Poetry Out Loud: New Year's Poetry Resolutions

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It’s the season for making resolutions. As we remember last year, 2019 is waiting, poised to usher in all things new and refreshed. Resolutions are therapeutic. They make us feel better about our tendency to procrastinate our goals and desires. Resolutions promise possibility.

Working on Poetry Out Loud has taught me how quickly words can infiltrate and inspire a person’s ambition. POL is a national recitation competition founded in 2005 to inspire high school students in furthering their literary development. Students gain confidence and a critical knowledge of traditional and contemporary writing, as well as a mastery of public speaking. Since its start, the competition has reached over 3 million students in over 10,000 schools in the nation. The Minnesota state competition will take place at The Loft Literary Center in the spring of 2019 where students will compete for prizes, and a national title.

This year I am looking forward to aligning my head, heart, and spirit in the image of poetry. I value its wondrous abilities / how it takes a word / and curates an ocean from a single breath / an abyss beneath emotion / a history / making memory from sound / the mouth singing / audacity and courage of the speaker /. Poetry is quick. It sneaks up on us and by the end of a stanza or a sentence, we are forever changed.  

This year I want poetry to change my life. I will speak my dreams into existence; I will publish my first full-length, while centering community, kinship, identity, culture, and truth, in my writing at all times. I will not be afraid to dream in absolutes. This year I will leap at every chance of opportunity that comes my way.

The best part of making poetry resolutions for the New Year is locating amazing poets for inspiration. Two upcoming books of poetry that I recommend reading are Magical Negro by Morgan Parker and The Tradition by Jericho Brown. Both of these writers weave lyrical skill through elegy, memory, and declaration while uplifting Black American melancholies and triumphs with a breathless cadence.

Both poets are gearing up to appear at Wordplay which will launch May 11–12, 2019 at the Loft. Wordplay aims to be the biggest party for literature Minnesota has ever seen. It will feature resources and activities for all ages and all readers! Stay tuned; you don't want to miss out on Wordplay! What are some of your New Year’s resolutions?


Shentoria Monaye is the Loft’s Poetry Out Loud intern for 2018-19. She is an aspiring writer, poet, and cultural critic from the Midwest, who believes that love and literature can be revolutionary. She has spent the last five years learning, consulting, and teaching with various organizations and colleges in MN on topics of intersectionality, diversity, equity, and inclusion. She is currently cultivating work centered around transformation and joy for women and people of color. In addition to her interests, she is eager to engage with folks who are interested in freedom work, and can be reached @shentoriamonaye across all platforms.