1. 305 The Anthem of Poetry Sarah Elkins 55:21

305 The Anthem of Poetry


The arts have always been impactful and meaningful to humanity, however one stands above all the rest in this episode and that is poetry. Poetry conveys emotions and thoughts that are often difficult to put into words, making it one of the most important avenues for both emotional understanding and human connection. 

In this episode Sarah Elkins and Maya Williams discuss the importance of poetry and how Maya’s experiences and life paths shaped them into the artist they are. 



  • You’ll never know who you can teach or inspire.

  • Find the communities that welcome and love you.

  • Give yourself permission and encouragement to seek what you need and will work for you.

  • Do the work, especially when it’s hard.

  • We are all full of contradictions, meaning it is even more important to hold true to our values. 

  • Spite can be a great motivator, especially in succeeding and surviving.



“I remember telling my therapist, “Oh well, I know that not every space is perfect, right? So I just need to find the first thing that’s available to me.” And then my therapist tells me, “You do not have to go to a house of worship that does not love you.””

“It makes me feel upset when someone says something like, “Oh I tried going to a therapist but I just felt worse afterwards so I stopped going.” and it’s like that’s part of the work! That’s part of the work! I can understand not wanting to continue with a therapist if they said something bigoted or they didn’t do their jobs, right? But they’re doing their job and you feel worse afterwards, you need to give it more time.”

“The most impactful friends in my life are the ones who tell me like it is.”


Dear Listeners it is now your turn,

I’m curious to know if you have been interested in poetry. Have you ever found it interesting or intriguing or inspiring? And if you haven’t, why did you stop looking for poetry that might actually inspire you? I challenge you to find a poem in the next two days that really resonates, a poem you can get into, dive into, maybe find some of your own healing in it. It could be from one of Maya Williams’ books, it could be searching “Poems about,” and then putting your keyword in. Find your poem that can be your anthem for a little while, and when that gets tired find another to be your anthem for a little while, just as you would with song lyrics or a song. Don’t forget to purchase a book of poetry from your local bookstore to support your local poets.

And, as always, thank you for listening. 


About Maya (From her website)

Maya Williams (ey/em, they/them, and she/her) is a religious Black multiracial nonbinary suicide survivor who is currently an Ashley Bryan Fellow and the seventh Poet Laureate of Portland, Maine .

Maya’s debut poetry collection, Judas & Suicide, is available through Game Over Books . And Maya’s second poetry collection, Refused a Second Date, is available now through Harbor Editions. 

See the contact section on how to invite them to your next event as a workshop facilitator, performance feature, speaker, panelist, and/or honorary consensual virtual or air hugger. Maya’s content covers suicide awareness, mental health, faith, entertainment media, Grief, interpersonal relationships, intimate partner violence, and healing.

She graduated with a Bachelors in Social Work and a Bachelors of Art in English in May 2017. She graduated with a community practice-focused Masters in Social Work and Certificate in Applied Arts and Social Justice at the University of New England in May 2018. She graduated with a Masters in Fine Arts for Creative Writing with a Focus in Poetry at Randolph College in June 2022.

They have featured as a guest artist, panelist, and speaker in spaces such as The Mixed Remixed Festival in Los Angeles, California, The Interfaith Leadership Institute in Chicago, Illinois, Black Table Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota, TEDxYouth at Cape Elizabeth High School, and The Kennedy Center’s Arts Across America series.

Ey has competed locally and nationally in slam poetry since her freshman year at East Carolina University under the slam team Word of Mouth in Greenville, North Carolina. While with them, ey placed in the top 20 at the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) in 2015, and opened for folks such as Indira Allegra, Neil Hilborn, and Angela Davis.

They were a finalist of the Slam Free Or Die Qualifier Slam for their National Poetry Slam (NPS) 2018 team and a runner up of the Slam Free or Die Individual Slam Championship in 2018.

Maya has a Patreon you can donate to right here.

Be sure to go to Maya’s website by clicking here, as well as purchasing their book here, and checking out their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Poets mentioned in this episode


Maya Angelou

Anis Mojgani

Kaveh Akbar

Wanda Coleman

Andrea Philips

Mia Stuart Willis 

About Sarah

“Uncovering the right stories for the right audiences so executives, leaders, public speakers, and job seekers can clearly and actively demonstrate their character, values, and vision.”

In my work with Coaching clients, I guide people to improve their communication using storytelling as the foundation of our work together. What I’ve realized over years of Coaching and podcasting is that the majority of people don’t realize the impact of the stories they share – on their internal messages, and on the people they’re sharing them with.

My work with leaders and people who aspire to be leaders follows a similar path to the interviews on my podcast, uncovering pivotal moments in their lives and learning how to share them to connect more authentically with others, to make their presentations and speaking more engaging, to reveal patterns that have kept them stuck or moved them forward, and to improve their relationships at work and at home.

The audiobook, Your Stories Don’t Define You, How You Tell Them Will is now available!

Included with your purchase are two bonus tracks, songs recorded by Sarah’s band, Spare Change, in her living room in Montana.

Be sure to check out the Storytelling For Professionals Course as well to make sure you nail that next interview!

Sarah Elkins Chief Storymaker

Sarah Elkins brings her music, storytelling and many years in public service to the stage to engage and inspire her audience to think about how the stories they tell influence their identities and the perceptions of the people around them, and to take a deeper look in the mirror to experience the leader they were born to become.

She's a storyteller, keynote speaker, professional musician, author, and Gallup certified StrengthsFinder workplace communication coach. Her highly engaging, experiential presentations, workshops, and coaching packages with in-person and remote teams and their leaders are known to address and reduce miscommunication – the most common cause of tension and stress in the workplace.