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Being A Pro Islander Means Community

Photo courtesy of The Future is Us

Presented through a partnership with The Future Is Us which exists to fight Galveston youth through community voice so future generations can meet their full potential.

A way I believe to be a pro islander is to be involved with the community. By getting involved with the community I mean supporting a small business or finding out about community events that happen throughout the town. A good way to get involved with the community is to start doing poetry. On the island, some organizations focused on poetry are Coast to Soul and Universe Poetry. If you are young or have any young children interested in poetry there is one program for children called Iconoclast.

But what is poetry? According to Google, the definition of poetry is “literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm; poems collectively or as a genre of literature.” Recently I interviewed Torrina Harris, who is a professional poet in Galveston and I asked her a few questions such as what she thought poetry was. And her response was “Poetry is any kind of expression of self that can be tied to language, a written poem or a spoken poem that has never been written down. Or any form of expression coming from a

human experience that can be conveyed through language is what makes something a poem or poetry. There are a lot of spaces, especially academic spaces that try to do gatekeeping and there are a lot of people who feel they have a right to say what is and what is not poetry. I feel like poetry is a lot more fluid than that and I feel that scares people because it’s so powerful.” So anyone could be a poet because poetry is just expressing oneself.

The next question I asked was “When did you start writing poetry?” She stated she started writing in the fourth grade because it helps one’s mental health and it’s a safe space that is created for one to feel

safe. Writing poetry can convey how you think and feel.

The final question I asked was, “If one wanted to become a poet, what are the steps to take?” She responded, “One can start getting more familiar with poetry first such as reading poems and finding poets on Youtube. And trying to read a new poem every day which helps to stay connected.”

In summary, poetry is a great way to get connected with the community to express one’s mental health, in a non-judgmental way. And in the end, if you want to start trying out poetry a way you can get better is by knowing how you want your audience to feel when listening to or reading your poetry. Also be confident since it’s your poetry. Maybe try going to an open mic night just to get a feel of things.

Social Capital Torrina Harris, Phylicia French, Tamara, 2022 – Lupe Mendez, Houston.

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