By Dylan Deprey
Not too many people have books published by 21-years-old. But, a week before spoken word poet, Mikey Cody Apollo releases her first book, she is already thinking far into her future.
“I’m a Capricorn what can I say?” Apollo said.
Apollo has blessed plenty of open mics across Milwaukee, and has organized the Lyrical Sanctuary, a monthly spoken word poetry space for UWM students. Now, she is set to release her first full length set of written poetries, “Black Girls, Silence, And Other Things Made of Gold,” on July 15th, 2017.
“Honestly, I’ve been saying I was going to write and publish for years, like since high school,” Apollo said.
She started writing poetry in second grade. It wasn’t the Black feminist empowered storytelling that she pens now, but it was a simple start that filled plenty of 25 cent notepads.
As she entered middle school and needed a way to release some of that bubbling teenage angst, she started writing and doing slam poetry events.
With only a year left at UWM, Apollo credited one of her creative writing classes that pushed her to finally bind her words.
Poetry was something that came natural to Apollo, but her professor pushed for something she had never done before…revise her work.
“I was like, ‘I just want to get a grade and leave,’ but a lot of the work that is in the book were class assignments and they were tough,” Apollo said. “I’m not trying to sound conceded, but usually poetry was innate, just something natural. Then, you have this man telling you, ‘No, you can revise this line, or this word.’ I was like, ‘Well, I put that word their because my soul told me to and I can’t just go back,’ and he was like, ‘No you can.’”
She felt that after a little push, she was writing some of the strongest work she had ever done.
From love and loss, to relationships and sexuality, she was writing about things she had always wanted to but never could. Whether it was out of shyness, or the simple thought that the stories were too personal, she was writing like never before.
“I found that even those poems that I thought, ‘oh my gosh, I’m just going to leave this in a journal and nobody would see,’ were the pieces’ people would read and be like, ‘I totally know where you’re coming from,’” Apollo said.
She wanted to release her work in May, and as April was Poetry Month, poets across the country were doing the 30-for-30 challenge. The challenge asks poets to write a poem for each day, and over the course of the month, she let it all out.
“I feel like this was the first time I’ve done the 30-for-30 with no holding back, I put it on Facebook and it was as personal as it was going to get,” Apollo said.
The poems from her final project and 30-for-30 worked well thematically together.
“I talk about love, black woman, black men and any form they fall in, in my life. From the guy at the bus stop catcalling to my dad, to other black men who have heavily impacted my life that being romantically, platonically and otherwise,” Apollo said.
She also touched on female sexuality, something she said was somewhat taboo most of her life and in women’s lives in general.
She printed over 70 poems, and Apollo and her friend sat and pieced together her first collection of written work.
“It was nice to have a second set of eyes,” Apollo said. “It was a really like a game of Tetris, but with poems.”
Though the release day was a couple months short, and the impending release day looms in the distance, Apollo said she had a mix of emotions.
“I’ve been telling everyone, ‘Please sit me down and tell me I suck before I release this,” Apollo said. “I’ll be honest I’m a little nervous, but I think most of all I’m just excited because it is a milestone.”
After taking a look at the final product, she said she had a full coming to circle feeling.
“If there were other woman poets and woman artists making the work that I needed, the work that really helped me feel connected, I would love to be that for somebody else,” Apollo said. “Even if it’s something like they read the book and they absolutely hate it, and decide to write a book ten times better than that…be my pleasure.”