I went somewhere
with this boy I know;
everyone dipped and bobbed about
in the sweet cool of August swimming.
Blue-water smiles and sobering splashes.
I am not surprised,
because this boy is brave,
that he asked for permission
to go down the tallest water slide!
And I said yes.
Then, because he is a boy
he asked me to go with him.
I said yes.
And when the lifeguard said
he was too small to go alone, he asked again, only with a look.
Again I said yes.
sped to a plunge 10 seconds later.
The joy on his face
like a trophy
for winning life!
He asked immediately
could we go again.
I said yes.
He grabbed my hand
wincing, this act caused him
so much pain he had to
fight against; he used his free hand
to tuck the other fingers that had
straightened into shock.
He had to make himself hold my hand.
He told me plenty of people give him what he wants,
but no one was ever nice to him,
until I was. He said I was the nicest lady he knew.
I straightened into shock.
There’s this boy I know
met him last summer,
found out I have too much in common with:
every time I try anything hard
I land a wealth of blueberry bruises --
yell too loud and not loud enough
I have to bend my skin into
love and yes;
fight my pain for joy
and because the deep end is
the coolest part of the pool
I slide and leap and do it again
He taught me something too:
when someone asks you
for something simple
you can give it to them,
watch what happens.
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