Alysia Harris

Alysia Harris

Poet, Writer, Teaching-Artist

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON February 03, 2016

Discussion

Alysia Harris
Alysia Harris@poppyinthewheat · poet, Christian, teaching artist
Hello! I'm Alysia Nicole Harris, poet, performer, and activist. It's been great chatting. Thank you all so much for your questions. Please let's keep engaging over social media or via email. booking.alysiaharris@gmail.com. Have a blessed day! Go in power!
Jabari Jawan
Jabari Jawan@jabari_jawan
How does one stay consistent with their craft? Particularly poetry?
Alysia Harris
Alysia Harris@poppyinthewheat · poet, Christian, teaching artist
@jabari_jawan Jabari, are we really aiming for consistency or revelation?
Jabari Jawan
Jabari Jawan@jabari_jawan
@poppyinthewheat most of the time I aim for revelation, but get stuck when looking for it. Or how I would even begin to look for it. As a result it sort of feels forced and the work I produce is decent at face value. But I don't want to be just "decent." If that makes sense?
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Hi, Alysia! What's your favorite poem OF ALL TIME? 😊
Alysia Harris
Alysia Harris@poppyinthewheat · poet, Christian, teaching artist
@rrhoover Hi Ryan! Has to be good friday by Lucille Clifton or tonite by Agha Shahid Ali OR Buddy Wakefield's Convenience Stores
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
What's something you used to fervently believe that you now see as fundamentally misguided?
Alysia Harris
Alysia Harris@poppyinthewheat · poet, Christian, teaching artist
@eriktorenberg I used to believe people who didn't believe in the faith I believed exactly how I believed it were going to hell. I also used to believe that any form of relative theology was deeply flawed. I have a more nuanced approach that makes room for more questions and for more people. I'm way less sure about everything but it leaves a bit more room for change.
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
What's the difference between grace and mercy? What do most people misunderstand about those concepts?
Alysia Harris
Alysia Harris@poppyinthewheat · poet, Christian, teaching artist
@eriktorenberg Erik!!! You know I could talk about this for days. A simple definition of mercy is not getting the terrible things you deserve. Grace is being giving the wonderful things you don't deserve. Mercy is something that we have correlates of in our everyday societies: a commuted sentence for instance. Grace is when someone has wronged you and you go out of your way not just to forgive that person (an act of mercy) but to radically lavishly expensively love them. Mercy allows you to go back to your former life if you choose. Grace totally overwhelms you and surprises you and unmoors you, totally fucks your whole life up, that you can't go back to being the same person in the same way. I've experienced brief moments of it with my best friend Aysha and with my mother. but the only sustained experience of it I have found is in life with Jesus. I feel God's grace for me, a love that doesn't just look over my ugliness but sees it and still tells me I'm beautiful and worthy and powerful, a love that says not inspite of your brokenness but because of your brokenness I chose to walk with you and to love you. Yeah... that undoes me.
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
What's the biggest thing you've learned from conversations with Erik Torenberg?
Alysia Harris
Alysia Harris@poppyinthewheat · poet, Christian, teaching artist
@eriktorenberg that he's a dear friend and what a gift it is to be able to bring people together not to listen to you necessarily but to benefit from each other.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
Hey! When you were a child, what did you want to be when you 'grew up'?
Alysia Harris
Alysia Harris@poppyinthewheat · poet, Christian, teaching artist
@bentossell a botanist, a sharp shooter, a philosopher, an adventurer and a poet
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
What question have I not asked you that I should have?
Alysia Harris
Alysia Harris@poppyinthewheat · poet, Christian, teaching artist
@eriktorenberg I think there are a lot of questions that we could and should ask each other. If there were just one it probably would spell a swift end to our friendship.
Kenia Guillen
Kenia Guillen@kenia_guillen · Year
Hey Alysia, was there a defining moment in your life where you felt you found your mission?
Alysia Harris
Alysia Harris@poppyinthewheat · poet, Christian, teaching artist
@kenia_guillen I remember walking down the street in graduate school feeling very defeated and creatively dead. It was my second year and I was taking a class on programming which was kicking my ass. All of the sudden I hear someone calling down the street saying, "HEY POET! HEY POET!" Immediately I whirled around. I didn't know who this person was talking to. I didn't even know them but my reaction told me everything. It told me poet was a huge piece of my identity. That it wasn't something I would only do for a time. It wasn't what I did it was who I was. And that felt reassuring in that moment. But I believe we are given many calls and missions in life that change due to our circumstances. I believe poet is simply one of the calls on my life. In this season I am interested in engaging what the others might be.
Kenia Guillen
Kenia Guillen@kenia_guillen · Year
@poppyinthewheat That's beautiful, thank you for sharing! You're truly amazing. I wish you so much more success in bringing your vision to life! & Thank you for sharing your experience with grief, I personally needed to hear that.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
What are some of your favourite takeaways from performing over the last 7 years?
Alysia Harris
Alysia Harris@poppyinthewheat · poet, Christian, teaching artist
@bentossell that's a great question Ben! 1) regard your audience. See them, challenge them and care for them. It's my job to curate a space for empathy, investigation, and transparency 2) don't be afraid to be seen even as you are trying to see others. 3) perform your poems as if you've never heard them before, try to create within yourself the experience you hope to create within the audience 4) allow moments for grace. you are going to fuck up, forget a line, fumble it etc. allow the audience to experience that kind of intimacy with you. It's a moment for them to see you as human 5) take time for self care. Don't just relive trauma over and over for the sake of them poem.
Russian Concussion
Russian Concussion@devoooshka · Student
How do you break into the spoken word and poetry world alone? If it's difficult to find a community of like minded people, how do you go about sharing your work and working towards something that you hope will improve the world, if there are a lack of people around you who are willing to listen and share ideas with you?
Alysia Harris
Alysia Harris@poppyinthewheat · poet, Christian, teaching artist
@devoooshka Create that space!! If it doesn't exist be the one who models what that means and build the community that you don't see in the world. Also we aren't necessarily looking for like minded people. we are looking for people who are a part of our purpose and calling. They may or may not be like minded. But that's the beauty of forming an open honest community. you never know who will show up to contribute.
Isis Ziporrah
Isis Ziporrah@isis_ziporrah
Hey Alysia ! My name is Isis and I am a huge fan 💯💯 im 16years old and have a strong genuine love for beautiful words I attend poetry workshops to better my craft but sometimes I feel as though I am not as good as the people I am surrounded with. This year I will be trying out for a brave new voices team. If there are any tips, structures, techniques, that you can tell me to help better my craft they will be greatly appreciated. You are the one who inspire me to do spoken word every since I saw your piece "that girl" so to hear from you would be a dream come true, thank you!
Alysia Harris
Alysia Harris@poppyinthewheat · poet, Christian, teaching artist
@isis_ziporrah Hi Isis! I would say try not to compare yourself to the folks around you. All it does is stifle your creativity. Sure be inspired, borrow, steal, change, alter, riff off of, but really allow yourself to grow and really bask in hat opportunity. I'm not the same poet I was when I was 19th performing on BNV. And the poet you are now will also change as you continue working on your craft. Dedicating time to your craft is a gift, if you love poetry. If you just want people to like your poems, it's a chore. if you are trying to get better here are a few tips: READ MORE POETS. That's the most important thing, read poetry. Making your poems better on the page is part of being an artist committed to evolution. Read page poets in addition to spoken word artists. Also practice your poems in the mirror so you know what you look like on stage. Try to perform the poem differently every time. This will help you really decide what is the best way to communicate the poem to the audience.
Adam Marx
Adam Marx@adammarx13 · Freelance writer/editor and music addict
Hey Alysia, thanks for taking time today! I'm a poet myself and have been published a bit here and there. As poetry is such a unique form of literature, particularly in today's world, what advice would you give to new poets who want to get their pieces out there? Additionally, what services do you think are the best for doing so, and conversely, what services and/or avenues should be avoided in your opinion?
Alysia Harris
Alysia Harris@poppyinthewheat · poet, Christian, teaching artist
@adammarx13 Hi Adam! Honestly I think YouTube is the best way to get your poems out there. It's free, it allows for a multi-sensory experience of the work (visual, auditory, etc) and allows for people to engage, be inspired, and critique your piece. Small presses can be good and bad. Sometimes with a small press you can end up signing away your first book without getting paid for it. Larger presses know a little more about marketing and can offer you sometimes the best publication package for your work. But I would say one of the best things about poetry is the community it fosters and in that regard there is nothing better than slam.
Adam Marx
Adam Marx@adammarx13 · Freelance writer/editor and music addict
@poppyinthewheat Thanks for the feedback Alysia! Your points are well taken, and make a lot of sense. I think you're absolutely right about slam and its potential to create community. In my opinion, community is what makes any product or service magnetic for consumers, and it's certainly something I think all creatives should strive for in their creative process. :)
Alessandria Rhines
Alessandria Rhines@alessandria_rhines · Student
Hi Alysia, have you ever had an issue with one person or thing monopolizing the topics of your poetry? If so, how would you recommend finding something else to write about?
Alysia Harris
Alysia Harris@poppyinthewheat · poet, Christian, teaching artist
@alessandria_rhines Yes i have. I wrote scores and scores of poems about one particular ex. I was doing it because it was hard for me to process and also because it gave me some comfort. I would say give yourself writing prompts and don't let yourself right about that habitual topic until you finish the writing prompt. Also go have new experiences. It might be that this one thing is monopolizing your consciousness. Take time to say yes to new things, new people, new conversations. then celebrate them in your work.
yakari
yakari@yakarigabriel
if you could tell anything to your younger self, what would that be?
Alysia Harris
Alysia Harris@poppyinthewheat · poet, Christian, teaching artist
@yakarigabriel Be gracious to your ex lovers. They are doing their best. But do not settle for the things that don't contribute to your purpose. Also don't get a PhD in linguistics.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
What does your daily routine look like?
Alysia Harris
Alysia Harris@poppyinthewheat · poet, Christian, teaching artist
@bentossell Hi Ben. I wish I had more of a daily routine. I have to say sometimes I fall into the trap of getting ruled by anxiety which takes me out of my routine. But when I'm trying to counteract that I find a routine immensely alleviating. I get up early around 6 or 6:30. I shower. I pray and have devotional where I read the Bible. I work on my dissertation until about 11 or so. I make lunch and then I go out in the world. At night I talk to my friends (all of them) and my partner and then read books on theology or poetry until I fall asleep. Sometimes I write lol
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
What's the biggest thing about religion or anything else you think I've learned from conversing with you?
Alysia Harris
Alysia Harris@poppyinthewheat · poet, Christian, teaching artist
@eriktorenberg I don't know nor would I presume to speak for you. But i'd be curious to know. I hope it's not religious people are a little pedantic. I'm trying to get away from that.
Jacqueline von Tesmar
Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
If you had access to a Billion Dollars where would you put it to work?
Alysia Harris
Alysia Harris@poppyinthewheat · poet, Christian, teaching artist
@jacqvon hi Jacq! I would have to pray and think more on that because it wouldn't be something that I could decide simply based on need or affinity but where the funds can be best stewarded at that moment. The question would be more like where is God calling me to invest? And that is a question I am still trying to answer but a few options: serving and blessing the poor, creating and opening up dialogues between Muslims and Christians, equipping rural communities, allowing creative and financial freedom for burgeoning thinkers and artists.
Savannah D. Burge
Savannah D. Burge@sunnywithachanceoffire · I came, I saw, I walked back home.
Hi, Alysia! Currently I'm a junior with a double major in education and communications. My goal is to become a motivational speaker internationally with poetry as a major tool for me. In order to finish my degrees (they way I want to haha) I will need to have an entire year in two foreign languages. now, I understand an entire year won't make me exactly fluent, but conversational and being bilingual is very important to me. Knowing you are polylingual, what are the two languages you would suggest to someone in my field?
Alysia Harris
Alysia Harris@poppyinthewheat · poet, Christian, teaching artist
@sunnywithachanceoffire Savannah that is such a worthy goal. But I gotta be realistic with you. You won't even be conversational in a year unless that is all you do 24-7 for the entire year. You would have to basically abandon English all together and use those languages as much as possible. But education and communications: Spanish and Chinese probably
Savannah D. Burge
Savannah D. Burge@sunnywithachanceoffire · I came, I saw, I walked back home.
@poppyinthewheat thank you for your honest response!
Alex Carter
Alex Carter@alexcartaz · Operations @ 60dB. Ex-PH Podcasts 😻
What is the most important problem in the US and what do you think needs to happen to fix it?
Alysia Harris
Alysia Harris@poppyinthewheat · poet, Christian, teaching artist
@alexcartaz hi Alex. I think issues around race are the most important problem in the US because it influences not just the way we treat Black citizens but the way we treat immigrants and other minority citizens as well. I think we need both structural and social change: a culture that experiences grief and repentance rather than indulges in a hero complex and a government that needs severe overhaul in every sector including education, criminal justice, housing, financial reform, spiritual leadership and health care.