First African American Poet Laureate for Prince William County discusses her work

A photo of Poet Laureate Kim B. Miller.

A photo of Poet Laureate Kim B. Miller.

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She’s the first African American Poet Laureate for Prince William County, Virginia. But what is a Poet Laureate?

Kim B. Miller said they are poet ambassadors. When she began writing she said she realized, “This is really something that can touch people in a special way that they don’t even expect is coming.”

During her term as poet laureate, from Oct. of 2020 until Oct. of 2022, Miller has been touching women through teaching writing workshops, including a wellness writing workshop through Creative Suitland, and by working with the next generation of writers in local schools.

Miller said that, “Writing is like breathing.”

She sometimes hears kids say that they like rap music but they don’t like poetry.

“Most people don’t know that rap is an acronym for rhythm and poetry,” she said. “It’s poetry to a beat.”

Miller specializes in Haiku and Senryu, both forms of short Japanese poetry such as, “You cannot divide yourself into fractions to make someone else whole.” Or, “Please recognize your accomplishments or you will label them failures.”

Most writers have a process when it comes to their writing. Miller said she’s old school.

“I am a pencil and paper poet and it has to be a mechanical pencil,”  she said.

Miller also said that she carries lead everywhere, writes when the spirit moves her and writes about just about anything from bad parenting to Christianity.

She was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised on Long Island, New York. She came to Prince William County where she currently resides as an adult.

Miller’s work as poet laureate includes reaching out to the youth in our community by performing in classroom in D.C., Maryland and Virginia through Zoom and critiquing the writing of young poets.

“Poetry is in great hands,” she said.

Miller is the author of several books including, “Christ Gave Me This Pen So I have to Write the Truth,” and “Poetically Inking: Just Me, My Pen and the Mic.” Kim is married to her high school sweetheart and has two biological children and two step children.

She attended the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York and Northern Virginia Community College. To find out more about Writing for Wellness, go to creativesuitland.com or kimbmiller.com.

A poem by Kim B. Miller entitled “To All The Veterans” depicted in front of a plant stem.

This is part of WTOP’s continuing coverage of people making a difference in our community authored by Stephanie Gaines-Bryant. Read more of that coverage.

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