Introducing, Ashay

This is my poetry blog. I am a recent graduate of the California Literature Initive in Los Angeles.  I love to write poetry about life, love, courage, African American history and social justice. I listen intently to my cohorts in CLI as they creatively “spit their fire.”

Right now, I am on a journey in discovering the Black Survivors of the Holocaust, this subject excites me is intriguing and a necessary discussion about the Second Diaspora experience of African American. This historical nugget is unintentionally over looked in the discourse of African American world history. While studying in grad school I stumbled upon this subject as my thesis, which I created into a creative project for performance; being unaware, until about 2013, that blacks were imprisoned by the Nazis as POWs, and Black Holocaust survivors existed. I instinctively knew others like myself were clueless of this history. Thus my mission began to include this subject into the public discussion about the work of Josef Nassy and Valaida Snow into the African American history discourse of this nation. What more effect way to accomplish this then through the arts.

I will be publishing a book of poetry entitled, Ashay Speaks: Poetry on Courage and Black Survivors of the Holocaust. The release date TBA.   This blog is my way of informing reader on my work and future endeavors as a performing artist and writer. Connecting with my fellow world citizens, as we look at life through a poetic lens, using transmedia to accompany my book. Reading my poetry in real time is my ultimate goal. This blog will reflect my sentiments about life, in general and specifics about African Americans and samples of my poetic work for you to give feedback about the virtues of my work.  I intend to collaborate with other artist and scholars to enhance the experience of my blogging community.

I write Ekphrasis poetry based on the Holocaust, visual art of Josef Nazzy. Ekphrasis is defined as: a literary description of or commentary on a visual work of art (I took this right out of the dictionary, Merriam Webster, a reliable source, don’t you think?) In a broader sense, it is commentary on any art form. I am a musician, music is my first love, and I have learned a love for poetry and prose, in my collaborative experience with performance and in graduate school.   I found a love for poetry as a child and then revisited my passion for writing poetry, later in life, several years ago.

A tragic loss of my daughter, Marian in 2014 gave me the courage to seek writing poetry as my way to cope with my loss and heal my pain with words. To move on from a place of grieve and sorrow to growth and serving humanity with the beauty and the bounty of language.

I will use this blog to express my ideas, voice my opinions and delve into the unknown literary world of voice. Where ever that takes me; I am ready for the journey. How exciting to have an audience, you as my fellow traveler, on the rode to understanding and insight of the humanities.

Welcome to Ashay’s world. A world seen through the intellect of an African American woman who treasures the heritage of my people. I have dedicated my life to the study of the Arts and Humanities with emphasis and focus on life in the city, music, visual art and the accomplishments of those before me. I embrace my legacy of faith in the belief of God who hears the voice of His people. The same voice that to spoke to Moses in the wilderness and the Moses of the Underground Railroad.

I possess a BA in Music, (Vocal Performance and Audio Engineering) and have spent many years as a choral singer and soloist, Jubilee Singing is my favorite. Singing the Spirituals in Carnegie Hall, and Jazz with some of the best musicians in the greater Los Angeles Area, has been my privilege. I had an opportunity to teach. Fundamentals of Electronic Music at a college in Compton, CA.  I finished a MA program in Arts and Humanities at Cal State University Dominguez Hill and hold several Certificate: Commercial Music, Jewelry and Metalsmithing (pending), and Nursing (LVN). I got my nursing training in the United States Navy and spent many years in the community rendering palliative care to the death and dying. There is nothing that I cannot accomplish once I put my mind to it. Currently, I am focused on writing, poetry. Words are music to my ears, Songwriting led me to my discovery of writing poetry also. My CLI experience has taught me a great deal about expressing my ideas in a poetic way. I am ready for this flight . . . I will be reading my poetry for an Author’s Draft on June 11th @ USC in Los Angeles, CA. Stay in touch for the posting. 😀

Dawnna “Ashay” Mathieu




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