Writing Poetry with Draya Powers
The Connecticut-based Poet Discusses Her Introduction to the World of Writing
By Bridney Casillas
New London native and soon-to-be New Haven resident Draya Powers is a Connecticut-based poet, writer, and filmmaker who writes about themes that discuss feminism, sexual liberation, and social justice issues. The 25-year-old believes reading her poems to a wide variety of audiences will inspire those to have conversations and be poets.
Due to the pandemic, her drive for writing has significantly decreased although she writes poems from time to time. Emphasizing the importance of balance, she says it is important for any creative to take breaks that could help inspire and allow them to come up with new content to create.
Draya goes on to explain, "The infatuation with killing, shamelessly mimicking and over-sexualizing my brothers and sisters, the refusal to acknowledge a virus that has killed over half a million people and personal problems wearing down my mental health made me pause on sitting down with those thoughts to articulate them with my pen."
Whenever she gets a "spark" of inspiration, she writes them down. In total, she has written more than 150 poems, including couplets or refrains, starting from when she was in middle school.
"To anyone reading, I want to take a second to remind you that you are experiencing a pandemic for the [hopefully] first time of your life, so it’s completely understandable if you feel off your normal rhythm, and you’re safe to feel how you feel because you’re not the only one."
Draya participated in TalkYoSh!t Love and Erotic Poetry as a headliner for the live stream event on February 13, 2021. Coming from a strict Christian background where she had to refrain from discussing certain subjects, it was "mind-blowing" for her to say the words "fuck" and "pussy" in a space where it is encouraged.
Even as an adult, she admits she sometimes forgets that she does not need anyone else's decision to participate in an event that may tackle the sensitive subject matter. Being a part of the TalkYoSh!t Love and Erotic Poetry event allowed her to own her sexuality through liberation and empowerment.
"I never thought that I'd be telling people in public who I identify myself as, but life is too short to be concerned about other people’s opinions of me. I am an Aries! I don’t care 'cause I don’t have to (laughs)," says Draya.
Growing up in an artistic household, her parents valued the importance of expressing herself in any avenue she chose. As a child, she was enrolled in ballet and tap dancing classes and illustrated pictures in her spare time.
She also discovered her love for writing as she wrote stories for her family to read. Draya wrote her first poem at the age of 12 while attending a local after-school program for children - Writer's Block.
In 2008 at the age of 12, her cousin Attallah Sheppard introduced her to Writer's Block InK, a youth performing arts organization aimed at developing youths' creativity through the performing arts located in New London, Connecticut. While attending Writer's Block, Draya was involved in performing arts workshops and enjoyed performing on stage in a youth-led play written, produced, and organized by the youngsters.
Draya says it influenced her artistry and the impact it had led her to become a staff member at Writer's Block. Her devotion and passion to help enhance the creativity of youth at Writer's Block never went unnoticed, and in 2020 she became the Executive Director of the organization.
She has plans to turn her writings into short stories and scripts for independent films. By incorporating themes such as personal growth, Draya plans to write a poetry book that comes with a journal at the end to allow readers to become inspired and write their own poems.
"Poetry is like an orgasm, and once everything you’ve been holding in and carrying around with you is released, you’re smiling and feeling free even," says Draya.
Watch the 2019 documentary, written and directed by Draya Powers titled Born Black... And Female on YouTube.
Be sure to follow Draya Powers on Instagram @Blvck_Siren
for updates on her poetry and new releases.