Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Interview with Yolantha Harrison-Pace, author of Shout, Mammy, Shout!

It's my great pleasure to have Yolantha Harrison-Pace on Unwritten today. I met Yolantha a couple years ago. She is a super-talented performing poet and artist who puts all her heart and soul into her work. She uses her God-given talents to travel the world and spread a message of  love and peace. I am so happy to know her, and I hope you all will get to know her too. Read on and be sure to show her some love by leaving a comment.

Yolantha Harrison-Pace
Where are you from and what do you do when you’re not writing?

My main home would probably be Texas.  

When I am not writing I am a teaching artist with the Kentucky Arts Council and Promise Neighborhood or a reading scholar for Prime Time Readers.  Or I am traveling and serving as a Good Will Ambassador for under served women and children populations in America and beyond.  In addition I am a textile folk artist and illustrator.

Tell us about the writing process—what were your favorite and least favorite moments?

Writing for me is a full birthing experience.  The idea is the seed that is planted and then fertilized by my life experiences.  The idea germinates producing arms and legs that turn into notes and doodles, sentences and paragraphs in my prayer journals.  Once the parts are formed the story, poem, play or ghetto-tale is birthed into the universe to be enjoyed by the world.  The least favorite part of this process is when I have extra arms and legs and eyes and hips waiting to be processed into a publishable form.  I don't want to take any of God's words with me to the grave.

What’s your favorite cure for writer’s block?

For me there is no such thing as "writers block".  If I cannot write then I have not lived that day.  So I describe what I did that day no matter how mundane or insignificant the day seemed.  I have even written about the mundane-ness of my day or about insignificance and when all else failed I wrote about my WRITERS BLOCK.

Find it HERE!
Can you please share an excerpt?

WRITING EXCERPT FROM "Shout, Mammy, Shout!!!" This is what I call a "ghetto-tale".  GHETTO-TALES are stories or poems told from my own unique African American perspective.
City slickers, city slickers,
And then humiliating laughter
All daylong
Chanted and laughed my
Country cousins
Everything my four brothers and I said
Was city dumb
And provoked country laughter
Grandfather walked by--“You kids need to be out there picking cotton”
My cousins scattered
My brothers took their cue from my cousins
I was left standing in their dust
Squinting from the country sun
Watching Grandfather with his dignified country walk
Go into the barn
I imitated his walk, as best I could
Following him into the barn
He climbed up into the loft
Grandfather knew I was there
Without even letting me know
That he knew I was thereI followed to the first level
He went up another level and
Tossed down a bale of hay
Hay,” Grandfather said
The smell of it itched my nose so badly I sneezed
Snake” said Grandfather
Without breaking the stride of his every day voice
And he threw it down
It floated down in slow motion like in a nightmare
I screamed and hopped and jumped and jerked
Like a city slicker
Snaaaaaaake, snaaaaaaake, snaaaaaaake
I didn’t care; I’d never seen a country snake
Let alone ever had any kind of snake
Country, city, continental, island or other wise
Float down to my feet
When I was semi calm
Grandfather picked up the airy snake
And educated me on
How a snake sheds its skin
My grandfather was full of thunderous knowledge 

What’s your next/current writing project?

Currently  I am developing a poetry series and have several children's books being published through Gibson-Ragle Publications.  I also have a book coming out this fall and another the early part of 2015 with TRUBU PUBLISHING COMPANY.

Here’s a totally random question for you:
 Come up with your own silly haiku, but you must include the word “noodle”.

think hard women think
noodles of girlness are gone
ladies rule the world 

Thanks so much for stopping by! 


Yolantha (often branded as the  the new Maya Angelou, seasoned with Gwendolyn Brooks, bathed in Langston Hughes, peppered with Angela Davis, Sprinkled with Mother Teresa, lathered in William Shakespeare, rolled in Edgar allen Poe, embellished with Annes Sexton, skimmed from the African Motherland breakfast tables of Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) Pace's mission statement is unity through the pursuit of cultural excellence.  As a Good Will Ambassador she is called to hug the unhuggable, touch the touchable and listen to those who are forever unheard.  One sees the essence of her heritage as a descendant of African slaves and the Cherokee and Arapaho nations in her textile artistry and book illustrations.  She has served in Haiti since the year 2000 and will be broadening her service base soon in India.

is my website
book orders on 
and through Amazon

(Get more of YOLANTHA. Order her books through or For speaking engagements and booksignings contact YOLANTHA THE POET, in person, through
women's issues
environmental save the planet/celebrate earth
elementary schools
high schools
colleges and universities
churches and mission groups
book clubs
philanthropic groups

just ask...Yolantha will make a way

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