Porsha Olayiwola Interview

Boston’s Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola

Boston’s Inspirational Poet Laureate
On March 6, 2019 Pine Manor College welcomed the 2014 Individual Poetry Slam Winner Porsha Olayiwola. Although the visit to Pine Manor was very brief it still was one that helped students and staff get to know the poet as well as interact in a writing workshop that would ultimately get the creativity flowing on campus. After participating in the workshop, we were able to sit down with the talented poet herself and learn more about her motives behind her writing.
 
Conifers Magazine: How did you start writing?
 
Porsha Olayiwola: I started writing when I was in high school. I started before that but one of my high school teachers was like “hey come to check out this youth poetry slam,” in Chicago and I saw it and it was life changing. I felt very opened you know like I was hearing people’s stories and I was like it moved me inside, I went home immediately and starting writing.
 
CM: Who do you write for?
 
PO: I mostly write for myself. Trying to figure out a understanding, trying to get closer to a understanding of the things I experience and see. Definitely myself but also like people who look like me, people who identify like me and people who don’t because that’s where human connections are made.
 
CM: Why write Poetry or write in general?
 
PO: I don’t know what else I would do. I have to do it, what else would I do. What would I be doing right now? I have no idea.
 
CM: Have you always felt supportive in your work?
 
PO: Not always, I always feel a great deal of support partnered with a great deal of critique. I feel like people are watching me very intensely because I’m queer, I’m black, and I’m a woman. I’m from a performance tradition and Im entering into a very literary world I feel like people scrutinize me to if that makes sense.
 
– Interview given for Conifers by Gabel Williams

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