Black Future Month // 2-11-10 // Aja Monet, Wordworker
Posted on February 11, 2011
In my travels as a writer, I’ve had the great fortune of meeting an incalculable number of poets, spoken word artists and emcees. They say if you’ve practiced 10,000 hours of anything, that makes you an expert. Ten thousand hours of poetry is probably a low-ball estimate. But let’s say, for safety’s sake, that I’ve heard just about that much. Not to be a hater (but I am, so whatever — come see me if you have a problem) but of those 10k hours, probably half has been mediocre (at best). unpracticed. historically inaccurate. offensive. boring. Much of the writing I hear comes from new, burgeoning writers. I see infinite promise in these young poets, and encourage their journey, as I impel myself to become a better writer, too. I’ll also say, in the interest of transparency, that I’ve probably written a couple thousand hours of bad poetry myself.
I guess it is safe to say that rarely am I rocked to my core by a poem. Rarely am I moved to hype another woman’s work. I always feel compelled to listen again after Aja Monet speaks. Brooklyn born and Chicago based, Aja is a siren. She’s a mystic who walks the earth. She’s a soothsayer who sits on my couch from time to time, and watches Law and Order. If this were The Color Purple, she’d be the friend that came to scratch all the sorrow out of my head. I learn from her every time we interact, and I’m honored to include one of her poems in progress as part of the Thickwit #blackfuture series. Her latest work Scared to Make Love, Scared Not to is available right now, son. Check her promo video here.
I have no doubt that Aja’ll be the laureate of all things good, someday soon. I asked Aja for a poem inspired by another black woman writer, so here’s her when in doubt, as inspired by Sonia Sanchez’s ballad.