The Breadcrumbs widget will appear here on the published site.
By Melissa Schack
GOODW.Y.N is a poet, author, podcaster, and performance artist based in New York. Her book, Warcries, is a collection of poems that will celebrate its 4th anniversary this year. She’s keeping busy with a podcast coming out this summer and a collection of poems that she shares a glimpse. You can catch up with her on Twitter and Facebook, or catch a reading with her on Instagram.
What are you working on during this difficult time?
I’m working on a lot of projects. My poetry project “Growing Up at the Time of Corona,” is coming along fine. I am submitting a lot of proposals for performances in the near future. I am also creating my podcast “Inner Spaces” and doing a lot of reading appearances for my book’s (Warcries) 4th anniversary.
How does expressing yourself through art give you power?
It reminds me that I am alive and that I am present in this world. It gives me not only a reason to fight, but also a way to fight injustice.
Would you mind providing a poem from Growing Up at the Time of Corona?
As the World Turns away (This is how I truly feel)
- For Ruth
I cannot pretend not to see anymore.
The look upon your face as you convince yourself,
That you are safe. That you are STILL safe, ALWAYS SAFE, AND ALWAYS
WILL BE SAFE.
“I don’t believe you…you’re a liar.” Bob Dylan said.
Once. I looked you in the face. Your white face, with your kind blue-gray eyes
And wrinkles that held back your worries. I saw what you did; what
You chose to do. Before the words escaped your mouth, “It wasn’t that bad…”
Replacing the notion that you were afraid—afraid of the men that decided to
Open carry as they stepped into your library, your sanctuary from the REST of us,
The place where your art blooms, like watered flowers, like flowers that were sunlit, like
Flowers that were loved.
I wish I could retreat there for a second into that library that world, away from the White men
who open carry.
The White men that frighten me to death; the White men that frighten you into silence—the
White Men who are protected by the White cops in blue, with their White armies in green, on the
television shot by their White streams of media in black suits, that play malicious meetings from
the orange White Man in black suits, who sits in the White House on the green hill.
Above it all.
Closing all the doors for us to run from US.
My blue American passport sits away in my charcoal computer bag: it is worthless now.
Nearly 99% of the globe won’t take it. Won’t touch us, due to the orange-White man’s stance on
Corona. Apparently, Black Lives Don’t Matter in Pandemics.
And yet my anger for him is outweighed; by my anger towards you.
Him, I expect to lie. But you and others like you, lie FOR him. You are his shade, on a hot
summer's day: the ice in his tea. The shelter from the storms that he and his cronies create.
And I am wasting my time, thinking about you. You, who turn away and swallow the fear--
knowing that before they turn on you, they will come for me.
And that makes all the difference.
How has COVID-19 affected your career and your personal life?
I think that COVID-19, put enough fright back into my life to cherish the people, places, and things that I am blessed to have. To cherish those people, places, and things that I literally fought for. I lost a lot to COVID-19—don’t get me wrong, I was supposed to tour this year and ALL of my gigs were canceled. I had to learn how to reprioritize my life because of it; keeping what matters close and being diligent. It is a ridiculously hard, but worthwhile thing to do every day.
Why is it important for people to support the arts, even during times of uncertainty?
People must support the arts because in the end art reflects humanity and what makes the world beautiful. Even the art that terrifies us has a place in that reflection because it forces us to cherish the beauty that we find when it finds us.
What are your book recommendations for those who are looking for material to read during mass quarantine?
Well outside of my book Warcries, they should be supporting other indie authors. One of my faves is black/Maybe by Roberto Carlos Garcia, or anything written by Mercy Tullis-Bukhari.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.