Hi, I'm Jen Landis, founder of Pincurl Girls and this is the GIRLBRAVE podcast. Today. I'm excited to talk to Emily, a slam poet from Utah. Emily started writing poetry as a way to get her feelings out. She competes in local slam poetry competitions and has learned so many life lessons because of it. Let's hop on and meet Emily.
Hi, Emily, how are you today?
I'm doing well. How are you?
Really good. Thank you. Thanks so much for being here.
How old are you and what grade are you going to be in next year?
I am 16 and, and I'm going to be in 11th grade a junior. So pretty exciting.
That it's very exciting. I read on your Instagram post a while back, maybe a few months, maybe six months, a poem that you wrote. And if I remember correctly, you weren't sure if you wanted to post it or not. How long have you been writing poetry?
I think it's been now since, maybe since eighth grade, when I started writing, getting more into the slam poetry scene, like, well, you know, as kids, right, those haikus that they make us do in like classes and stuff. But I think in eighth grade I started writing for fun and that's where it really just,you know, kickstarted and started developing into more of a hobby or interest of mine than just a little thing.
For those of us who don't know, what's the difference between slam poetry and just regular poetry?
So slam poetry is performance poetry. At least there's a few different types of poetry, but the two main types are what I call paper poetry or paper poems, which is poem poetry. That's mostly made for paper, meant to stay on paper and then slam poetry and performance poetry, which is meant to be spoken out loud and performed instead of just read.
So you do slam poetry?
I do. I also do some paper poetry, but slam poetry is my my focus, my main focus.
Do you have a poem right now? Just off the top of your head that you could share?
Yes, actually. Let me, let me open up my documents and find what I have. I do think I have something that'd be great.
I would love that this poem is about kind of figuring out who you are, in terms of what you like and how you feel. And I'm kind of feeling pressure. If you've ever felt pressured to conform or like shifts to a mold of what you should be wearing or how you should be acting or what you should look like. And it's it's a very personal poem for me and it's but I think it's something that really needs to be heard. So this poem is called Fit In:
Her pale skin
Her curly hair
Her fat uncontainable body at which everyone seems to stare
Her squirrel like cheeks
The way her breath smells when she speaks
The hair on her legs
And her untamable personality that absolutely no one needs.
That's what they would say about me
My personal style was controlled by those who wanted nothing about it what I wanted to own
The pink took over my closet my floors and my room
The makeup stains of yesterday covered my bedsheets in doom
A gallery of things I didn't want to be covered my arms, my skin, my everything
And I felt the gloom permeate into my heart and it left a scar an ugly wound a big old mark
And I learned to fear the mirror andI got used to the feeling of a different skin
A different style
And I learned to try to fit in
But fitting in was no longer enough
It changed everyday the trends seemed to fade and were replaced with new ones for only a day.
And I learned to take the teasing the hurting and the words
I learned to take the new way how my skin felt on my now hollowed bones
And I tried what I could and I tried to be thin like all the other girls
But I could never win
Because my genetics never changed and my hair never straightened
And I learned to hate the way of how my heart felt in my chest
And I learned that I was valued on the size of my breasts
And I gave up and It hurt and I tried to let them winI let myself be tossed into that painful lions denBut I don't wanna live like that.
So I tossed out all my makeup and wore the clothes
I won't let myself be valued on what the others thought
I let my hair be wild and my squirrel fat cheeks stay
And I threw my stupid attitude and everyone else's out the way
I wore vintage and stained tee shirts
I wore hoodies and suit coats
And I forgot about the words that all the others wrote
I learned how to say "screw you" to the critics they had to say
I learned how to be beautiful in my own entire way
Because everyone is beautiful it comes from within
But there are all was gonna be those who wanna push us in the lion's den
But we are stronger than diamonds we can learn this everyday
When we push the poison words of others out of the way
Because what they say isn't important you will soon come to find
Because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
Thank you so much for sharing that. That is beautiful. Very, very, very, very beautiful.
How long does it take to write something like that and where do you, I mean, their inspiration is personal, but yeah, where's that on average?
I find that I tend to write some of my best poems under pressure. So some of my best poems were written actually right before poetry slams right as I was about to go on stage and I actually had to improv the end on stage. So in that regard, like 20 minutes, some of my longer poems had taken three weeks to get perfectly down at it. It really differs. And my inspiration, it just comes from everywhere. It comes from my personal experience. Sometimes the experiences of my friends I think poetry is a really safe space to feel your emotions.
And so it's a really safe place to be really sad or really angry, upset, really excited about something really happy, really confused. And it's just a great place to put any of your emotions there. And it is totally safe. It is, you can share it with others, you can keep it just to yourself. And that's one of the things I love most about it.