My niche on Clubhouse is poetry. It is something that I love and cling to when I need a place of solace and refuge. In the spirit of building community, poetry has has been a significant connector in many of the spaces that I am choosing to go to from my hallway. For this blog I am highlighting one that I truly adore and honor: Poetry Palace.
Welcome to the Poetry Palace
As a poet, it is important that I am able to share my poems in a safe environment that is free of judgment or critique. I want to be able to share pieces that are written five minutes prior to sharing and pieces that I have long finished days, months or even years ago. Spaces like that are many and Poetry Palace is one that I frequent regularly when I am able to. Being a truly inclusive and diverse space, it is common to see poets in the room from throughout the Black diaspora; poets from countries like, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Qatar and New Zealand; poets of both cis- and trans- gender binary and non-binary identifications; and poets of all sexual orientations. Poetry Palace is a space that curates an environment that makes EVERY poet feel comfortable in centering their personal truths without negating another poet’s truth. It is ALL love at the Poetry Palace.
My Experience of the Poetry Palace
On this particular visit, when I entered the space, a poet who had never recited a poem on Clubhouse was preparing to present a piece to the audience. The creator and curator of this space, Kristal Garcia, was heard assuring this timid newfound poet that Poetry Palace was supportive and nurturing and that all experiences were welcomed. This poet began reading and upon finishing, the co-moderators along with all the other poets on the stage vigorously flashed their mics (a Clubhouse “hand clapping” signal). The reader was so appreciative of the support and the love and let the room that they’d be back to share more. In other instances I observed:
- Bhavin, a confidence coach working in digital marketing, felt brave enough to debut his version of hip hop lyrics after being encouraged to explore this passion through poetry.
- a moment specifically set aside to honor and send love to Houston, Texas for all those living there who were struggling because of the recent “Snowmageddon”.
- a poet from Germany who had a strong accent apologized for her accent. One of the moderators, Christopher Michael, echoed a resounding, “we do not accept your apology because there is NOTHING wrong with the way you speak” and mics start flashing with great applause.
- Kristal takes the stage to bear her soul through a piece before centering the room about self-love.
This is the culture of Poetry Palace in just a few highlighted poetry exchanges that happened throughout the time I was there to witness. Every story was not only accepted but celebrated.
A Chat With the Founder of the Poetry Palace on Clubhouse, Kristal Garcia
photo courtesy of Kristal Garcia
1. What is your vision for the Poetry Palace?
My vision for the Poetry Palace is to have a space where people who are curious about poetry can mingle with those who may have done poetry for years and dip their toes into the art whereas they may have been too afraid to before. I want people to see that poetry is not elite and that it belongs to everyone who would like it to. I want people to feel safe to express and explore because standing in our voice is how we make a difference in this world. Poetry is a beautiful way to get comfortable with our own unique voice which expands beyond poetry and into our daily lives. From the mental health aspect, poetry is an excellent tool for health and healing. As a survivor of covert sex trafficking, poetry supported me in finding my voice through my own experiences and helped me to stand strong in my self love and in this, my sovereignty. Moving from surviving to thriving is what inspired me to become a Self-Love Coach and poetry has been a powerful instrument of this work of self-love. My vision for Poetry Palace also includes it being a space blooming with the respect for all backgrounds, spiritualities, religions and is considered a strong supporter of LGBTQ2+ community. Poetry Palace is a space where we can be with our open hearts together in our authenticity which looks different for each person and doesn’t fit a specific box. The highlight of Poetry Palace is that no experience is required to be in a part of the room because we are all masters of our experience and we do not critique here so we can just vibe here with the poetry and each other.
2. Why do you believe poets and poetry lovers are gravitating to this space?
I believe poets and poetry lovers come to the Poetry Palace because they can feel a loving family vibe when they enter the room and because it is truly a safe and warm loving space to relax and express in. Everyone knows our amazing moderators all contribute to bringing love,creativity, inspiration and open heartedness to the space and our camaraderie and exchanges of joy are an open invitation for people to return. We do not censor people in the Poetry Palace so everyone has the space to express their raw feelings [with being conscientious of administering trigger warnings, of course, to keep the space safe for the listeners] in the room and know that they are supported in their unique self expression. We also welcome listeners and there is no pressure to come onto the stage so people are welcome to come in and stay in the audience and enjoy the show. Listeners are appreciated and respected as well as the speakers as listening is a sacred art and a form of honoring as well. The Poetry Palace holds beautiful space for our speakers and we take the time to pour love on each person. We are also very tender with those who have come up to the stage for the first time. Ultimately I believe people gravitate toward the Poetry Palace because this space is bigger than any individual; it is a community that everyone who enters the Palace contributes to and all are welcomed with open arms.
3. As a poet and activist, how does your voice lend to the your presence on Clubhouse?
I’ve been a poet since I was very little scribbling words to guide me through my days. Poetry was something so natural to my every day life that it honestly took me awhile to notice it as something extraordinary in my life because it was so common place for me. What I did know was it was breath for me and it was my sanctuary. As for my advocacy, I’ve been a human rights advocate for over 20 years and the key point I learned from it is to open my heart in ways that challenged me to see the person before me while also using my voice to create awareness. There are poems I share that are advocacy poems to open eyes and minds to topics that our society may often not pay much attention to. Because of being a poet and advocate, I have experience that contributes to the foundational vibe of Poetry Palace of being one of artistic expression as well as full self expression in taking a stand in who we are and how that truly makes a difference in this world.
4. How can Clubhousers support Kristal on and off Clubhouse?
On Clubhouse you can follow me by searching my Clubhouse ID: @OpenHeartsUnite and click notifications so you can be notified when Poetry Palace is going LIVE. Poetry Palace is available every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6-10am EST. As for as off of Clubhouse, you can sign up to my weekly newsletter on my website https://www.openheartsunite.org/ to get self love messages directly to your email. If you sign up to the newsletter you’ll also receive a free self love guided meditation once so makes sure to add OpenHeartsUnite@gmail.com to your contacts so it does not get lost in spam.
I’m a Self Love Coach, Professional Speaker- Transformational Speaker- and Dream facilitator all of which you can find out more about on my website, I am here to be of service to your journey. I have Self Love Poetry Workshops which you can also find out more on my website the link of which is also available on my Instagram @OpenHeartsUnite. If you would like to participate in my workshops or sponsor/gift someone one of my workshops or my Life Coaching, reach out via my website.
My book ‘From The Mud: The Alchemy Of Self Love Poetry’ is available for purchase on Amazon. I am a big advocate of self love activism and to me it is the most powerful form of activism. My logo is more than a logo it is a focus, I am a stand for open hearts uniting. I believe a powerful way of supporting each other is by creating the moments of putting our self love first as when self love comes first, that is what shifts the way this world is in action. I believe in you, I believe in self love.
So You’ve Been to the Poetry Palace
I asked some Poetry Palace regulars & newbies to tell me about their experiences and this is what they had to say:
- Nicole said, “I’m a newbie and I voiced my first poem on their platform. They encouraged me to keep writing…they’ve taught me how to turn it into an art.“
- Ryan, an Irish gentleman living in Scotland, echoed the sentiment, “How come, finally, social media is really connective in an inspirational and deep way? It might be because of places like the Poetry Palace.”
- J-Nae said, “It is a happy space for me even when I’m in a bad mood. The peace of mind I get from listening to other poets is amazing.”
- Stephonia made it personal in her response, “Poetry Palace became my source of healing and peace while i was going through separation from my spouse. It has given me a space to grow, share and receive love.”
There were so many others who responded that I couldn’t include due to space and time and they all echoed sentiments similar to these and it was clear to me from their responses that the Poetry Palace was a safe space for poets both new and experienced.
The Tavares Review
YOU NEED TO GO VISIT THE POETRY PALACE! It is a global space where people come and share uncensored and celebrated truth. The space is safe especially for those who are socially marginalized which makes the truth shared more potent because that truth is able to be shared without fear or judgement. This is the beauty of Poetry Palace. This is why you MUST go when you have a chance!!!