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Meet Loni “Monarch” Sterling of MonarchPoetry in Anaheim

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.

Contact Info:

  • Email: monarchpoetrybooking@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @MonarchThePoet

Image Credit:
Connie Ann, Mike Laputt, Megan Eubanks, Shantilly and Nichole Quiroz

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