By invitation of instructor, Leslie Gordon, I had the honor of speaking with students at Hapeville Charter Career Academy in Georgia this past spring. I shared a spoken word/poetry/activist presentation. To my surprise, a few weeks later, Ms. Gordon informed me that one of the students based her class project on my presentation and publicly shared an original poem for the very first time with the class as part of her assignment.
I was absolutely humbled and honored by the thought. I decided to catch up with this young lady and discovered that she is an absolute inspiration to her peers as well as to adults. My communication with her inspired me to feature her in an interview.
Introducing, Kiara Morris:
I was inspired to write this poem after l heard a recital of Ms.Madison's poem "Spirits Crossing." It made me want to go home and write immediately:
Poem excerpt: “Good Black Men”
[He] walks in
wets his lips, takes a seat, faces me;
I can barely breathe.
Soul of Jimi Hendrix, thick bushy hair
everywhere like soft licorice moss.
[He] can toy a poem, play you a song,
draw you the sun, carry the moon
and the stars on his back.
This brother is bad…
dipped in God's finest dark clay,
his eyes jeweled with the brightest gems.
He's one of plenty not one of few…
Check out my interview with Kiara below:
Congratulations on being an avid reader and passionate writer at such a young age! What authors have influenced you the most and why?
My all-time favorite and most influential author is Jane Austen. Austen was great because the underlying meaning in all of her work was the simplicity of everyday life, She showed the intricate nature of self- respect, experience, friendship, and love. I use those themes in my poetry and short stories, sweet and simple.
Describe how your love of reading began at such an early age and tell us what books really hooked you at first.
My mom read bedtime stories every night. My earliest memory of literature is of my mom reading, There's a Monster at the end of this Book, featuring Grover and Elmo from Sesame Street. I loved the adventures of stories!
Why do you think young people lose interest in reading/writing? Can you suggest anything that might motivate them?
I think some teenagers genuinely feel that reading is for school and school only. Not all people feel this way, but being force-fed Shakespeare in school can be enough to make teenagers never want to read again! My suggestion would be to find a daily or weekly blog that interests you ot to watch a movie then read the book! Lots of the movies out now are based on books.
In your bio you stated, “…it was easy to seek companionship in writing.” Explain how writing serves as your companion.
There's a quote on a coffee mug I have that says "Book lovers never go to bed alone." Writing and reading keeps me company because it always captivates me. I don't always have to text a friend; sometimes I just need a pen and paper.
You stated that the sociology class in high school was the first time you recited your work publicly. How did that feel?
It was a great experience and far less terrifying than I had envisioned it being. I felt like I was finally doing what I wanted instead of just day dreaming of it. Reciting my work was a big step for me, and it was an amazing!
How did the instructor and your classmates respond?
My instructor was really pleased, which was very flattering. My classmates were intrigued and asked questions. I answered quite happily, because I was shocked I was received so well.
Do you think you will continue your writing publicly? If so, how?
I know that I will continue to share my writing with others because the feeling of sharing it was so exhilarating! I plan to go to a poetry club and speak there. I also have a blog where I share my writing: http://beautyimplosion.blogspot.com/
There is a great deal of concern about our culture becoming more addicted to the web and less literate and knowledgeable at the same time particularly when it comes to youth. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
I disagree. True, it’s easy to view teenagers on their phones all day liking photos, but there's another side. Social media is the fastest way to spread news, and many teenagers see these things. We read about science discoveries, racial issues, political scandals, and injustice on the internet. I believe that most teenagers are still reading and learning, just in a less conventional way.
You are a writer/poet, visual artist, calligrapher, cellist, and an athlete. WOW! Do you find that so many interests make it hard to keep up and focus or do they help you to be well-rounded and better focused?
All of my skills help me stay on track. I am obsessed with productivity because if I’m not doing something, I just feel like I'm wasting time.
What words of encouragement would you leave for youth following behind you and seeking direction or a role model?
I would definitely tell them to do what THEY love, regardless of what their parents want or what their friends think they should do. I have seen so many of my friends with great talents miserable because they are following their parents or friends' dreams instead of their own. Live your own life, never hide your gorgeous smile, and do everything you do with all of your passion!
Thanks for taking the time during your busy college schedule to share with us, Kiara!
Many congratulations to this brilliant and exciting young writer/woman!!! Please inspire her with your support and encouragement! Bless her blog: Beauty Implosion!!!