3 social justice poems by Samantha Terrell

Advocacy

What happens when all the advocates are gone, and those who profit
Unknowingly from battles fought by others, must learn to cope
Without
The hope

Of realizing change? Then,
The ones whom martyrdom didn’t spare,
Will no longer be enslaved by the victims
Who took for granted their wares

And the rest will be left
Questioning their fates.
But those who sought their downfall, while victorious,
Will find the only game they won was hate.

Who We Are

We are the terrorists,
Who condone the murders of
Innocent children on their school buses, or
Lock them away from parents and loved ones,
Giving them a foil-blanket
Substitute for comfort.

We are the unreasonable,
Who close off
Our safe harbors—
The same ones our ancestors
Were offered—
From others.

We are the presumptuous,
Supposing the world
Will keep giving to us
Without repercussions
For our actions, while we
Continue our greedy consumption.

This is what it means
To be American,
In the land who shot the man
Who said, “We shall overcome!”
So, if this is who we are,
Who, then, shall we become?

Hurry up, Justice!

Hurry up, Justice! Haven’t you tarried long enough?
Masses wait in silence,
Or rage, or somewhere in-between
And still you taunt us with your absence.
Still, you mock us with your lingering, looming sense,
Withheld from our grasp.

But, you were never ours to hold.
So we push and prod to no avail.
We pray and
Wait
For you to prevail.
But Justice,
We’ve heard your arc is long.
We beg your Narrator to keep us strong.

Find Samantha at @honestypoetry

My book “Vision, and Other Things We Hide From” is due out from Potter’s Grove Press on March 9 th

Samantha is a widely published American poet whose work emphasizes issues of social justice and emotional integrity. Her collection “Vision, and Other Things We Hide From” is forthcoming from Potter’s Grove Press. Samantha and her family reside in Upstate New York, where they enjoy kayaking on still waters.

Featured photo by Gayatri Malhotra


Sunday Interview with Poet Samantha Terrell

1) Please describe your latest book, what about your book will intrigue the readers the
most, and what is the theme, mood? Or If you have a blog or project please describe the
concept of your project, blog, website


Samantha: Thanks for the opportunity to share! My website is samanthaterrell.com and my forthcoming
book is entitled “Vision, and Other Things We Hide From” which is a collection of poetry that
asks the reader to delve beneath the surface of everyday life, to discover what lessons lurk there.


2) What frame of mind and ideas lead to you writing your current book?


Samantha: The entire purpose of my work is to enable the reader to tap into their own emotions and drives
to shed light on the way they view the world. My hope is that by encouraging self-awareness, we
can all strive to be better “neighbors” to each other. Two areas specifically, frame almost all of
my serious work to that end – those two areas are emotional integrity and social awareness.


3) How old were you when you first have become serious about your writing, do you feel your work is always adapting?

Samantha: My work is definitely always adapting but I believe I stay true to the voice which has always
been with me. Before I knew how to read and write, I “wrote” long scribbles on any paper I
could find. At about age three, I remember getting in trouble for “writing” one of my stories on
piano sheet music. In school I always enjoyed creative writing and won several essay contests.
However it was at the end of my college career when I began to pursue poetry writing in earnest.


4) What authors, poets, musicians have helped shape your work, or who do you find yourself being drawn to the most?


Samantha: I have always enjoyed folk artists because I was raised on heavy doses of James Taylor, Pete
Seeger and Woody Guthrie. I appreciate the poetic nature of their work as well as underlying
social messages. Bands like U2, R.E.M. and Natalie Merchant became my favorites as a teenager for the same reasons.
I love all forms of poetry – traditional and contemporary, from Longfellow to Billy Collins; from
Emily Dickinson to Louise Glück.


5) What other activities do you enjoy doing creatively, or recreationally outside of
being a writer, and do you find any of these outside writing activities merge into
your mind and often become parts of a poem?

Samantha: I read whatever I can get my hands on, and have a passion for social issues which often
influences my work. (My degree is in Sociology, rather than English Literature and I worked in
Disability Services for several years after college.)
My husband and I have always enjoyed spending time in nature. We enjoy taking our sons
camping, hiking, fishing, kayaking, etc. It has been a blessing during Covid lockdown that we
haven’t had to sacrifice our family recreational activities. Nature is definitely also a great
inspiration for writing!


6) What is your favorite or preferred style of writing?


Samantha: Hmmm…It’s difficult to answer this one! One drawback of not having an English degree is not
knowing literary terminology. I have tried to self-educate, and obviously I know the difference
between haiku and free-verse, but there are times I feel I lack the vernacular to describe my own
work. Perhaps this keeps me from putting my style in a box, and allows me the freedom to write
as I wish! Generally speaking, I’d say I write approximately half and half rhymed and unrhymed
poetry, and I often use a first-person voice although I try not to overdo that as I understand it to
be bad form.
Personally, I dislike poetry that strings words together so loosely it seems like word salad. I want
my words to resonate with my readers, not leave them confused. Therefore, my style is a bit more
direct than some publishers and poetry critics prefer, but I don’t believe it’s so direct a reader
feels bullied.
No writer will appeal to all publishers and I’m not a person who tries to be
someone I’m not. As writers we have to take rejections along with successes.


7) Are there any other people/environments/hometowns/vacations that has helped influence your writing?


Samantha: I think I might have covered that one in some of the other questions. My family is an inspiration
and support to me. I sometimes write about my boys – hopefully not so much as to embarrass
them.

8) What is the most rewarding part of the writing process, and in turn the most frustrating part of the writing process?


Samantha: Rewarding – finding appropriate publishers. Frustrating – trying to find appropriate publishers.
See question #6!


9) How has the current times affected your work?  


Samantha: I’ve probably used the extra time to focus more on my writing and re-prioritize. Covid is
definitely a hindrance to everyday life, and the suffering of the world has influenced many of my
recent poems.

10) Please give us any links, social media info, upcoming events, etc for your work.
Samantha: Thanks again, Fevers of the Mind! My website is samanthaterrell.com and I’m on Twitter
@honestypoetry. My book “Vision, and Other Things We Hide From” is due out from Potter’s Grove Press on March 9 th

Samantha is a widely published American poet whose work emphasizes issues of social justice and emotional integrity. Her collection “Vision, and Other Things We Hide From” is forthcoming from Potter’s Grove Press. Samantha and her family reside in Upstate New York, where they enjoy kayaking on still waters.