Written by Pauline Braxton
Passion, honesty and genuine talent take their purest form in one of Rutgers’ very own local poets. Maybe you’ve heard of her around campus or perhaps you’ve had the pleasure of being in the audience of one her captivating performances. But if you have yet to be acquainted with her work, BVCL introduces to you Ms. Alyea Pierce.
Alyea is a senior here at Rutgers, majoring in Communication and minoring in English and Linguistics. An aspiring motivational public speaker and internationally renowned poet, she has made a name for herself performing her original poetry at over 80 events here on campus. Off-campus, she has performed at numerous venues such as the Apollo Theater, Broadway’s New
Amsterdam Theater and Columbia and Kean Universities. She was a finalist for the 2012 NY Knicks Poetry Slam as well
as for the 2011 and 2012 NYC Teen Poetry Slams. She was also a member of RU’s first slam team in 2012. More recently, Alyea was the opening act for world-acclaimed gospel artist and producer Fred Hammond at First Baptist Church of Lincoln Garden’s “A Night of Praise” sponsored by the Dfree Global Foundation.
Though you’d never guess it by watching her on stage, writing poetry has not always been an enjoyable experience for
her. In fact, Alyea confesses that she actually hated her first poetic writing experience and that she once lacked the confidence to share her talents and love for the arts with others. As time went on, her passion for writing poetry grew, and she found the motivation to share her gifts publicly. “My inspiration was the fact that I could never speak my true feelings. I always held a lot in as a child, and never knew how to voice my words.. so my motivation every time I get on a stage is that I must speak for those who can’t”, Alyea says.
Overcoming her initial hesitation, Alyea began to discover that writing and performing poetry was not a hobby, but a need. She
had found her purpose. She recalls the time she performed at the Nuyorican Poets Café when she was just 13 years old as the moment she first realized that she wanted to commit her career to public speaking.
“When I touched the stage I could feel everyone in that room, I could see everyone for who they were as the lights dimmed, and Slick Rick’s, “La Di Da Di’s” base simmered in the background¼I felt at peace, quiet, free, right, correct, in the moment, beautiful, powerful, I felt like I had a purpose. I felt like all the things you are supposed to feel every day of your life when you do what you love and I could not let that feeling go”.
Now fully convinced of her path, Alyea is going forth confidently towards her future. In the process, she is helping the next generation of youth accomplish their goals. For the past three years, she has worked with the youth of the NAACP Act-So chapter as a Poetry Mentor. On the experience she says, “watching my students compete in national competitions, and conducting my own workshops was not only a learning experience for myself, but a life-changing experience. The youth of the generations to come are TALENTED!”
While Alyea’s journey has been filled with success, the road to fulfilling her dreams is not without stumbling blocks. Alyea
names convincing her family of her vision as one of the main obstacles. “I come from a Caribbean background, in which medicine
and education are the primary fields obtained by that specific culture. So for a very long time, I could not even tell my parents
what I truly wanted to be”, she says. “My parents did not even know I wrote a book until I handed it to them”, Alyea laughs. Without the complete approval of her family, Alyea had to remain self-motivated through much of her journey. Encouraging herself along the way, she created dream boards and placed them in her poetry journals, she recited motivational affirmations to herself every morning and she researched public speaking opportunities and joined clubs that could help launch her in the direction of her dreams. With her eye on the silver lining, Alyea tell us, “Not having your family and friends understand you is one of the hardest obstacles; however, knowing the vision that I will bring to this world, and the fact that my past has made me undeniably determined..it is fun having a secret and watching my family slowly see my vision unfold like a story book”.
Today, Alyea continues to shine as one of Rutgers’ most promising hopefuls. She is the poet laureate of the Dfree campaign,
the poetic host of the travelling fashion show, “Styletainment”, and she looks forward to performing at the 2013 Rutgers Student
Affairs Conference among a crowd of over 400 professionals. At the forefront of her achievements is the recent publication of her first book, Every Stranger Deserves a Poem. Through a series of short stories and poems, Pierce acknowledges an underlying connection to three main themes: Love, Life, and Loss, through the lives of three strangers.
Over the past four years, Alyea Pierce has inspired the Rutgers community and beyond with her gift. At every
performance, she commands the stage, astonishing the crowds with her grace, zeal and raw commitment to her work. With all that she has already accomplished, we know her future has much more in store as this poetic powerhouse continues to make her mark on the world while also leaving one on our hearts.
For more information on future performances, friend Alyea on Facebook. You can also find Alyea on Instagram and Twitter
@AlyeaSpeaks. For video footage of Alyea’s performances, please visit Alyea’s Youtube channel @AlyeaPiercePoetry. Every Stranger Deserves a Poem can be purchased on amazon.com for $15. For more book inquiries, email Alyea at firstname.lastname@example.org.