Shelby Faulkner also known as Poetess is a 20 year old poet from Toledo Ohio, attending Bowling Green University. With metaphors and storytelling that leaves a listener thinking deeply and reflecting on life.. Poetess is a poet whom should be heard world wide. Inspiring, Dope, compelling , raw, and fearless in her art. As a fan of Poetess and her poetry, I wanted to know more about her, who is behind the artist, and so I reached out to her for an interview: Here is Poetess..
–How long have you been writing and performing poetry ?
Poetess: “Since a child I prayed to God every night. I asked him could he bless me with a gift. What was I good at? I needed some type of reassurance from him. For years I didn’t realize I was a writer. I wanted to be a stand up comedian. As a young woman my family would ask me to tell them jokes. Although, it was fun while it lasted it didn’t fulfill me or move me. I was battling depression. I then realized I was good at writing short stories, movie synopsis and performing monologues because my memorization was great.”
“In Highschool, I wrote my first book at age fifteen. I then started writing screenplays and started acting. Once I got to college I wanted to do something brave so I asked God for a challenge that would make me stronger. I met someone that told me about the Multicultural showcase that happens every year. I wanted to do it but stage fright was my biggest fear. I realized, fear isn’t of God so I was willing to do whatever it took. On September 4th, 2015, I performed my first poem ‘Dedications’ with my friend Will. That day, was the first time I felt the move of God in my body. Poetry was my first love and God has revealed himself to me.”
–What does being a poet mean for you?
Poetess: “Allowing yourself to be vulnerable for those who aren’t strong enough. Having a voice for the voiceless. Having power in your words and your own way of thinking. Understanding that no one can take that power away from you. ”
–How did you come up with your name ? (Poetess)
Poetess: “I discovered the word Poetess a few years back and it stuck with me. After I performed at the showcase my roommate and I decided to get tattoos and of course, I didn’t know what to get, so I just got Poetess.
It didn’t have any significance to me at first but I noticed everyone would read my tattoo and call me Poetess. It meant something. I didn’t want to be called Shelby Faulkner because she couldn’t handle attention. Poetess became an alter ego for me. She has strength, she isn’t afraid to speak her mind and Lastly, she’s a better version of who ‘Shelby Faulkner’ wants to become. ”
-What are some things that inspire you as a young Black woman; as a poet/artist?
Poetess: “Lyricism, Visuals, Storytelling. And Writing without limits. Rudy Francisco inspired me to write poetry with metaphors. I love to challenge people to think how they feel.”
-When performing poetry, what do you feel on stage; or on the mic /in the studio?
Poetess: “Once I hit the stage, I am no longer Shelby Faulkner. Meanwhile, I’m still working on being comfortable while being uncomfortable. If that makes sense. You have to remember that you’re trying to tell the audience something; because someone needs to hear and feel what you’re saying. I’m more nervous after a performance. I’m a very humble person which means I don’t like too much attention. I am an introverted poet that has to to be an extrovert sometimes. It sucks because my anxiety be on 10,000. ”
–What made you want to take it a step further than just people reading your poetry or watching you perform but recording your work and people being able to listen to it on SoundCloud ?
Poetess: “I was introduced to SoundCloud years back but I thought it was overrated. Many people wanted to hear my poem again and I met a friend that produces and engineers his own work he then offered to record me in his dorm room. I never saw anything like it. After hearing myself it showed me the difference of real emotions and fake ones. I had a voice and it was beautiful. Performing wise, I wanted them to see a living testimony. I met a lot of poets that would never perform on stage because of stage fright. Stage fright only last for five seconds or however long you allow it. You can do anything because God will provide. Poetry saved my life. Depression doesn’t live here anymore, anxiety comes and goes but it’s not welcomed to stay.”
– What’s one thing that you hope to accomplish from sharing your work ?
Poetess: “My biggest goal is to get booked for shows one day. I want to Speak to Junior high and high school students. Also, I want to save the world through poetry. You can touch someone with words. My father said, “Words are what we use to explain things” You’re giving them a voice. My biggest goal is to learn more about God and to introduce him to those that may not know of him. My pastor Chris Mitchell said, “Speak the Gospel and not the Gossip” I’ll do just that.”
– What are some things that you want people to know about Poetess, What are some things we should be looking out for from you in the future?
Poetess: “Poetess Is just getting started. She Is Intelligent, very humble and blessed but she’s also very fragile. More poetry, tour dates (goals) and an open mic spot. ”
Poetess, a lyrical inspiration.. thank you for this interview. Check out Poetess poetry on SoundCloud, Here is a link: https://soundcloud.com/shelby-faulkner-3/poetess-x-power-of-a-bleeding-sunflower
“Poetry doesn’t really matter to someone who is afraid to speak” – Poetess