Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Sylvia Beverly, “Ladi Di”

Wombwell Rainbow Interviews

I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.

The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.

Forever In Your Eyez

Ms. Sylvia Dianne Beverly, “Ladi Di”

is a native of Washington, D.C,  founder/director of  “Girls with Hearts,” (youth poetry group),  poet, and author of Forever In Your Eyes (A potpourri of poems of love, appreciations and tributes, dedicated to Dr. Maya Angelou, Foreword by Dr. Franklin A. Sonn.  She attended the University of the District of Columbia, majoring in English. Ms. Beverly receives much joy from writing poetry, songs and short stories. She studied under the internationally acknowledged writer and poet, Gil Scott-Heron.

More recently, Ms. Beverly has a new DVD “Poetry Tyme in 2009” and a new CD “Welcome To Love”, dedicated to President Barak Obama.  She is an exceptionally proud student of “Do The Write Thing” publishing workshop, under direction of Kwame Alexander. In addition to original poetry, she frequently shares Dr. Maya Angelou’s poetry. Two of the main poems she recites are “Still I Rise”, and “Phenomenal Woman” along with others.

She has presented poetry around the Metropolitan Area, in several states and at the Lewisham Theater in Brixton, London, England. While touring London one of her poems “Love’s Been Here All The Time” was published in an anthology, “Whose Equality.” Also, Ms/ Beverly’s poetry was featured in “Artistic Expressions,” an exhibit of poetry, art and artefacts held in the Washington area, Dialogue, Motherland News, “Tuesdays” anthology,  “Echoes from the Caribbean”, Creative Circle and “Family Pictures”, Capital Bookfest 2007.

In addition to writing poetry, Ms. Beverly enjoys and has been blessed performing before many gracious audiences; National Zoological Park, Smithsonian, ( Easter Mondays the past 12 years), National Museum of History, Smithsonian, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian, Hishorn Museum, Smithsonian, Lincoln Theater, MedLink Nursing Center, Marwood Senior Apartments, Woodside Village, Public Libraries, Public Schools, churches throughout the Metropolitan area, Evening Exchange, WHUT-TV, News Channel 8, Color Me Poetry, Bowie State University, Comcast Cable TV 76, PG County, WOL, XM Satellite, Joe’s Place, WHUR-FM and WPFW Radio. She also has appeared at such places as Starbucks (Chinatown), DC Sanctuary, Dar Es Salaam Bookstore, Euphoria Ackee Tree Restaurant and Lounge, Kaffa House, Joe’s Movement Emporium, Iverson Mall, Market 5 Gallery, Karibu Books, RePrint Books, Capital Book Festival, and Ellington’s on Eighth, just to name a few.

Ms. Beverly’s most memorable performances have been opening for J. California Cooper, University of the District of Columbia, opening for Nikki Giovanni, Harrison Museum, Roanoke, Virginia and a special presentation for former Ambassador Franklin Sonn, South African Embassy for the United States of America.

Most of her poetry includes love, appreciation and inspiration. Ms. Beverly is a member of “Collective Voices”. During National Poetry Month 2005, she was recipient for her group “Collective Voices” of one of the first “NUSPA 2005” (National Underground Spoken Word Poetry Awards) trophies recognizing the Annual MLK Poetry Extravaganza as the best poetry event on the East Coast. Also, closing out National Poetry Month 2005, she was invited to participate in the “Pantene Total You Tour,” at D.C., empowering women. Along with “Collective Voices”, she performed poetry as part of “In the Spirit” for the Smithsonian, Anacostiaand Center for African American History and Culture, Summer 1999. After critiquing Dr. Martin Luther King’s, “I Have A Dream,” she decided to write her own dream, which helps provide the positive family environment we so desperately need today. This poem is entitled “Let This Dream Come True” and has been presented in the District of Columbia and Prince George and Metropolitan Boys and Girls’ Clubs. County Public Schools Museum Convention Center

Keeping in mind the African proverb, it takes a village to raise a child”, Ms. Beverly started a youth poetry group called “Girls with Hearts”, 1995 to present.  Since her retirement (September 2004) from 37 years federal government service, (26 years at the FCC), MS. Beverly directs Poetry Workshops at Senior Apartments. She was honored to read for D.C. Poet Laureate Dolores Kendrick in her “Poets in Progress” program, Folgers’s Shakespeare Library, December 2003, January 2005 and January 2006.

Celebrating National Poetry Month, Ms. Beverly hosted 9th Annual Poetry Festival at Iverson Mall. Ms. Beverly recently appeared at a wide variety of venues in the Metropolitan region, including the new documentary presented by Soul of the City, “City Unmasked”, along with her #One Fan, her mother, Dorothy Beverly, also on the air of waves of both WHUR 96.3FM, Heaven 1580AM and WPFW 89.3FM.

She currently is featured at www.authorsbookshop.com and www.facebook.com .  Ms. Beverly will be appearing at a wide variety of venues in the Nation’s capital and beyond. She is currently working on her new cookbook with love poems and plans to publish other books of poems, children’s books and fiction. Writing, especially poetry, is her passion.

The Interview

  1. When and why did you start writing poetry?

I started writing poetry in Elementary School.  I wrote a poem as a homework assignment, my teacher enjoyed so much, she ask that I deliver it for our Graduation speech.  I memorized and presented the poem “One Fond Farewell”.

  1. Who introduced you to poetry?

I was introduced to poetry by my parents.  They were both poets in thier own right.  My Mother loved Shakesphere and my Dad loved Paul Laurence Dunbar and Lanston Huges.  in the morning Dad woke us reciting Dunbar’s poetry “In the Morning”.  My favorite was when Dad sat me on his knee and recited “Little Brown Baby”.  “A Child’s Garden of Verses” by Robert Lewis Stevenson was my first full book of poems, Mommy and I read together and the last book we read together in 2013, the year she passed on to Glory.  My first poem I memorized and still recite is from this book, “The Swing”, by Stevenson.

  1. How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?

I never felt the pressure of elder poets.  I was always encouraged and uplifted by elderr poets and now I am the elder.

  1. What is your daily writing routine?

I dont have a daily writing routine.  I write often, whenever time and mind suits me.  Anytime, any place.  Poetry is my passion.

  1.  What motivates your “passion”?

Happy times, sad times, congratulatory times, celebrations, particular themes and workshops.  Just having the desire to write and it flows, then I put a poetic twist to it.  I am the passionate love poet.

6. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

The late Dr Maya Angelou’s poetry influences my writing by the honest convictions and jubilant celebration of being true to ones self.  Also The late Gil Scott Heron (who I was blessed to study under) influence my daily walk of staying active, having unique experiences in order to always have something to write about.

7.  Whom of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?

I love Eloise Greenfield because her poetry is sweet, kind, fun and informative.  I also love New York Times Best Seller Author Kwame Alexander because he consistently writes books that make children want to read and have fun while reading.  I’ve been inspired by my writing partner and special sister friend Diane Wilbon Parks who has a natural metaphoric flow to her poetry.   Poet/Author/Motivational Speaker  Lamont Carey is another poet I enjoy whether reading or listening to him perform his poetry.  He is an entertainer.  I have another young poet who I love, Nikki Holland who has a loving sensational sexy tone in her poetry.  There are many others that I enjoy and look forward to their upcoming books.

8.  What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”

I would say “Think it, Believe it, Achieve it.”  If you have the desire and the theme, get a book and a nice writing tool and start writing.

9.  Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.

First of all, I’m writing “Appetizer to My Heart” Recipes and Love Poems.  I am compiling and organizing my poems for “The Color of New”  book of poems by my group “Collective Voices”.  Writing Outlined Agenda for Writers on the Greenline”, writers workshop I will facillitate on March 9th.  I am setting up the Black History Program for Senior Group at Harmony Hall Regional Center in Ft Washington, sponsored by Maryland Parks and Planning with the Senior Poetry Club I facilitate, on Tuesday, February 26th.  Also on February 26, 2019 I will read my Poetry that is part of the “Poetry Poster Project”, a Presentation and Reception.  I am producing, hosting and presenting a Tribute to Aretha Franklin at the Creative Suitland Art Center in Prince Georges County Maryland, on March 30th, celebrating Womens History Month with my latest group “Dazzling Poetesses”.  Celebrating Womens History Month I will entertain the residents at the Council House with a dramatic presentation and poetry. (date to be announce).  God Bless you, Everyone.

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