KEEP CLIMBING FROM HERE, WITH POETRY – Trapeta Mayson and her musical experience spoken and sung

Take poetry a step further as a softball-themed metaphor

She is the author of two self-published poetry collections, Mocha Melodies and She Was Once Herself. She was born in Liberia in 1967; she immigrated to the United States, where she grew up in Philadelphia. For her ability to balance poetic writing with participation in the urban social network, under the auspices of the Free Library of Philadelphia in 2019 Trapeta Mayson was chose as the fifth graduate poet of that city. To pilot a student-only program of historical site visits, she was partner with Parkway Northwest High School for Peace and Social Justice. In Philadelphia, in addition to reading poetry and raising awareness among young people, she worked for a mental health agency in the Kensington neighborhood.

She received an Art and Change Grant in 2014, while in 2016; she was nominate for a Pushcart Prize. In her role as a poet, Trapeta Mayson prefers to engage with mental health service agencies, thus involving many people to create and appreciate poetry. Her writing focuses on the experiences of immigrants in the United States, as well as the conflicts in Liberia and the everyday life of ordinary people. Her intellectual curiosity brought her closer to a multicultural artistic community in Germantown, the Green Street Artists Cooperative. With pieces of poetry and music, since 2000 she has collaborated with a jazz guitarist on the Sisters in Music project.

Some of her poetic lines from her have been place in a mural in the Free Library’s Logan Branch. She served as the director of Historic Germantown, thereby helping to promote historic homes in that neighborhood of Philadelphia. She is a Liberian-born poet, teacher, social worker and nonprofit administrator living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Trapeta Mayson was swor in for the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers Scholastic National Writing Awards 2019 in the Poetry category. The fruits of her poetic creativity have been exhibit at the Colored Girls Museum in Philadelphia.

AN INVITATION TO TRAVEL – In North Philly, we were ambushed by a rogue visitor; one that clutched our throats and threatened to choke us out of our budding Americana. That March, someone reported us to immigration. And after an investigation, we were sent a decision. Arriving in a letter, neat and succinct, was our invitation to travel. The Mayson family is ordered to depart from the United States of America at your own expense on or before April 2, 1979. And we were guilty of the worst crime. We had no papers. Dirty immigrants. Huddled masses. Illegal aliens. Pretending to be Americans, hiding in plain sight among the good people of Philadelphia. Frenzied lot of Liberians we were, not even living high off the fat of the land. We did not even sip their milk or their honey. A shrinking life we had. So hushed in fact, that night I strained to hear my father cry, my mother’s whimpers, barely audible. And even I learned to tuck this voice under my tongue and didn’t release it for years.

Along with other writers, she has guided high school students in the creation of poems concerning their experiences in historic Germantown. Her social experiences include hers in the Please Touch Museum, where she helped create tactile learning experiences for children. Graduated in science, she considers herself a sum of two continents and two ways of life, in Liberia and in Philadelphia. In both 2000 and 2004, Trapeta Mayson was a member of the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts. To get to know her better, please read PHILLY JAWNS, a revisited anthology of poems for women.

BUT THERE ISSTILL LIFE HERE (Extract – Someone tagged the shiny new bus stop shelter just days after the glass got busted out. Fat nasty letters graffitied on the boarded up frame commanded do not gentrify us! We spy small movements here and there. The man who bought the old firehouse and sat on it for 7 years is making “artist share spaces” with luxury apartments above. He makes sure the doors and windows, fences and barriers are hood proof for now. He does not speak to neighbors while he works. He and one of his golden hair boys hunch over this new project, loose limbed and unbothered, with a palpable air of ownership, like when a dog runs up on a new spot, sniffs it out, claims it and sprays.

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