“There are a lot of things that I see that sometimes make me angry or sad and that’s when I write poetry,” senior Trinity Madison said following her win of the 2019 Franzie Award at the All-Write Festival.
Madison’s poem, named “Racial Alliance,” was “based on the idea that there are these phrases that we use to unify us that are actually really toxic and they’re rude,” Madison said.
Madison cited the phrases “the only race is the human race,” “all lives matter” and “I don’t see color” as some of those toxic expressions.
“They are all really sweet sentiments, but at the same time… they are used to rebuttal things like Black Lives Matter,” Madison said.
“I don’t necessarily like having to defend my poetry, the work says a lot for itself,” Madison said.
The poem does, weaving together rebuttals to the earlier listed phrases, while incorporating historical injustices and events as well as what ails America today.
Facts about mass incarceration and police brutality are intertwined throughout Madison’s lines with The ⅗ Compromise and voting literacy tests, forming clear and complete connections from past to present.
Following a complete rejection from the contest her freshman year, Madison continued writing and started performing at gigs around St. Louis.
Madison entered the 2017 Franzie contest the following year, winning for the first time with a piece called “I Pledge,” making her the only finalist awarded first place twice.
Madison notes a transition from her more “angry” or “vocal” type of poetry to one that has become more private, like a coping mechanism. A ritual that is for herself.
The last two lines of “Racial Alliance” state: “Even if my words be my only weapon, I’ll lift every voice.”
This is feature editor Lindsey Bennett’s first year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year. She has attended JournalismSTL’s Spring Conference and MIPA’s J-Day.