Thursday, May 9, 2013

Take 5 with Alyea Pierce

I first discovered Alyea Pierce through her Ignite speech, which I've embedded below. She makes a compelling and inspiring case for allowing your dreams to be the thing that drives your profession in life, and writes some pretty excellent poetry while she's at it. The interview portion of this post is excerpted from, and is definitely worth reading all the way through. Enjoy! 

Alyea Pierce

Creative Specialties: Motivational speaker and poet
Current Location:
New Brunswick, NJ

Mini Bio:
Alyea Pierce is a Junior at Rutgers University New Brunswick, majoring in Communications with a double minor in English and Linguistics. She was a Top 12 finalist in the 2012 NY Knicks Poetry Slam (Premiering on the MSG website and channel), Top 20 finalist in the 2011 and 2012 NYC Teen Poetry Slams and one of seven students in Rutgers University chosen to perform at the RU Mark Conference. Some of the venues Alyea has performed at are the Apollo Theater, Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theater, Columbia University, Kean University, the Nuyorican Poets CafĂ© and over 75 events at Rutgers University. She is a Hopeful Romantic, Poetry Mentor for the NAACP ACT-So Program, and a Public Speaking Coach and Judge currently working on her first book entitled “Every Stranger Deserves a Poem”. She was a member of the first Rutgers Slam team in 2012 which placed 11th in the nation at the College Unions Poetry Invitational in California and Team Leader of the 2013 RU slam Team competing in New York. Alyea strives to be a world traveled motivational poet, teaching children the beauty of art and voice through poetry.

(Interview excerpted from
1) When did you first start reciting spoken word/poetry and what was your inspiration behind starting?
Since I was a little girl I was always enticed by the arts, but would only perform for myself. My first writing experience was actually forced by my seventh grade English teacher, and I hated it. After being forced to free write for 15 minutes every day, poetry began to fly out of my pen and from there poetry slams started coming into my eye all the time. My inspiration was the fact that I could never speak my true feelings. I always held a lot in as a child, and never knew how to voice my words… so my motivation was that I must speak for those who can’t.

2) Do you find it hard to accept criticism? What was the most rewarding comment someone has given you?
When I was younger I used to be very protective of my words. When you are giving yourself to a page and someone critiques it and tells that person that they could fix this and that. It hurts…Poems are like your baby. They are a part of you. They are you. However, as I got older, I now understand that criticism is necessary for evolution and growth. When I show a person my piece for the first time I normally have a disclaimer, “This piece will never be perfection, but I appreciate your opinion. Please tell me where you become confused, and please tell me where you feel the most.” The most rewarding comment someone has given me was from a first time poet. She said “Thank you. You are my inspiration. If it wasn’t for you, I would not have touched that stage.” 

3) When do yourself having the greatest spurts of creativity? Do you always write down your lyrics or do you often find yourself keeping them in your head?
Literally, poetry can be written out of anything. That’s why I love it, there are no amazing bursts of creativity (sitting on the Rutgers bus on a Friday night is inspiration.) However, I will say that sitting in a silent room by yourself, is great for creativity if I must give an answer because you can only face yourself. All you have in a room by yourself, is yourself. You have your regret, your love, your anger, your tears, your thoughts. So, that is a great way to truly write an honest piece of work.

4) Judging from your live performances, I would say that emotions from past/present relationships and love have created a great amount of your poetry. Is this true?
(Laughing) “My pain is another person’s therapy session”…What poet doesn’t use past relationships as motivation for a masterpiece. There are many topics that I love to touch on and challenge myself with, but love…everyone can relate to. We all strive for love, at all ages, at all moments in time, in some shape or form. Love is our drive for living and that is why I take from past relationships, and fairy tales. It brings all of this figurative language, and years of attempting to master poetics back to its origin. It reminds me that I am a truth teller. I am human.

5) Would you like to make poetry/spoken word your main career?
YES! I am an entrepreneur. I am a business woman who does what she loves for a living. Poets can’t sit in cubicles. I have known that this is what I wanted to do for a living since I was 14…I can’t stop now. I am built for the stage and the page. I am a motivational poet and spoken word artist, a public speaking and poetry coach/mentor and I would not change a thing.

To see what Alyea is up to these days, check her out on Facebook.

1 comment:

  1. I am just seeing this again! thank you so much for your support. I hope we can stay connected.