Rediscover the power of poetry and good coffee this World Poetry Day with the poet and published author.
Creativity. Coffee. Two things that have long gone hand in hand in blissful partnership. And now, global educational charity Worldreader has partnered with coffee and tea brand Julius Meinl for its world-renowned annual poetry initiative, Pay with a Poem. The initiative allows consumers to get inspired and show support to the charity by writing a poem at a participating location on World Poetry Day (21st March), in exchange for a free coffee or tea of their choice. And don’t fret if you think your poetry skills are something to be desired, because every poem goes towards the 100,000 poem donation goal. And the most inspirational and poetic submissions will be featured on the Worldreader app for millions of people around the world to enjoy. So if you are inspired, you can show support by submitting a poem by hashtagging #PayWithAPoem on their Instagram feed to count towards the donation target.
The CEO of Julius Meinl, Marcel Löffler says “Poetry is a privilege that not everyone in the world has the opportunity to enjoy so this year, together with Global literacy charity Worldreader, we want to encourage people to rediscover the power of words and join us in fighting illiteracy, one poem at a time.”
Poet and published author, Telixia Inico is also in collaboration with the Viennese coffee roasters, in attempt to encourage people to rediscover the power and words of using much-loved coffee as creative fuel to help improve the global learning crisis. We spoke to the young inspirational poet about the charity and how poetry helped her overcome dyslexia.
Check out the full interview below…
Will you talk a little about how you started writing poetry?
My poetry journey started at 11; in school I just couldn’t connect with the school curriculum due to being dyslexic, so I used writing poetry to help with my educational needs. It was the tool I used to help me learn how to properly read, write and rhyme. Writing poetry also helped me manoeuvre my way through gang culture, and acted as therapy when I struggled with depression and anxiety through my teenage years.
Who did you read growing up?
Up until the age of 16 my focus was on writing as this was a creative outlet that helped me to overcome some of my struggles with anxiety and dyslexia – I got into books properly when I was about 16, so quite late. Nonetheless, my favourite were Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Witches. I also loved reading J.K. Rowling – she is actually the person who inspired me to want to become an author. Her personal story resonated with me so much and her writing helped me frame mine in a certain way, which is what sets me apart from other poets in my field. I read Dr. Seuss books as well; Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat is what me made me truly understand where poetry can lead to and what it can do if written and delivered in a certain way.
Where do you get your inspirations from?
I’ve always been inspired by my surroundings and social environment. When I first started writing, I was inspired by education, by wanting to learn. Now I’m at a point in my life where I’m inspired by seeing negativity and wanting change that negative into a positive. So a lot of my inspiration comes from wanting to educate people on things such as the criminal justice system, knife crime, mental health, education and diversity and inclusion. I draw inspiration from society having a lack of understanding in these areas and write powerful thought-provoking pieces to start conversations in the hopes of having a solution for change.
What do you think of the impact of social media on poetry?
Social media has made poetry easily accessible and engaging. Before social media, poetry was deemed as boring Shakespeare stuff – the new age of poets are using their creativity to enhance the art in ways like never before, whether that is by creating video content, colour backgrounds to place poems on, or using poetry in short films. Social media has made it possible to turn non-believers of the art into believers and has even helped me create my own lane, infusing poetry with music and connecting with individuals on a different level.
Why do you think it’s important to encourage future generations to write poetry?
Not only is poetry a great tool to use for self-expression, it is a tool that can help people learn who they are or who they want to be. Poetry is one of the foundations of art and it can support the learning process as well. In a world where a lot of young people want to make music, they need to understand that poetry is a fundamental part of that process.
Poetry doesn’t have to feel traditional or archaic, it is an art form that can actually be extremely accessible and is definitely one of the best tools to educate the future generation, so it’s important we start using it to the best of its ability now and incorporating it in our trainings, classrooms, projects etc.
How did you get involved with this campaign?
Funny story, I met Worldreader in 2017 when I performed at an event and she told me about the amazing charity. They wanted to put my Poetry Collection “The Naked Truth” on the platform but at the time I wasn’t able to commit. Fast forward to 2019 I was approached by Julius Meinl and was informed that they are working with Worldreader on this great campaign and said that Worldreader wondered if I would be interested in discussing being a part of it. For me it was a no brainier because I wanted to support the charity before so this opportunity came at the right time. I had more freedom, a great management team and it aligned with my ethos and mission, so now I was able to put my all into it and really support the campaign.
Why do you think it’s such a positive initiative?
First off, the work Worldreader do is great, as we move more away from the traditional way of learning and embark on the digital world, people from underprivileged countries now have access to the same educational tools others in developed countries do. They are now able to read and write at the same level of others just by having access to the device. The initiative is a positive one because not only does it encourage its users to read different types of literature and write poetry but also provides them with basic digital skills – that is why this initiative resonates with me.
Why do you think coffee and creativity are so synonymous?
Both things come in different forms and can appeal to individuals from all walks of life, just like how some people prefer to write poetry, draw or make music and others prefer to drink cappuccino, espresso or flat white. Creativity has no boundaries and provides whoever is creating with a rush, just like coffee. Whether it is for a few seconds, minutes or hours, the feeling you get is unforgettable.
What’s next for you/what are you excited for?
Well, I have recently finished my first spoken word/poetry EP called P.O.E.T., which includes four tracks and a tribute to my late friend Cadet. The project will be released March 27th on all digital platforms and I’m super excited for this project because it’s the first of its kind to be supported by Apple. Alongside that, I have 10 poetry motivational short films coming out in the summer that highlight topics such as mental health, bullying, mind-sets etc. and I am currently producing a podcast called Telixia Talks, where I use poetry as the driving force to discuss topics such as health and wellbeing, entrepreneurship, education, social issues and more. I have already had guests such as Cassandra Lokko, TEDx speaker and YouTube sensation, and Richard Ernest – Dragons Den winner and founder of Rempods. All these projects are special because I am creating a new lane for poetry and collaborating with other creatives and industry professionals to bring the vision to life.