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National Poetry Month’s Feature: Poet Tonya Camille

Poet’s Bio:Tonya Camille was born and raised in Atlanta, GA, and is one of three triplets. She received her associate degree in Drama and Speech from Georgia State Perimeter College and a bachelor’s degree in Theatre and Performance Studies from Kennesaw State University. Her first open mic experience occurred at The Coffee Spot, located in Jonesboro, GA, in 2007. She has been performing ever since. Tonya is a yogi and is active in her community.  

Deliah Lawrence: What inspired you to be a poet?

Tonya Camille: Saul Williams inspired me to become a poet. When I was a senior at Kennesaw State University, a good friend invited me to attend an event where he was due to perform. I wasn’t familiar with his work so the night before, she lent me her copy of Dead Emcee Scrolls: The Lost Teachings of Hip-Hop to familiarize myself with his work. The next day I saw him in action. His writings moved me, and seeing him in his greatness, left me speechless. At that moment, I fell in love and crowned myself a poet. 

DL: If you were hosting a dinner party which three poets would be your dream guests and why?

TC: If I was hosting a dinner party, my dream guests would be Saul Williams, Suzan Lori Parks, and Ntozake Shange. Saul Williams because he made me fall in love with the art of poetry, Suzan Lori Parks because her writing style gave me permission to be myself, and Ntozake Shange for giving black women a voice. 

DL: If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

TC: Resilient, reflective and grateful. 

DL: In celebration of National Poetry Month, can you share with us a few of your poems?

TC: Sure, here you go! 

the state of being certain 

I was created to be a man’s wife.

Formed in my mother’s womb to wash their clothes,

Fill their bellies with tomato soup with a hint of basil and oregano from my garden,

Be their arm piece, bare their children and fuck them till they fall asleep.

I believed that I was there to support their dreams, fan their fire, fluff the pillows of their imaginations and drink the tears of their frustration. 

My name is Alice

I was convinced that I needed them, needed him to bestow a price tag on me, crown me with their lineage and place my acne- prone skin on a pedestal made of rice. So, I could parade my peacock feathers in front of women who desperately wanted the same. 

A dream of my mother

I imagined such partnership with consistent sex without me searching through my phone and hoping someone was as horny as me and clean as a newborn. 

Am I a hoe?

I blindly surrendered the child I’ve ignored since 12. When I was labeled too much, too aggressive for love.

My audience are women whose identity were their last names and worth disappeared with their youthful figures. 

Old school

I’m thinking to myself do I want to get married? Do I want children? The age of my body is constantly reminding me that I do not have the luxury of time. 

That’s why I’m standing at the shore of myself, too afraid to jump into the ocean of Coltrane.

Being unmarried and childless is a curse. I believed, bestowed on women who fucked up their past lives and karma wanted to teach them a lesson. Maybe I fucked up mine? Maybe I forgot to water myself and quinch the thirst of my roots damned to try again. 

This lifetime.

Do I want to give up the freedom of needing no one? Of needing my Atman that I’m slowly discovering beneath the weeds of my existence.  

DL: Where can readers learn more about you and your poetry?

TC: Readers can connect with me here:

DL: Thanks so much for being here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.

TC:Thanks again for the opportunity! 

National Poetry Month’s Feature: Poet Tonya Camille &Raquo; Tonya%20Camille%20Poet%20Feature%204 20 22

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Deliah Lawrence Attorney, Author, Blogger, Workshop Facilitator

Deliah Lawrence is a Maryland-based attorney and award-winning author of two romantic suspense novels (Gotta Let It Go and Gotta Get It Back) set in Baltimore. She’s also a blogger and workshop facilitator who writes poetry and short stories.

When Deliah isn’t writing, you can find her reading a book, indulging in her addiction to investigation discovery shows; or painting her yet-to-be exhibited oil artworks of landscapes, portraits or whatever else comes to her creative mind. Constantly on the go, she is also a member of the Black Writers’ Guild of Maryland and Sisters in Crime.

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