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Quanisha Patterson holds many titles, which include; National Spoken Word Artist, International Writer, Egalitarian, Youth Advocate, Co-Author, and Entrepreneur amongst many other titles.
Quanisha’s writing/poetic journey saw the limelight when she became a contributing author of the World’s Biggest Anthology, after which she became a co-author of Trapped in Thought by Tarik Braithwaite as well as The 4C’s anthology by Dr. Anana Phifer-Derilhomme.
She said, “I was awarded the George Simon Prize of Junior Visual Arts – 1st position. I was also the winner of the Guyana Poetry Organization’s 2021 Competition as well as a finalist in the Drama Festival 2020 and the only spoken word winner in the Guyana Talent Search 2021.”
Patterson is versed in spoken word and acting, and is a member of Lloyd N De Arts and has performed at various productions and national events.
She further added, “With a rigid spiritual background and an empathetic soul, I continue to strive for even greater heights and I undoubtedly encourage others to do the same.”
Quanisha noted that she was always a writer – it’s one of her innate gifts. Growing up, she was always the girl with the longest essay in the class and even now, she tends to overwrite.
She said, “At a tender age, I developed low self-esteem and this caused me to write as my method of catharsis and as my way of uplifting myself so I started writing poems approximately seven (7) years ago. My poetry was entirely personal until I expanded my writing to incorporate social issues as my way of raising awareness.”
Her advice for upcoming poets is to read and listen to as much poetry as you can. Learn about the diverse forms of poetry and choose your niche.
“Through this, you will be able to develop your style by broadening your spectrum and seeing what works for you and what doesn’t. It is important as an artist to always stay true to who you are and to prevent getting trapped in trying to be someone else. Don’t be afraid to draw inspiration from around you – poetry is way more than what we see on the pages. It is all around us.
“As it directly relates to those desirable to become spoken word artists, ensure you memorise your piece properly before performing so that you’re comfortable on stage. Additionally, try your best not to self-sabotage by giving a half-performance on stage due to nervousness. It definitely is easier said than done but once you take your craft seriously and you adequately prepare and rehearse, you’ll be fine,” is Quanisha’s advice to upcoming poets.
Managing both poetry and her studies is extremely difficult considering both activities are time-consuming.
However, she stated, “I undoubtedly believe that I owe it all to faith, determination and hard work. I’m a self-motivated person so whatever I decide to do, I always try to do to the best of my ability. Nevertheless, there are times I feel discouraged and demotivated so whenever those moments present themselves, I keep reminding myself of the reasons that I am sacrificing and doing all that I am which helps to keep me grounded and enable me to persevere.”
Further, she stated, “A practical way of managing them both is through prioritising. Henceforth, for example, if I have an examination or an assignment tomorrow and a performance next week – I would focus entirely on preparing for my examination or assignment instead of trying to handle everything all at once. It’s always good to take things one step at a time, instead of biting more than you’re able to chew.”
She added that as a writer, she faces challenges consisting of writer’s block and feeling overwhelmed amongst others.
“Whenever I have limited time to prepare for a performance, I usually get writer’s block which in simple terms is where I’m literally unable to write although I really do want to. To combat this, I usually take a break just to recuperate because in most instances, the pressure to meet the deadline causes the block. Additionally, writing prompts do help as well and partaking in activities that help me to relax. In terms of dealing with feeling overwhelmed, I take a micro-approach and just focus on each thing in isolation instead of everything at once because oftentimes, instead of just writing, I may have personal and academic tasks to complete that may further add to the pressure,” said Quanisha.
Most recently, Quanisha copped the Arts Advocacy Award from OrangeThe Runway. OrangeThe Runway is a show combining fashion and advocacy, birthed by Jamicia McCalmon.
“To say this is a privilege would be an understatement. I am extremely honoured and humbled to have received this Arts Advocacy Award from Orange The Runway because it speaks volumes and shows me that I am indeed making strides even when I don’t feel like I’m doing enough. I do extend my heartfelt congratulations to my friend Roberto Teekah as well! Upon receiving this award, I didn’t quite know what to say and as such, it took me a while to even post about it. The emotions I felt and still am feeling are undefinable. I feel elated not just because of the honour but to know that we are having open conversations and contributing to an initiative way bigger than us all and for this, I do thank Jamicia McCalmon for hosting such a memorable and important event.
“Additionally, I feel sentimental because I remember my younger self with all my insecurities and that I would have never imagined to be where I now am. I am also extremely saddened by the fact that so many women and men have been statistics and so many have suffered because of mental illnesses and trauma they’ve dealt with. However, upon reflecting on everything I would have done and my general journey, I feel motivated to do so much more and I’m grateful for the wonderful experiences and all the people I would have met along the way.
“There are moments I ask myself what really is my purpose and there are times when I really don’t know what to do but this really did warm my heart and it has shown me that maybe I am indeed doing something right. However, this award isn’t just for me but for all the amazing advocates because it really isn’t easy but we are still doing it and being voices for the voiceless. Here’s to us! Thank you all for your love and support everyone; I accept this award with immense gratitude,” said Quanisha after receiving the award at the Marriott Hotel on Sunday December 04, 2022.