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An Interview with Salisa Grant! BGPS vol. 3 Winner!

Tell us a little about yourself! How old are you and where are you from? What’s a fun fact about your hometown?

I’m 32 years old and I am from a small city named Duluth, Minnesota. I haven’t lived there for a long time now but it will always be my hometown. My hometown sits at the tip of Lake Superior (the greatest of the Great Lakes). It is very hilly, and is often referred to as the San Francisco of the north because of all of the hills. It’s also the coldest and most beautiful place I’ve ever been.

When did you realize you had a love for art/poetry and writing?

I fell in love with poetry very early. As early as second grade. I loved the freedom of poetry. It felt like creating my own language. Sharing my work feels like sharing a part of my spirit with the world. It’s magic.

Do you have any published works? If so, tell us about them!

My poetry collection In These Black Hands was published in 2019 and is currently available on Amazon. It is my first poetry collection and I’m very proud of it. It is a blend of poetry and memoir and tells my stories of love, loss, Black motherhood, and healing.

Who and what has been an inspiration for you during your writing/poetry journey? What motivates you to keep creating during such difficult times?

I am inspired by the people I have loved and admired, the moments that have captivated or crushed me. I am generally inspired by my life. I am also a lover of Black literature and am always inspired by the Black poetic lineage that I hail from. I honor Audre Lorde, Lucille Clifton, Mari Evans, Gwendolyn Brooks and so many more as I write. I am an avid reader, I sit at their feet and listen to their echoes as often as I can.

What hobbies do you enjoy outside of your day job?

I love reading and singing with my children. I also love listening to music and watching my favorite movies and shows. Laughter is my favorite thing, I look for any and every opportunity to laugh.

What are some of your favorite books and who are some of your favorite writers?

The Book of Light by Lucille Clifton

A Good Woman by Lucille Clifton

Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde

Gorilla, My Love by Toni Cade Bambara

What was your experience like being a part of this contest/publication?

My experience has been wonderful. I am honored to be chosen as one of the three winners of the contest and to have two poems published in the collection. It feels amazing to be published alongside so many gifted writers.

Do you have any upcoming projects or events you’d like to share?

I am working on another poetry collection that I’m hoping to publish by the end of this year or next year. It will discuss my journey as a Black millennial woman, mother, and wife, and the traumas I’ve endured and overcome. As well as the ones I am still attempting to work through.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

My advice is specifically for aspiring writers who are Black women and girls: Even when the pen isn’t in your hand, you’re still a writer. Your stories are gold, your way of telling your stories is gold. You are gold. Keep writing.

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