31 Days of Dreamers & Doers | Michelle Troxclair
Michelle Troxclair is a Poet, Spoken Word Artist and Arts Advocate. For over 20 years she has performed as a Spoken Word Artist, professionally for the past 8 years. She has worked with the Nebraska Writers Collective as Deputy Director and now as head of a new program providing creative writing services for Blackburn Alternative High School and the Douglas County Youth Correctional Center.
She is also a volunteer mentor with the FAYD Program, as a teaching artist for the North high school after schoolprogram. Michelle has recently launched a non-profit organization called Verse, Inc. for which she is the Founder and CEO.
Verse seeks to make poetry interesting through innovative, visual manifestation. Verse assists poets through craft improvement, project funding and publishing alternatives. It also provides writing workshops to bring new and up-and-coming writers along. Verse is the umbrella organization for Tapestries, an open mic that seeks to reach poets, spoken word artists, rappers, storytellers, songwriters and theatrical monologues. The goal is to establish artists from all walks of life to build relationships, inspire one another and even collaborate.
MT: I have been a Poet all my literate life. I was first published as a 1st-grader, the poem called 'Snow'. I was further enamored with poetry listening to Maya Angelou read; her voice was mesmerizing and commanding and fluid. I was inspired! Felicia Webster provided me my first opportunity to read my own work in front of an audience. My knees were shaking through the whole piece. At the end, the applause shook me — and I was bitten. The emotional connection that words evoke is so powerful!
What about poetry makes you so passionate about it?
I have watched the power of words work in the lives of those whose voices have been squelched. Young people and old have been able to be heard. Poets are the griots. We tell the stories, shine lights in dark places, move people to action and calm troubled waters. I have hosted numerous open mics over the years for that purpose. Mentored young people using poetry, for that purpose. I seek to perpetuate the art form for future generations, for that purpose. Writing is a cathartic process. So many can benefit from it.
MT: I have struggled with depression and have used my poetry often to write myself well. 10 years ago, I was working at Love’s Jazz and Arts Center and it was through the amazing people I met there that I realized the artist community was my community. Since then, I have worked to gain opportunities for that community. While at Love’s Jazz, I founded The Wordsmiths, a traveling spoken word troop. When I left Love’s Jazz, the Wordsmiths continued under Humanities Nebraska Speakers Bureau.
Michelle has been a trailblazer for poets, spoken word artists and other creatives through various foundations, initiatives and groups for so many that needed them and her. As she found ways to bring her light into the world, it has made a way for others to shine theirs as well.
To other poets, young and old -
"We reflect who we are in words, we tell our stories and connect us all spiritually."