Today we’d like to introduce you to Patti Ross.
Hi Patti, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Although I have written poetry all my life, I am a late bloomer in the poetry/spoken scene. In 2018, I began to look at how I wanted to spend the next third of my life and I realized that reading was joyous past-time, but writing was a passion. I wrote every day in my personal journal or “morning pages” so transferring some of those thoughts to poems came easy.
It was learning the craft of poetry that was not so easy. There are many ways to learn to write poetry and many forms of the craft. I knew I wanted to be a storyteller for my ancestors and so starting there I chose the spoken word as my method of presentation. I went to several open mics and read my poems and that was invigorating, the poetry community is extremely supportive.
Once I had that initial confidence, I learned how to take the words from the page to the stage and vice-versa. That’s where more formal writing training began and I started re-educating myself on the craft of writing. I took classes at the Writer’s Center, online offerings and I joined several writing associations. The practices and prompts from those classes and the desire to tell my ancestor’s story parlayed me into creating EC Poetry & Prose Collective.
Starting as a salon series at Syriana’s restaurant (https://syrianacafe.com/) in old Ellicott City, once a month, I would host an open mic and have a featured poet or prose author share their work and talk craft. This went on for over a year until the summer before the pandemic and we shortened the series to just a few months. Once the pandemic started and not wanting to lose our sense of community I proposed moving the monthly event online and renaming it First Friday’s. I started it on the Maryland Writers Association platform and it still exists today, although I am no longer the host.
Today the collective has performed for a number of audiences both in-person and online and we continue to be available for bookings. The website is https://ecpoetryandprose.org/. I now host an open mic for the Baltimore County Arts Guild in Catonsville called Third Thursdays at the Catonsville Clubhouse just off Frederick Road, like the name it is held every third Thursday and you can register online at https://www.bcartsguild.org/event-details/poetry-open-mic-with-patti-ross-2022-04-21-18-00.
Additionally, in 2021 my book St. Paul Street Provocations was published by Yellow Arrow Publishing and my poem “Indemnity” was nominated for a 2022 Pushcart Prize. https://www.yellowarrowpublishing.com/store/st-paul-street-provocations-paperback.
The past year has been very exciting and I have grown in a number of ways both personally and professionally. I am blessed to be published in several anthologies and included as a part of Ellicott City’s 250 Anniversary Celebration my poem COLORED SCHOOL is located in the window of Syriana’s.
The tag line for the collective is Peace, Poetry, Truth and that’s how I try to move throughout earthly space adding LOVE where I can. Everyone deserves LOVE – authentic LOVE. I hope through my poetry I can impart a greater sense of LOVE for each other facing our ugly truths and moving beyond them to Peace.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
As a creative, I am not sure a “smooth” road exists. Oftentimes, creatives are misunderstood and their desire to create will often override situations that some folk deems necessary – like traditional work. In the spring of 2020 roughly 90 days after the start of the pandemic I retired early from my job.
I do think the pandemic put some pressure on my desire to move my words and thoughts from my morning pages to the pages of a chapbook and the open stages of open mics whether in-person or online. I think I had a sense of urgency different from pre-pandemic days when the time was not as visible.
The pandemic forced an acceptance of an essential lifestyle that I had contemplated but was scared to let go of the pleasantries that come with full-time income. I found there was little to fear and new pleasantries emerged through creative acceleration.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Patti (Spady) Ross graduated from Washington, DC’s Duke Ellington School for the Performing Arts, The American University, and The Keller Graduate School of Management. As a lifetime learner, Patti holds a certificate in Writing for Social Justice from the University of California, Berkley. After high-school graduation, she performed with several local theatre companies in the Washington region.
In addition to her performance career, she used her college degree in print media to freelance several of her journalist pieces gaining publication in the Washington Times and the Rural America newspapers. Next, Patti took on the corporate technology arena, gaining Presidents Club recognition at several fortune 500 companies. Having traveled throughout the United States and abroad, she chose to raise her daughters in Columbia, MD.
A few years ago, Patti rediscovered her love of writing and is sharing her voice as the spoken word artist “little pi.” Her debut chapbook, St. Paul Street Provocations, was released in 2021 by Yellow Arrow Publishing. She is a former board member of the Maryland Writers Association. At present, she sits on the advisory boards of several non-profit organizations in the Baltimore region. Patti lives in Ellicott City, MD.
In 2021, she was nominated for a 2022 Pushcart Prize for her poem “Indemnity”. Patti is the first Poet in Residence for the AA Food Bank in partnership with PoetryXHunger.
So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
https://ecpoetryandprose.org/ and https://littlepisuniverse.com/.
Above are two of my websites. Please visit them and like our work and join our mailing list. The EC Poetry & Prose Collective site has a calendar of events listed and I would love to meet folks in person. Please think of attending an event and let me know how you found me/us.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://littlepisuniverse.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/littlepisuniverse/
http://www.jessieandkatey.com/#/new-gallery-2/ – cover art graphic and http://www.duanewinfield.com/ – Duane Winfield