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The Personhood Project Episode 10: Jason B. Crawford

After a whirlwind of events, poet Jason B. Crawford sits down with Aaron Tyler Hand for episode 10 of The Personhood Project. They discuss Crawford's debut collection, Year of the Unicorn Kidz, and take a closer look at vulnerability that radiates through the pages of Crawford's book. Crawford shares insight into writing from memory even when those memories don't present the writer on their best moments. True to Crawford's style, though, much of the conversation is on joy, and the act of writing about and talking about joy that is often overlooked. Specifically, Black and Queer joy.



Jason B Crawford:

It's a step out of capitalism; I'm sharing this poem with you because I love you as a person, and vice versa.

Poems:


We Use To Play Before COVID I remember being so nervous

cause the band would show up

and I would be setting up

and I would be singing. Them wanting me to join in.



Different People


I never care to worry bout everyone judging me but being

around ones that don’t are people that love me,

they are funny cause they know I laugh at everything.

And that wouldn’t always be my family,

it would be women I met in prison

they were the strongest and happiest.



Girls in Blue


Sittin here with the girls

in blue

wondering all of

the tragic things they’ve

been through



untitled


Anger raging bottled inside

shaken soda ready to explode

blooming inside trapped nowhere to

go

explosion

Pain, hurt, let go of the past

why

Sunflower, wild and free

growing and spreading with no where to

go



things that i bury inside


1. fear

2. who i really am

3. things that i really like

4. being afraid to be alone

5. how to open up

6. how to express myself

7. that i really need help

8. that it is okay for me to love myself

9. that i am beautiful

10. that i do not have to be afraid of myself


I give all of this to

you dear God our

lord and savior

in Jesus name

I pray, Amen.



untitled


What to show, what to hide

can they see what's kept

buried inside!


Fits of anger, fits of sorrow

hurt and frustration Hell being

played like guitar or so!


How to hang on when feeling

broken just keeping faith and

keeping to oneself!


The lord up above is the light

that guides me and I bury

myself in my bible and

workbooks to keep from

losing true faith and true self!



untitled


I bury fear and regret


and lots of other things


I think that it would bloom


into a very beautiful thing


one day.



Worry


I take a hot cup of coffee

—Blend in the Cap. Stirring

@ it like it does belong in

—the Clumps are all out.

I stir it & check it, taste it

—is it enough of either.

Did I do the right amount?

I’ll just leave it as is

& drink it even though

it may not be equally

right. When it’s gone

—I think about the next cup

if that one will be the one



untitled


The fear of true happiness

maybe the reality of

a real smile, not

a fake, to please people

grin, knowing that your

inside is the complete

opposite… Wanting to come

barreling out with

the roar of a lion.



untitled


Emotions.

Good memories.

My own positive attributes

My fears

My true self

If I were to show these things

to others I could be seen as

different that what i want to

portray. Maybe, though what I

portray isn’t as good as what

I really am. If I could

be a plant, I’d be a dandelion

because they fly free with just

a hard enough gust of wind.



Writing Prompts:

  1. The real power in Jason B. Crawford’s poem If I keep saying flowers in enough poems, I wonder if they’ll ever finally bloom is their use of imagery. This means that in each line of the poem, Jason chooses careful wording to evoke specific images in the reader's mind. Here, the repetition of flower types and what they are doing and where they are located spark such specific images for its readers. Think of a part of nature that you miss. Something that has such clear pictures in your mind. It could be a park you played at or a tree you climbed, anything you want! Describe this natural scene in a vivid way so the reader would feel like they can see the image just as clearly as you.

  2. At the heart of In defense of being off key to a Mariah Song is a poem that celebrates the little moments in life that are often overlooked. Here, Jason is writing about the joys of singing their favorite songs with their favorite people. In those places with those friends, it doesn’t matter if you can hit every note or even if you’re a good singer. What matters is that you’re just living in the moment with people you care about. Write a poem about singing one of your favorite songs accompanied by the people you love the most. What song are you singing? Who’s singing with you? Who’s off key? Who’s messing up the words? Where is this joyous moment happening? Go into detail so the reader can feel like they are in the room with you, singing along.


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