Below is an excerpt from Dream Nation’s interview with poet, Alysia Harris.
Alysia Harris is an American poet, Yale graduate and one of the original members of The Strivers Row, a spoken word collective. Dream Nation caught up with Alysia to find out her inspirations, how life has changed since leaving The Strivers Row, what she does to get over that dreaded writer’s block and how she silenced the haters!
What attracted you to the craft of writing above other things?
I always say ‘writing got into me’. I was not the one that initiated that relationship. I was about ten and as soon as my teacher explained what poetry was I was like ‘I do that’. I had never done that before but in my heart it just resonated as the way I’ve been meaning to and feel most comfortable communicating, so I just started writing poems from then on.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learnt about yourself and others whilst pursuing your dream?
One of, if not the most, valuable lessons I’ve learned in life has been the art of transparency. I’ve been called a slut, a whore and a heretic because I’m a Christian woman who speaks about sexuality. It doesn’t affect me because you can’t call me anything I haven’t already called myself. You can’t expose something about me I haven’t already voluntarily exposed about myself so I have no fear or shame. One thing that separates people from each other is shame, which grows out of and is fed by fear. They say there are only two basic human desires- the desire to be known and the desire to be loved. If I can’t know you, then I can’t love you. If I love you, then my goal is to know you more deeply. I feel like transparency is key to that.