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    Philly-Based Poet Shirmina Geneva Discusses “Finding the Ugly”

    Shirmina Geneva’s Journey as a Poet

    Shirmina Geneva first went to poetry club as a freshman at a new school. In fact, that was just the beginning of her journey. Shirmina Gevena went on to compete in poetry slams, which eventually became international.

    “Poetry club kind of transitioned into a team to compete against other high schools,” Shirmina Geneva said.

    Since then, she has grown wiser as a writer and as a poet. She has been experimenting with what she calls “page poetry” as an additional tool for exploring her voice as a spoken-word poet.

    “The performance part comes because I’m saying it as I’m writing it,” she said.

    Expressing Her Approach to Art

    Geneva is hopeful about her writing taking her in a multitude of different directions in the future. She says that her open-mindedness once contributed to a kind of disorientation. But she also says that it’s been “very freeing.” Though already published, she is currently in the process of learning how to archive her own work.

    Additionally, Shirmina Geneva truly wants people to notice the poetry that they are surrounded by. That way, “people could feel more comfortable and less burdened by talking about things that are burdening them.”

    Shirmina writes and performs poetry in the same way that she talks. Her poetry may be performed, but it is not performative.

    “A lot of poets want to sound like poets,” Geneva explained. “Whereas I really try to write like how I would rant.”

    “Of course,” she concedes, “because it is art it has to be stylized in a specific way; but my stylization of poetry has always been to make people see what I am feeling, and to see themselves in that as well.”

    Shirmina Geneva is willing to sacrifice artifice for verisimilitude. Her visuals and metaphors are authentic in that they always reflect her feelings and what they look like on her.

    Shirmina Geneva
    Shirmina showing her true colors

    Her home environment definitely influenced her and her fellow Philly-based poets.

    “In Philly, we’re very used to making the ugly the most beautiful thing,” she said. Geneva continued, “That has always been the theme of my poetry: finding the ugly that has nowhere else to go and giving it a home in poetry in my words, and reflecting it back to other people so they can see the beauty of it.”

    “Every person in the crowd is someone that I’m having a conversation with,” Geneva concluded. “After performing, each person feels seen and very blessed. I feel like I grew-up afraid to say how I felt so, to have a whole audience stop just to listen to what you have to say and how you feel, it’s a blessing.”

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    1. I really embrace her unique style and creativity.
      If Shirmina’s goal is for the audience to reflect within from the impact of her words, then yes, she is accomplishing her goals. Blessings to her on her healing journey. “If you want to save/heal the world, start with yourself first.” Seems like Shirmina has found a way to help us all heal as well.

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