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Using poetry to spread kindness
May 16, 2024

By James Logan Healthy Eagle reporters | Trapeta B. Mayson is a poet who wants her work to be meaningful and helpful to other people.

She was born in Liberia, in Africa, and came to Philadelphia when she was a child.

In school, she says, she felt like an outsider and it was hard for her to talk about her feelings. However, she loved to tell stories that no one else had heard.

When she went to college, she realized her voice, stories, and words were important. She ended up getting a degree in social work so she could help people with their problems. But she also pursued poetry.

In an interview with Healthy Eagle reporters, Ms. Mayson said she became a poet because she wanted to connect with other people.

“Poems can lift up people who are not feeling good,” she says, and they are also a way to tell the truth. When she started out, she wrote poems about her parents because they were the kindest people she knew, she says, and they were her role models.

Ms. Mayson was the 2020–21 poet laureate of Philadelphia. It is an honor that recognizes a poet’s work. To become the poet laureate, you have to apply, and the competition is tough. By the time Ms. Mayson applied, she had been writing poems for about 20 years. She says she was inspired to apply by the person who had the title before her.

Ms. Mayson says when she writes poems she isn’t pleased with, she still keeps them. She often revises them later.

The Healthy Eagle reporters were curious about her inspiration for the poem “Kindness Lives Here.” Ms. Mayson says she wrote it because she felt that kindness should be spread everywhere.

Spreading kindness is also what inspired her to create her poetry hotline. She wanted to make sure that poets could still reach others with their works during the pandemic. Ms. Mayson wants to share this message with everyone: “We are all poets. Just write your feelings down in a notebook.”

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