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Meet Treesje Thomas of Treesje Empowers Poetry in Inland Empire

Today we’d like to introduce you to Treesje Thomas.

Treesje, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I discovered poetry as many do, in the comfort of my bedroom journaling my way through heartbreak. I found that poetry helped me to process the complex emotions and key events in my life in a way I could not always articulate. I continued to write for myself through high school and even until after graduating from Spelman College in 2007. It wasn’t until I came home to California that I was opened up to the local spoken word community.

Eventually, I stepped out from open mics and went on to compete nationally with the Empire MindState National Slam Team (2009; 2010) and San Diego Elevated National Slam Team (2013; 2014). As the only female competitor, I was named San Diego Slam Champion in 2014.

I joined a friend of mine to co-host Lionlike Mindstate, which still hosts monthly open mics in the Pomona area. From this, I continued to grow as an artist by seeking spaces to connect and forge bonds with other writers in the community. From these connections, I was also featured twice on the TVOne’s “Verses & Flow” Series (Season 2 & 4). I was also featured as an Open Mic Artist twice at Rhetoric.

Really, I didn’t find poetry,  poetry found me and I’ve just tried to nurture a gift at each open door and opportunity that I’ve been given.

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?
Truly, I can’t say there are any insurmountable obstacles that I have faced. The only challenge in the last few years has been balancing motherhood and being there for my family with finding opportunities to write and speak. Unlike when it was just Treesje, I can’t always find time to go to a late night poetry venue when I know I have to be up early the next day for work and to get the kids ready for school in the morning. With anything we are passionate about, it takes grit and consistency to see your vision take life.

I have learned that my art is my own self-care as a mother. That it is what keeps me showing up for both my children and my community each day.

Treesje Empowers Poetry – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from others?
I am still learning to see what I do as a business. I enjoy it so much it doesn’t feel like work to me. I’ve been performing spoken word poetry for organizations, schools, and churches for over a decade. I try to write and share original poems that are tailored to the event or the individuals I feel I’ll be sharing with. I specialize in poetry that is faith-based and centered around self-realization and social justice. I have been known as of late for poems that highlight the beauty and complexity of the black experience and the journey of loving a perfect God in an imperfect world.

I am most proud of the opportunity to share my poetry on the national television show Verses & Flow and being featured as an open mic artist on the stage of Rhetoric, the largest Christian poetry event in the nation. I have a feeling I will surprise myself with the upcoming projects I have in 2019.

I believe something that sets me apart from others is my ability to relate in a variety of spaces. Some artists find their niche but I don’t want to be boxed into a category. I can connect to audiences of young children in a classroom or an audience of hundreds of adults. But also, I am not just a poet I am also a licensed school psychologist, so I understand the need for art and expression and the way it can heal the soul. I think this extra layer takes the content of my writing to another level.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment of my career happened twice. Becoming a mother to two brilliant little boys. Being called to raise young black men gave my art another level of accountability and depth that is still evolving. Because of my family I was inspired to write “Meet The Tiny Humans” a book on cultivating purpose in children with my close friend and plan to release it this fall.

I believe the proudest moment is yet to come when my book is finally published.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Tiana Janine, Kat Arnold, Ryan Castro

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