Art by Arzu Fallahi
Danielle Colin (D. Colin) is a poet, author, educator, visual artist and the brains behind the weekly spoken word/poetry open mic, Poetic Vibe, at Troy Kitchen every Monday that has cultivated a community of local poets, spoken word artists, writers and musicians. She teaches fellow writers through her writing course The Write Situation and workshop programs through the New York State Writers Institute and has authored “Dreaming in Kreyol,” a collection of poems rooted in her Haitian history, culture and family.
“It took me a long time to dive into the idea of being a career poet…and I don’t think I really made that decision until 2013 when I started my 365,” Colin says, referring to her creative endeavor in which she completes at least one productive task connected to her poetry career each day. “Since then, I’ve done more than the 10 years prior. I’ve gotten to go all over the country. I had shows in London and Glasgow; someone in Glasgow, Scotland is holding my book, reading my book. It’s amazing.”
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147/365: My one productive goal on Sunday was to see and talk to Abiodun Oyewole but plans went left so I did go all the way to NYC and had to just come back. I’ll have to catch him another time but I did continue editing a friend’s book and I made a schedule for painting new work 💛 148/365: See these little notebooks? I think every writer should have one. Never know when an idea/line/whole poem is going to hit you 🤷♀️ I got these for my poetry class yesterday and put these simple labels on them. The first day of @nyswritersinstitute community writers workshop went great! #ThreeSixtyFive #dreamchaser #passion #purpose #productivity #progress #onethingaday #onedayatatime
Colin has been also performing with the Black Theatre Troupe for several years, performing her poems in variety shows and productions such as “Eclipsed.” Her role as Sojourner Truth in “The Stone that Started the Ripple” by Pat Nugent, organized the League of Women Voters was so moving that it landed her gigs as a reenactor. Colin’s performance work inspired her to take on “Simone,” her first one-woman show, performed at Capital Repertory Theatre in Albany in January.
“Danielle is one of the most talented, driven, hard working, honest, educated, professional, caring [people] I know,” Founder and Artistic Director of Black Theatre Troupe Of Upstate NY Jean-Remy Monnay says. “She works hard to help the youth in this community while she is using her talent as a poet to educate the community.”
Above: D. Colin performs at the Poetic Vibe 3-Year Anniversary Party at Troy Kitchen in April. Photo: Robert Cooper
With a hand in every branch of the writing community, she has made a tremendous impact on creatives looking to explore their own craft.
“I do everything I possibly can to attend her events,” fellow poet and community organizer Karyn Dyer says. “She is the epitome of what a creative is. How can you not be excited about that?”
“She’s very deliberate with her energy, with what she’s in and not in,” Dyer continues. “It’s important to know, thinking of her as a black, woman creative—someone who is an educator, who spends time with a lot of people—it’s not that she has all these roles for different reasons, they all connect back to her purpose.”
When asked about her creative journey over the past few years, Colin says even the slightest decisions and efforts she made were connected to her purpose in life: deciding to change her major to English in college, deciding to pursue a career in education, committing herself to writing full time with 365.
“Writing was always the heart of it,” she says. “From that I can teach poetry workshops, from that I can hold space for people to come and share poetry, from that I can write poetry. Everything goes back to poetry.”
Learn more about D. Colin’s art from the artist herself, featured on a recent episode of the CollabCast: