Monday 17 May 2021

#WEP #WINNER's #GUESTPOST - Toi Thomas on the Power of Poetry


Hello everyone! L.G. here! As you all know by now, the winner of the WEP Challenge gets the opportunity to write a guest post. Her poem Good Freedom Dream provoked a lot of thoughts and feelings in those who read it. As our judge Nick Wilford said: Nick wrote: "This had such a quietly resigned tone to it. Measured, powerful and understated, but still making a big impact. A thought-provoking piece."

Today Toi would like to talk to us about the power of poetry. Take it away, Toi!

The Power of Poetry

When I was younger, I thought being able to write poetry would make me cooler. Once I got over that, I stopped trying to write poetry altogether. I found that just being myself was cool enough for me, yet even then, I knew it wasn’t enough for the world.

In adulthood, I rekindled my love of reading and writing and began to explore fiction. The process was not only fun, but therapeutic. I did not return to writing poetry, but I did return to reading it from time to time. I always felt that poetry had a special place in my heart reserved for those tough moments that can’t be simply described or explained. Poetry, when done well, helps you feel and empathize- at least I hope it does.

I didn’t begin to explore writing poetry again until I was well into my 30’s. It was simply an experiment I conducted from time to time when I didn’t know how else to express myself. Whether what I produced was good or bad in terms of style, technique, and quality was irrelevant. I was dabbling in poetry as an exercise in self-expression.

At the age of 40 (in the midst of a pandemic and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement), I made a big step, and perhaps an even bigger mistake. I began to write poetry and actually share it with the public. The problem with sharing anything self-expressive with the public is that once it’s out there, it’s not about you anymore. Your words, your thoughts, and your intentions become subject to someone else’s perception.

Whether my poetry is perceived in a positive or negative way, I have accepted that it doesn’t change what it means to me. What I have learned, though, is that other people’s perception of my poetry can tell me more about them than years of conversation and passing comments.

That’s the power of poetry- what it reveals about the reader. When someone reads poetry and feels something, they react based on what they feel. That reaction is impactful- sometimes heated and passionate. A person’s reaction to a poem may reveal suicidal thoughts they never previously acknowledged; it may reveal that despite societal expectations they really don’t want to be a father or mother; it may reveal an opinion of racial and or cultural superiority over others never before explicitly stated ... and so much more.  

The power of poetry is how people react to it.

When I write poetry, I’m often expressing sadness, hurt, pain, and yes, even anger. As a human being, I have a right to express all those things. My poetry is very personal and often speaks to greater matters beyond me. Whether I like it or not, I expect people’s reaction to my poetry to be aimed at me; however, I’ve recently seen that people will take my words, and other people’s words, and try to use them to attack an entire group, culture, religion, or race.  But, as previously stated, this reveals more about the reader than it does about me.

And that’s the power of poetry.


I would like to take a moment just to say thank you to the W.E.P. + IWSG community for helping me hone my skills over the years. I will be taking a hiatus from participation in future challenges. I wish everyone good health and good writing.


My latest release: Why Are You Afraid?

There’s no easy way to explain racism, especially to young kids, but the sooner kids learn the truth, the better they can combat it and work to help make changes.

This is a light, yet serious, story about perceptions. This book was written to help parents start the race conversation with their children, whatever their race or skin color may be.

Amazon link

                                                                                                                                                                      Toi Thomas is a geek-girl, vinyl collector, chocoholic, movie buff, animal lover, avid reader and reviewer, blogger, vlogger, and an indie author of children's books, fiction, and nonfiction. Find Toi online at the following links.

Website- The ToiBox of Words

YouTube- Toi Thomas

Facebook- Toi Thomas Author

Twitter- @ToiThomas

Instagram- @CarnieTheBookworm


Thank you so much for your guest post, Toi. We truly appreciate all you have brought to WEP, and though we will miss you throughout your hiatus, we wish you well and hope you will return to us.

Our next challenge will be here before we know it! We hope many of you will consider joining us for our June challenge GREAT WAVE! We'll post about it on June 1.


@Toi Thomas #WEPFREEDOMMORNING  #WEPwinner #guestpost @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge

@ToiThomas #WEPFREEDOMMORNING  #WEPwinner The Power of Poetry  #guestpost @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge

@ToiThomas #WEPFREEDOMMORNING #WEPwinner The Power of Poetry #guestpost @DeniseCCovey, @YolandaRenee, @LGKeltner, @OlgaGodim #amwriting #writingchallenge


  1. Hi Toi,
    I am truly sorry to see you go and hope that you return after your hiatus.
    Poetry is powerful. I have been writing it all of my life so far and it is a tool that I use to express the many facets of how I encounter life.
    I enjoyed reading your reasons for poetry and can only say keep at it.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

  2. I found myself nodding along as I read, Toi. Poetry is so very powerful. I remember hearing Margaret Atwood read from her poetry book "The Circle Game" in high school. That was when poetry moved from that annoying part of English class to Wow. Our reactions do indeed tell others so much about us. Great post - I will miss your words.

  3. Toi, we will miss your entries, but I hope your hiatus will be good for you. Your poetry is truly powerful.

  4. Toi, you've shaken us all with your powerful voice. You'll be sadly missed here at WEP; you're a much loved participant. We can only pray you'll miss us too and return to us. Thank you for your many words and support over the years. We'll be in touch.

  5. Poetry is indeed powerful, it takes us to hidden places in the psyche. Very saddened to know of your hiatus, will sorely miss your words. Your entries have always been thought provoking and engaging, I have enjoyed reading each and every one, thank you. Hope you will return to WEP some day soon.
    All the very best always.

  6. Toi, I think it is a good thing that your poetry inspired controversy. It means nobody was indifferent - something any writer dreams of.

  7. Toi, such a well written piece above. Thank you for your insights. Hope to see you back here soon.

  8. This resonates so much Toi and how well you've said that poetry the power of poetry is about how reader's perceive it. I wish we will get to read your words soon again. Best wishes.

  9. Toi, I think you really pegged what poetry does. As always your insights give me food for thought. I hope I’ll keep seeing some posts and sharing from you, even as you take the break you need.

  10. Hi Toi - having been prompted to come back to this ... having just had an updated email about WEP. I can see exactly what you're saying ... 'being out in the world' opens up our work to anyone who wants to come by and comment.

    I try and ignore much ... and also don't do FB et al ... my blog allows me to delete or ignore comments ... equally I can reply sensibly to other commented thoughts.

    There's power to us - to rise above ... good luck as you continue on your journey in writing and poetic thoughts ... stay safe - cheers Hilary


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