Today we’d like to introduce you to Loni “Monarch” Sterling.
Loni “Monarch”, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was first introduced to spoken word & poetry during my 12th grade English class. I was 17 & the assignment was to write a poem or spoken word piece then read it in front of the class. My teacher had given us a few poems to read as inspiration & one of them was Nikki Giovanni’s ‘Legacies’. I fell in love with that poem & read it over and over again. I don’t know why I loved it so much but it truly inspired me. I ended up writing a spoken word piece that was 4 minutes long. The day I performed it in front of the class, my teacher was so impressed she pulled me aside and told me I should really look into poetry slams & consider writing poetry full time. I took her words to heart & haven’t stopped writing.
It’s been six years since that conversation and I’m really just starting to get the hang of things. I’ve found a mentor who’s willing to teach me the ins and outs of competitive poetry. I’m featuring at open mics and gaining a small following. I just recently became the first slam champion of the Beyond The Neon Video Slam Experience. And I’m working on a poetry book I hope to release later this year. All these wonderful things due to a 12th-grade poetry assignment & a teacher who believed in me.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There have been quite a few bumps in the road. My poetry is very expressive of what I’m going through in life at that time so for a while, all of my work was about my poor mental health, a break up, or my friend’s death. A lot of it was dark & brooding. It took a few years of therapy for me to get back to writing about things that bring me joy. I don’t regret writing any of my sadder pieces though. They remind me that I’ve grown & that I know how to move through painful emotions.
Please tell us about MonarchPoetry.
I am a poet. I speak my truth & hope that others can find a piece of themselves in my art. I’m known for surprising people with the twists & turns of my poetry & constantly having new poems to perform. I’m extremely proud of how far I’ve come & how my art has developed throughout the years. Over the last few months, I’ve been writing new poems & editing old ones to put into my first ever non self-published book. I have over 50 poems so far and room for a few more. The book will be a piece of my soul & I can’t wait to share it with the world.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
This is a tough one. I have plenty of great memories but I think my favorite might be the time I won a lip sync battle at my summer camp. The song was Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson and I was singing my heart out…kinda. I have asthma, so as I was dancing around, the line ‘I can’t breathe for the first time’ played and I quite literally could not breathe. I pulled my inhaler out of my pocket and used it right before I sang that line and the judges laughed so hard that I end up winning the competition that year. By far, one of my favorite memories.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @MonarchThePoet
Connie Ann, Mike Laputt, Megan Eubanks, Shantilly and Nichole Quiroz