Creative Guts

Diannely Antigua

Episode Summary

In this episode of Creative Guts, co-hosts Laura Harper Lake and Sarah Wrightsman sit down with poet Diannely Antigua. Diannely is a Dominican American poet and educator. She is the founder of The Bread & Poetry Project and the host of a podcast by the same name. Not only is Diannely the current Poet Laureate of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, but she is the youngest and first person of color to receive the title. This episode was recorded in front of a live audience at Exeter High School with support from the NH State Council on the Arts! Special thank you to our friends at Exeter High School! Before we jump into the interview, this episode kicks off with a writing workshop led by Diannely — we encourage you, our listeners, to play along! In this episode we cover Diannely’s journey from journaling as a young girl all the way to publishing her first — and now second — collection of poetry! Find out more about Diannely at her website and follow her on Instagram at You can also find the Bread & Poetry Podcast on Instagram at Listen to this episode wherever you listen to podcasts or on our website Follow us on Facebook at and Instagram at If you love listening, consider making a donation to Creative Guts! Our budget is tiny, so donations of any size make a big difference. Learn more about us and make a tax deductible donation at

Episode Notes

In this episode of Creative Guts, co-hosts Laura Harper Lake and Sarah Wrightsman sit down with poet Diannely Antigua. Diannely is a Dominican American poet and educator. She is the founder of The Bread & Poetry Project and the host of a podcast by the same name. Not only is Diannely the current Poet Laureate of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, but she is the youngest and first person of color to receive the title. 

This episode was recorded in front of a live audience at Exeter High School with support from the NH State Council on the Arts! Special thank you to our friends at Exeter High School! Before we jump into the interview, this episode kicks off with a writing workshop led by Diannely — we encourage you, our listeners, to play along! 

In this episode we cover Diannely’s journey  from journaling as a young girl all the way to publishing her first — and now second — collection of poetry! Find out more about Diannely at her website and follow her on Instagram at You can also find the Bread & Poetry Podcast on Instagram at

Listen to this episode wherever you listen to podcasts or on our website Follow us on Facebook at and Instagram at

If you love listening, consider making a donation to Creative Guts! Our budget is tiny, so donations of any size make a big difference. Learn more about us and make a tax deductible donation at

Episode Transcription



[0:00:00] LHL: I'm Laura Harper Lake

[0:00:01] SW: And I'm Sarah Wrightsman.

[0:00:02] HOSTS: And you're listening to Creative Guts.


[0:00:18] SW: Hello, listeners. Thanks for tuning in to this episode of Creative Guts.

[0:00:21] LHL: Today's episode was recorded live in front of an audience at Exeter High School. Thank you to the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts for making this episode possible, and a special thank you to our friends at Exeter High School.

[0:00:34] SW: On today's episode, we're talking with Diannely Antigua. Diannely is a Dominican-American poet and educator. She's the founder of The Bread & Poetry Project and the host of a podcast by the same name. Not only is Diannely the current poet laureate of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, but she's the youngest and first person of color to receive that title.

[0:00:54] LHL: Today's episode is going to kick off with something different. It will start with a writing workshop led by Diannely. We encourage you to participate from wherever you are, unless you are driving. You'll have a chance to hear a sample of what the Exeter High School students wrote, which is really special. Then, about halfway through the episode, we'll transition into the actual interview.

As you'll hear, we would have loved to have had more time with Diannely, but that's par for the course around here. Now, let's get right into this episode of Creative Guts with Diannely Antigua.


[0:01:31] DA: Hi, everyone. Good afternoon. I almost said good morning and it's not morning anymore. But I'm so happy to be here, and I'm so happy to be facilitating this workshop this afternoon. I know that y'all, I think, recently read Macbeth and you're going to be starting your unit on poetry. I think this is the beginning of that, actually. This would be a great segue into your unit on poetry. I want to do a few writing exercises with you.

Poetry is a mystery in some ways, but at the same time, poetry is everywhere. It's just a matter of us looking and observing our worlds, so that we are open to receiving poetry. According to poet William Wordsworth, who lived in the 1800s, and he's an old white poet, he says that poetry is a spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings and that it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.

I question the word spontaneous. I think that we don't need to wait for the heavens to part and the clouds to open up and the sun to shine on us and the muses to inspire us to write a poem. Again, I think that poetry is everywhere, so this is going to be an afternoon on that lesson.

I wanted to start with a writing exercise. Go ahead and take out your notebooks, a pen, your phone, whatever feels right to you in order to write. I want you to think a minute about your daily lives, things that we take for granted, things that we do all the time, or that we see all the time. I want you to list, so we're going to do the five senses, so sight, feel, taste, sound, and smell. We're going to write five things for each one of the five senses that we observe in our daily lives. I want you to think about making it very specific. If you're thinking about things that you see in your daily world, instead of saying, “Watching my mother walk around the house.” Let's say, that's one of the things that you see everyday. You might say something like, “Seeing my mother in her pink robe, washing dishes at the sink.” Think of very specific, but very mundane, or everyday things that you observe in your daily lives. Again, five for each of the five senses, okay? We'll do that for about three minutes or so, or five. I will set a timer.

If you find yourself getting stuck, walk through your day, from the moment you wake up till you go to bed in your mind. Think about your routines that you do. That could be a great place to start. Or you could think specifically about today. However you want to approach it is absolutely right. All righty, so maybe finish that last thought, that last sentence. Let's just take a deep breath. Just finish that. Right.

Yeah, sometimes that's right, right? I need to take a deep breath. How was that writing exercise for folks? Yeah? I thought it would be fun if maybe we could share a little bit. If people feel comfortable, if they want to read some of their observations for any of the senses. Share as much, or as little as you'd like. It would be great to hear what some folks have observed in their daily lives. You can just raise your hand, and the mic will be passed to you. Also, could you say your name, it would be perfect.

[0:05:50] L: My name's Lainey, and I hear my blaring alarm when I wake up.

[0:05:54] DA: Right. That's the first thing that we hear a lot of the times at the beginning of the day, especially at school day. Okay.

[0:06:01] M: My name is Max. Mine is seeing Miss Delori in her blue jeans.

[0:06:06] DA: Okay, okay. Awesome. I think we have two back here.

[0:06:15] C: My name is Cadence. Every morning, I hear birds that I have no idea what their names are. I've always wondered what their names are.

[0:06:23] DA: Oh, I like that a lot, especially since you admit that you do not know the name of these birds. I'm also not an ornithologist. I don't know much about birds. Yes.

[0:06:35] E: My name is Erit. The thing that I feel most of the day is pencil lit on my hands after I've drawn.

[0:06:43] DA: Oh, are you an artist?

[0:06:44] E: Yeah.

[0:06:45] DA: Brilliant. Awesome. Thank you.

[0:06:48] M: My name is Madeline, and in the mornings I really just hear white noise from the vents, because I get up earlier than everyone else.

[0:06:56] DA: Oh, I like that. Maybe a few more, if folks want to share? We have someone over here. Oh, over there. Oh, yes. Hi, hi.

[0:07:08] A: My name's Ari, and every time I come home, I can hear my mom in the kitchen and she's singing Zach Brian very loudly.

[0:07:15] DA: Oh, I love that. I love that. My mother likes to sing in the kitchen, too, especially when she washes dishes. We had –

[0:07:24] N: My name's Nev, and I smell Sol de Janeiro 40.

[0:07:28] DA: Say that one more time.

[0:07:29] N: Sol de Janeiro 40. It's a perfume. A lot of people wear it.

[0:07:34] DA: I'm so not with the times. I don't know about this burrito place. I don't know about this perfume. Oh, someone help me. I'm never on TikTok, really.

[0:07:43] MALE TEACHER: Las Olas is the Dos Amigos of this area.

[0:07:46] DA: Got you.

[0:07:46] FEMALE TEACHER: I think, Max has one more.

[0:07:48] DA: Yes. Max, please.

[0:07:51] M: Mine is walking, or seeing the yellow bus come down the street.

[0:07:56] DA: Okay. All right. I like that. Anyone else? Yes, please.

[0:08:05] A: My name's Akshaj, and I see the crispy chicken nuggets on my red ceramic Lightning McQueen plate.

[0:08:12] DA: Oh, I felt that. Also, not just as someone who loves chicken nuggets, but just the way that you painted the picture for us, very specific. Lovely. All right. Here is the next part of the writing exercise. I want you to take one of those observations from your list of observations of the senses throughout your day. I want you to expand on it. I want you to write an association chain. What do you think of when you think of this thing?

This association chain, I want you to first, write whatever that observation is at the beginning of the line. Then after that, you'll say, “Which reminds me of blank,” whatever that ends up reminding you of. Then like a chain, we're going to continue. We're going to add another link. After that, one thing you'll say, “Which reminds me of blank.” You'll just keep going. The purpose of this exercise is to see where our minds can go and how something really small, or mundane, or very routine, like the blaring alarm, or the birds outside your window that you don't know the name of can be the door for you to open to enter into a poem.

It's really, honestly, it's that simple. Poetry doesn't need to be complicated. Not one bit. I also meant to add, try to, again, to be very specific about the things that you associate with that first thing. Try to really also consider color and sight and sound, all of the senses when you're thinking of what that one item reminds you of. Less than – or sorry, more than a word. If you find that maybe you've exhausted that one thing, pick another one of the observations and start a new association chain, if you feel like you've exhausted one.

Okay, if you want to finish that sentence, finish that thought, that last link of your association chain. Was anyone surprised where they ended up? Yeah. You started one place and then now you're somewhere else. You're in Timbuktu. I would be really interested if someone might be open to sharing some of their association chain. Or if you don't want to do that, share what you started with and where you ended. That might be cool. I started with this, ended here.

[0:11:08] C: I started with the tweeting birds and I ended back at the twittering birds.

[0:11:13] DA: I love it. It’s like, book ended. Brilliant.

[0:11:18] N: My name is Noella and I started with the first breath you take in the morning and I ended with the urge to make all of my dreams come true.

[0:11:28] FEMALE: I started with the gray pencil lid on my fingers and palms and I ended with people who I used to be friends with in the past.

[0:11:37] DA: Oh, wow. I like that. Like a, what's this, like a shadow of sorts. Okay.

[0:11:44] FEMALE TEACHER: We have one more over here.

[0:11:45] DA: Yeah. These are all seeds for poems, y'all. All seeds for poems.

[0:11:51] M: This is written by Tyler. Smelling the fresh pancakes my mom makes me, which makes me think of the first time I stepped foot in my mom's house, which reminds me of when I went to the new attraction at Storyland, which reminds me of my summer with my friend, Akshash, which reminds me of going to his house in kindergarten and starting his house while eating apples, which reminds me of preschool with Soren Westerberg and playing games.

[0:12:21] DA: Oh, I love that. I love specific, like the names of folks and how they came into it. Oh, wow. That's awesome. I can see that being a poem for sure. I think we may have time for two more. Yes.

[0:12:38] FEMALE: I started with coming to my mom, singing, and I ended with –

[0:12:45] DA: Okay, okay. Nice. Great.

[0:12:49] FEMALE: Oh, I started with my eye bags and I ended with the first time I used makeup to cover them up.

[0:12:58] DA: Wow. Anyone else? Anyone else? Even if any of the teachers want to share, or I'll be open to that if anyone wants to share.

[0:13:09] MALE TEACHER: My notebook is over there. I started with my cat laying out on the floor in the morning, stretching out to be fed and petted. I ended with something about my father who passed away quite a few years ago.

[0:13:23] DA: Wow. Wow. See, see, look at that. Look at how one tiny observation in our everyday lives can open the door for a poem about just anything. I'm going to share a quick anecdote and then I know we're going to go to Creative Guts. But I lived in New York for a few years while I was getting my degree at NYU. I remember, I was coming home from the subway and I saw a man stealing fruit on the corner of Myrtle Ave and Broadway. I was like, “Oh, this is a very New York thing. Someone stealing fruit, whatever.” Cool.

The one thing I did do that poets do is they observe and they write things down. That's what I did. I opened my phone, opened a note, and I wrote it down. I said, “As I watch a man steal fruit on the corner of Myrtle Ave and Broadway”. That's all I wrote down. Fast forward several months later, we're snowed in, I have to write a poem for workshop. I'm like, I don't really know where to start, right? I opened my notes app in my phone and I see, “As I watch a man steal fruit on the corner of Myrtle Ave and Broadway.” I was like, “Oh, I think I'll start there,” because I wrote that at the top of the page.

Then the next line says, “I want to know what to do with the memory.” Wow. From watching someone steal fruit to trying to understand what to do with a memory. I ended up writing a poem that I had been trying to write for an entire decade about something very difficult in my past. It came from – or the door was opened by just watching someone steal fruit and writing it down. I want to encourage you all to do that. Be very keen observers of your worlds, because poetry is everywhere. We create poetry. Poetry doesn't need to come to us. We see it and we create it. I hope that was helpful for you all today.


[0:15:41] SW: Let's dive right into this interview. Diannely, thanks for being on the show.

[0:15:46] DA: Absolutely. This has been fantastic. As a podcaster, I love podcasts, so I'm glad to be a guest.

[0:15:54] LHL: The workshop that we just witnessed and we participated in with the students here was fascinating. That was such a cool experience. Thank you for giving us the space to be creative in that way. Let's jump back to the beginning of you. When did you start creating and why?

[0:16:13] DA: I started creating when I was really young. I was nine-years-old. My oldest sister gave me a journal for Christmas one year. It was one of those journals that had a lock on it that you could easily pick with a bobby pin. Funny thing, too, she gifted my other sister the exact same journal, so it was the exact same key. My sister and I would read each other's journals all the time.

I started writing when I was nine and it started with journal writing. Similar to the prompt that I just did, it was about my daily life and my observations in the world. At the time, it was the early 2000s, so I was obsessed with the Backstreet Boys. A lot of entries were about AJ from the Backstreet Boys and how obsessed I was with him. Then it started to become a bit more serious as I went through puberty, grew up and became a young adult. It really became a space for me to say the things that I really needed to say and things that I was struggling with. My journals became my confidant. Then in tandem with journal writing, I started to experiment with different genres, including poetry and even fiction for some time, though I've now discovered I am not a fiction writer. I will not be the next JK Rowling, unfortunately, or fortunately, who knows? Poetry is definitely my thing. It's what has stuck with me and I'm grateful for it.

[0:17:52] SW: I'm really curious and maybe this question's too hard, but I think a lot of us can relate to the experience of maybe particularly young girls writing in a journal growing up. I think a lot of us abandoned that practice. Why do you think you kept writing, when so many of us don't?

[0:18:10] DA: Yeah. I think that's not a difficult answer per se, but the situation in which I was in was very difficult and I needed to write. It wasn't just like, “Oh, I want to write in a journal and this is fun and this is where I write all my secrets.” It’s like, I really needed journal writing. Lived through a lot of trauma in my past and I needed somewhere to really reckon with that and work through that for myself in my own safe space, where I could hear my own voice.

I think a lot of times, we hear other people's voices and what they think and what our friends think and what TV says, or whatever, but what do I think? What do I feel about what's going on in my world? I needed that space in order to, I think, really, honestly, to live, to continue. Poetry wasn't just an art for me. It was my door to healing. That's why I had to continue. I had to.

[0:19:28] LHL: Wow. It's very powerful. I think, just self-expression in general is just so necessary and it's wonderful that you had that outlet to harness that need that you had. We come to today, where you have a book released and another one on the way. Ugly Music and Good Monster. Can you share more about these books?

[0:19:53] DA: Yeah. Absolutely. I have them here. This is Ugly Music, and it's my beat-up copy. I don't know if people can really see it, but I've had this copy since the book came out in 2019, and I have taken this book with me every event that I do. She is very well loved and taped. Then this is my new collection, Good Monster, that is coming out in May of this year. Be on the lookout for that. Both of these books to me, I think Ugly Music starts with my childhood. Some of those things that I experienced in my past that were very difficult and really explores it in a unabashedly honest way.

I don't shy away from saying what I need to say. I don't shy away from saying difficult things. I feel like, Good Monster is a continuation of that story from young adulthood, now into adulthood and what do you do with what you've experienced? How do you express it? How do you decide to use it to create art? I feel like, Good Monster has been my way to continue to honor my story. I'm hoping that if ever a third book comes out, so crossing my fingers, it'll be the same thing. I feel like, poetry is just going to grow with me as I continue to grow.

Things are always going to happen. Life always happens. There will always be more things to write about, especially as we've seen today with the writing exercise, we can take anything and turn it into a poem. I'm excited to see where poetry continues to take me.

[0:21:56] LHL: I actually have another follow-up question to this. Earlier, you spoke about the necessary action of writing. Now you are writing and sharing it with others. What does that feel like, or what does that process like, in having the guts to do it and being so vulnerable to the world?

[0:22:18] DA: Yeah. I think there's something to be said about vulnerability. I think it's so important, because when we decide to let our guards down and talk about difficult things, it encourages others to do the same. One of the most dangerous things, in my opinion, is silence. Silencing those who need to speak up and say the truth. When I share my truth, it encourages others to do the same.

I'm definitely a huge advocate for mental wellness. As someone who suffered from anxiety, depression and PTSD for my whole life, it's so important for me to talk openly about it. I feel really fortunate that almost after every reading I've ever done, someone comes up to me and says, “I really needed to hear that today. Hearing you read these poems has been really encouraging and I feel seen, so thank you.” That always touches me in a way that I can't even begin to express.

Thinking about the question, why do I continue to write? I mean, that's one of them is connection and vulnerability and being of support to someone, even when I don't even know I am. That's the beauty of it, is being there for someone and I have no idea that I am. Someone could be reading my book right now in their room and I'm there, and I don't even know it. I think that's a beautiful thing.

[0:24:03] LHL: That's a really neat way to look at it.

[0:24:05] SW: It is. Is. Are there subject matters that you like writing about the most, that are the most challenging to write about, or any silly, or super mundane things that you've written poems about that you're really proud of?

[0:24:21] DA: Well, definitely as I've mentioned, a lot of my work does focus on mental illness, trauma, but also, the ways in which we work through it, how we emerge from that. There is some joy sprinkled in there. Speaking of mundane things, I think someone mentioned chicken nuggets in our exercise, and it made me think of one of the things that I always include in poems, or tend to include is McDonald's French fries, or just McDonald's in general, or fast food. I think I have a poem that mentions Wendy's and then Taco Bell.

Yeah. Fast food is always in my poems. I find that it's cool to mix these really heavy topics with this very mundane, but yet very intimate thing, like eating fast food. I love that about poetry is that you can – it's a container for anything, right? It doesn't have to be just one thing. It has the power to hold it all. It's a vessel for everything.

[0:25:35] LHL: That's so cool.

[0:25:37] SW: It’s so cool. 

[0:25:38] LHL: What has it been like to not only be the poet laureate of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, but also, the youngest and the first person of color to receive that title?

[0:25:48] DA: Yeah. It's been, first of all, an honor to be the first person of color and the youngest poet laureate of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It's also a great responsibility. I'm the first one of something, and that's huge. I have the responsibility to pave the way for hopefully, more diversity in this position, because we desperately need that in every way, representation is so important. If we don't see it, we often don't believe that it's possible. Hopefully, if someone sees me as poet laureate, they can say, “Oh, wow. I can also do that, too.” I think that it brings hope. But, I mean, I will say, it comes with its challenges. But I'm working through them in a way that I feel is productive. I'm partnering with organizations that are aligned with causes that I feel are so important. One of them being NH Panther, whose mission is to end racism and systemic biases within the New Hampshire area, and they do that through the Black Excellence Fund, Poetry Programming now, and some youth programming as well. That's my way to continue building and paving the way for others to come after me as well.

[0:27:18] SW: Yeah, I'm cognizant that we're low on time. Before we move to audience Q&A, we'd love to hear about the Bread & Poetry Project and the podcast by the same name and how you're demystifying poetry.

[0:27:32] DA: Yeah. The podcast existed before the project. Bread & Poetry Podcast is about demystifying poetry. It was inspired by a line of poetry by Roque Dalton that says, “I believe the world is beautiful and that poetry, like bread, is for everyone.” My podcast, I pair Bread & Poetry for a reason. It's not just random. Though knowing me, I probably would do something very random like that. I do believe that poetry, like bread, should be for everyone. It should be accessible to folks. I hope today's exercise, too, showed how accessible poetry can be, even if you've never written a poem before.

The podcast existed before the project. Last year, I received a very generous fellowship from the Academy of American Poets, specifically for Poets Laureate. I am using that to create the Bread & Poetry Project, which is a three-part approach to supporting poetry in our communities, which includes the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program, the podcast, and then finally, local organizations, like NH Panther. Then also, I partner with Haven. If you don't know Haven, they support survivors of domestic violence and abuse, find the support and resources that they need. All three of those approaches are ways in which poetry can support our community.

[0:29:09] SW: I know.

[0:29:10] LHL: I think we both have goosebumps. This is all just very lovely information.

[0:29:14] SW: I wish we had a whole hour episode.

[0:29:16] LHL: I know. We'll probably have to have you back on.

[0:29:18] DA: Yes. We can do it. I promise. Yeah.

[0:29:21] SW: What's one thing that you wish people understood better about poetry, or about being a poet?

[0:29:25] DA: I think that poetry, in order to be a poet, you don't need to have ever published a poem, or a book. No one has to have ever seen one of your poems. You can be a poet all in your own, in your own vacuum, in your room. That's enough. You are the authority on whether you're a poet or not. Someone doesn't say that to you. Someone doesn't give you that permission. They also cannot take that away. That's one thing that I wish people understood about poetry, is that you give yourself the permission to be a poet. Right now, in this room, you could say, “I'm a poet today.” And that's it. You are a poet. Again, it's really that simple. It truly is. That's why I love poetry. It's phenomenal in that way.

[0:30:22] LHL: We have questions coming along from our audience here.

[0:30:28] SW: It's such an interesting concept, because I feel like, it being a title that you can bestow upon yourself doesn't mesh very well with people who are really struggling with imposter syndrome. “Oh, I'm not a poet. I'm an imposter.”

[0:30:39] DA: Yeah. I definitely struggle with imposter syndrome and that's something that I think never really ends, or even I have two books published, I've done lots of readings and speaking engagements and everything, but still, there's that voice that says, “I'm not good enough.” Then situations like this where I'm sharing and I'm really understanding the power of poetry, I remember why I love this and I tell myself, I belong here in this moment.

[0:31:11] LHL: Yeah. Oh.

[0:31:13] SW: Beautiful. I really like all of my questions.

[0:31:15] LHL: Me too.

[0:31:16] SW: Do you want to go first?

[0:31:17] LHL: You all did a wonderful job. How do you write about something that was so awful, but also, so eye opening in a way that helps that trauma be processed by yourself?

[0:31:31] DA: Yeah, that's a good question. I think, one of the things that really helps for me is a certain amount of distance from the maybe, let's say, traumatic event. Though, I think, journal writing is great after the fact of something, or something you really need to process. Then, I think, if you're going to craft a poem about it, there's a different intention that goes into that, because not only in a poem do you have to think about the message, but you're also thinking about the craft elements of it. You're thinking, almost like an engineer of sorts. Poetry encompasses a lot of things.

But it's when I share my work, a lot of the times that I feel I've fully processing through this, and healing is ongoing. You don't wake up one morning and say, “I am fully healed. I am a complete human and I feel amazing.”

[0:32:34] LHL: All done.

[0:32:35] DA: I mean, yeah. Healing never ends, and that's okay. I think, I continue to heal more and more. Yeah.

[0:32:47] SW: I particularly like this question, because earlier you mentioned not being a fiction writer. Can poetry be fiction, as well as real experiences?

[0:32:56] DA: Absolutely. I think that there's such a thing as poetic license, as people call it. I think that we can, for the sake of the poem, we can elaborate, or be fictive in the information. However, I don't think that takes away from the truth that's in poetry. I like to think of poetry as more of an emotional truth, as opposed to a factual, or biographical truth. I think that way, poetry and fiction, or fictive qualities can live within a poem.

[0:33:38] LHL: What was the topic of your favorite poem?

[0:33:41] DA: One that I've written, or one that I've – someone else?

[0:33:46] SW: Ooh, up for interpretation.

[0:33:48] LHL: Yeah. You decide.

[0:33:51] DA: Hmm. I think, I might choose someone else's poem. The poem is called Won't You Celebrate with Me? It's by Lucille Clifton. The last line of that poem is, “Come celebrate with me, that every day something has tried to kill me and has failed.” That is one of my favorite poems. I read it to myself when I'm going through a particularly challenging time. I actually encountered that poem when I was going through a challenging time. A friend of mine sent me the link for it when I expressed to her that I was going through some transitions and really reckoning with that. She sent me this poem, and it was exactly what I needed. In a way, Lucille Clifton was with me in the room, while I was reading that poem, reading her poem.

[0:34:47] LHL: That's a beautiful thing.

[0:34:48] SW: Yeah, it is. What do you like about poetry that's different from other types of writing?

[0:34:54] DA: I think what I like about poetry, almost is like the question I answered about fiction and poetry. If those two things can exist is that poetry can encompass just about anything. Poetry is music. Poetry can be visual. Poetry can be fictive. Poetry is just literally everything. Poetry is also something auditory. We listen to it. It has sound. It encompasses so much. That's what I love about it is that it's textured. It's not just one note. At the core of it, can be, again, something so simple, like watching a man steal fruit on the corner of Myrtle Ave and Broadway, or chicken nuggets, or birds we don't know the names of. That's at the root of it. Something so small. Just one little seed.

[0:35:48] SW: This question feels akin to our rapid-fire questions. It's got that quality.

[0:35:53] SW: One of those two.

[0:35:55] LHL: Best thing to eat bread with?

[0:35:57] DA: Oh, what a good question.

[0:35:59] LHL: I know. Whoever you – whoever wrote that?

[0:36:01] DA: Who you are you? Whoever asked that question, I'm so happy you asked that question. I love soup. I love it. I am a soup queen. I make soup even in the summer. I'm just obsessed with soup. Recently, I made a lentil soup. It was an Italian sausage lentil soup. I love buying this bread called Fougasse. I by it from Beach Pea in Kittery, a bakery there. I love to get it. It’s beautiful shape. I'm obsessed with it. I think soup always goes well with bread. But bread goes well with anything. Yes. That'll be my next podcast. Bread and soup. Bread and Soup Podcast.

[0:36:47] SW: I feel like, this answer has been embedded a little bit in a lot of your answers, but how does poetry help you in your daily life?

[0:36:53] DA: Yeah. I think in my daily life, it helps to center me and focus me in the way that I'm being really mindful of where I'm at. It helps me stay grounded, because I'm constantly observing the world. I'm saying, “Oh, look at that over there. Look at that flower leaning over the edge of the vase.” Oh, that's a poem. “Look at that piece of litter on the sidewalk, whatever.” That's a poem. I'm constantly looking at the world that way, so it allows me to stay grounded in my daily life.

[0:37:29] LHL: That's amazing. Has English and writing always been your favorite subject?

[0:37:35] DA: Yes and no. I guess I actually – my dream, dream, dream, when I was younger, I wanted to be a Broadway star. Believe it or not, I wanted to be a Broadway star. I wanted to sing and dance on stage and act. That was my absolute dream. And/or I wanted to be like JLo. I wanted to sing and dance like JLo. She also was an actress. I mean, that too. I just wanted to be on stage. I'm still on the stage, but it's different what I'm doing. I would say that it's been a dream that I didn't expect, but I think it was always meant to happen.

[0:38:14] SW: Yeah. Yeah. This is an easy one. This is our last audience question. What's your favorite color?

[0:38:22] DA: I've been thinking about this a lot, because I'm buying curtains for my apartment. I'm like, what color do I want them to be? My couch is this vegan leather, like burnt orange. I'm like, what goes well with that? I love that burnt orange. It brings me a lot of joy, as well as a burnt mustard ochre, those types of colors. Naturally, being #sadgirl, my curtains are going to be black, so my entire apartment is going to look like Halloween, which is perfect. Cause I do love me some Halloween. Yeah.

[0:38:59] LHL: That sounds excellent. We need to see a photo follow-up.

[0:39:03] SW: If we can ask you our clincher question we ask every guest at the end of every episode, which is if you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?

[0:39:12] DA: Oh, honey. I would start with that. Oh, honey, I think I would just tell her, hold on, help is on the way. I'll be there soon.

[0:39:26] LHL: Diannely, thank you so much for being on the Creative Guts Podcast. It's been a fantastic conversation and at least for myself, but I think I can see in Sarah's eyes with each of our guests, especially in this live atmosphere, it really opens up something even more within us as hosts to hear this and talk with you about this. We really appreciate your time and everything that you've shared today.


[0:39:52] DA: It's been wonderful. Thank you so much. Thank you.

[0:39:55] LHL: Whoa. Unprompted applause?

[0:39:58] SW: How did that happen?

[0:40:01] LHL: Thank you again for being on the show. With that… 

[0:40:01] MULTIPLE VOICES: Show us your creative guts.

[0:40:08] SW: Okay. Well, that's pretty good.

[0:40:11] LHL: That's pretty good. Thank you all again so much for joining us.

[0:40:14] SW: Thank you.


[0:40:20] LHL: Another huge thank you to Diannely Antigua for joining us on Creative Guts. Diannely did such a fantastic job leading those students in that creative writing prompt.

[0:40:29] SW: Yeah, I love that we were encouraged to participate. I wanted to, but I loved that we were brought into it and we got to participate too and get something out of it.

[0:40:38] LHL: I know. She made me think in a new different way and it just felt like, it opened up creative pathways for me.

[0:40:44] SW: Yes, absolutely, absolutely. I really loved the idea of our listeners participating in it, too.

[0:40:50] LHL: Gosh, I hope so. If anyone is really brave enough, if they want to post it and tag us, or even just send it to us and say – don't share, but I want to share this with you as Laura and Sarah, we would love to hear what you have created in response to that.

[0:41:06] SW: We would. You know, during the interview  –  the workshop was amazing –  during the interview, I was writing down all these little tidbits that Diannely was saying that we're just so good. She talks about in poetry, at least to me, my perspective is like, it's so hard, because it's just like, you're being vulnerable and you're putting words on paper. At least to me, when I'm reading my own poetry, I'm like, “Everything I write is so stupid.” She's like, once you're writing, she's like, just take the time to do it, right? Once you're writing

The workshop was useful, because you were just taking the time to do it. Once you're writing, it doesn't really matter what you put down. It doesn't have to be good. You're just putting words on paper.

[0:41:44] LHL: I think it opens up your mind in a different way. It relaxes you. It's good for your emotional and mental health. You may produce something cool and fun out of it that you want to share with others, or you may crumple it up and throw it away.

[0:41:56] SW: Right. Right. Or burn it in some cathartic ceremony.

[0:42:00] LHL: In a very Joe Akoni fashion.

[0:42:06] SW: Right. The other thing that I jotted down when I was listening to her, we talk about imposter syndrome all the time on the podcast, in almost every single episode. She talks about poet being a title that you just bestow upon yourself, which is the opposite of, I don't know, for folks who may know this, like chef is something that you only get to call yourself once a real chef calls you chef. It has this inaccessibility about it. She's like, “No, poet is just what you call yourself. If you're a poet, you just call yourself that.” It just flies in the face of imposter syndrome.

[0:42:41] LHL: Absolutely. It's just, yeah, it's taking ownership of the identity that you're creating for yourself. That's lovely. She's not only doing that herself. She's encouraging it in front of high school students here that you heard, and through her podcast, Bread & Poetry, which has not only a lovely name, but a beautiful premise.

[0:43:00] SW: Yes. I feel like, our listeners will appreciate that after interviewing her that weekend, one of the teachers at Exeter High School went home and made some bread and shared pictures with us. We have an email thread talking about bread, which is amazing. Diannely’s favorite bread is Fougasse. One of the teachers at Exeter High School that weekend made some Fougasse, which is similar to Focaccia. It's a little bit different, but it's similar to Focaccia. I've never made it, so I don't know that much about it. But it looked beautiful.

[0:43:31] SW: It looked gorgeous.

[0:43:33] LHL: And very tasty. Well done.

[0:43:35] SW: There's nothing better than getting an email that's just a picture of bread. If I'm going to get an email over the weekend, it'd better be something like a picture of bread.

[0:43:44] LHL: The only thing better would be the loaf itself.

[0:43:50] SW: I feel bad for everybody who didn't get to be there in person, just because of what a presence Diannely is. We joked that she is poetry personified. She is the embodiment of poetry. Yeah, it was amazing.

[0:44:04] LHL: Yeah. Really, just fun vibes. Very inspiring. I mean, just anything you would want in front of a live workshop in front of high school students, who do not have always the best attention spans. I feel like, they really soaked in the process and hearing what some of the students wrote was really awesome. It really means a lot for us to go to these things and help with these things. I know, at least for me, that this interview in particular was therapeutic. There's something about poetry and doing the writing workshop and Diannely’s presence that made it feel therapeutic and wonderful and inspiring. I'm sure that some of the students left with that same feeling.

[0:44:44] LHL: Thank you, Diannely, again, for sharing your wisdom and your words with us.

[0:44:49] SW: Yeah, it was really amazing. I ordered Diannely’s first book and her second book is on pre-order already.  So – I know. If you want to learn more about Diannely, you can go to her website. It's You can purchase her debut collection, Ugly Music, and pre-order her forthcoming collection, Good Monster. You can find Diannely on Instagram. Her handle is @nelfel13. Finally, you can find out more about The Bread & Poetry Project on her website and follow the Bread & Poetry Podcast on Instagram. You can listen wherever you're listening to this podcast, or on all major podcast platforms.

[0:45:28] LHL: As always, you can find those links and more in the episode description and on our website, You will find us on Facebook and Instagram @CreativeGutsPodcast.

[0:45:38] SW: Thank you again so much to our friends at Exeter High School for inviting Creative Guts to the stage. Thank you to the New Hampshire State Council and the Arts for their support of this work.

[0:45:45] LHL: If you love listening and want to support Creative Guts, you can make a donation, leave us a review, interact with our content on social media, purchase some merch, whatever you're able to do, we appreciate you.

[0:45:58] SW: Thank you for tuning in. 

[0:45:59] LHL: We'll be back next Wednesday with another episode of Creative Guts.