Se’lah Cox loves poetry and Montclair, and she’s combining her two loves this May when she organizes the first Montclair Poetry Festival.
Se’lah is a spoken word artist who travels across the country showcasing her art, as well as host a monthly open mic at InsaniTEA in Montclair called The Collective. She has written and published three books.
I recently sat down with Se’lah to learn more about the artist and discuss the festival:
Baristanet: Tell me more about yourself.
Se’lah: I grew up in Newark/Irvington, NJ. I was raised by a single dad, whom I owe the world to because he’s been my biggest supporter in life. My favorite color is mustard yellow. Odd choice? I know. It’s my Dad’s fault. Currently, I am a full time spoken word artist. I travel across the country with my art, host a monthly open mic at InsaniTEA called The Collective, founded and operate Mylk ‘n’ Honee Publishing & Productions under which I have written and published 3 books. I have 2 boys, ages 9 and 6, whom I do all of these things for.
Baristanet: Why Montclair for a Poetry Festival?
Se’lah: Oh my! Why not Montclair? As artistic as the township is, a festival of this kind seems only right. It has seen all sorts of festivals and celebrations of art throughout the years and poetry is an art that has yet to be fully celebrated in the town. Montclair is too rich in art not to have one.
Baristanet: Who is your favorite poet?
Se’lah: I can’t choose just one, Georgette! This is like asking me which is my favorite sense. I love and need them all! This is tough, but ok. I would have to say King David. The Psalms are some of the most beautiful love poems I have ever read. In a more current time, I would say Sonia Sanchez and Pablo Neruda.
Baristanet: What’s your favorite place in Montclair?
Se’lah: I have a few. Montclair is so amazing! Can I name my top 3? InsaniTEA, Church Street Starbucks and Adinkra House
Baristanet: What can we expect during the Festival?
Se’lah: Montclair can expect to be completely astounded during the festival! We have quite a few events that are sure to have the people on the edge of their seats. We are putting more emphasis on the arts of Spoken Word and Slam during the festival because it’s a genre you don’t quite see often enough even in other festivals and I want the world to see that element of poetry. It’s really amazing.
Baristanet: Who will be participating?
Se’lah: We have several businesses participating. Our friends at InsaniTEA, Montclair Public Library, Adinkra House, Just Kidding Around, Duke & Duchess and The Art Garage, among others, have all graciously opened their doors for some of our events. A full list of our Inaugural Poets will be published after our selections have been complete. Our submissions are still open and deadlines for all submitted material is March 1.
Baristanet: What are your expectations for the first Festival?
Se’lah: I expect it to be memorable. Poetry is my life so I am putting my very soul into the production of this celebration. I’m expecting someone, I don’t know who, to walk away feeling inspired. Even if it’s just one person out of the masses we anticipate attending, my job in producing this festival will be complete. I love it that much and I am truly excited about bringing this to life.
The Montclair Poetry Festival will be a 3 day celebration of the art of poetry. it will take place between May 30 to June 1, 2014.