To know how I got where I am at this present moment, it is important for me that you know how I started the journey. I never had the real courage to talk about but I did find strength in writing about it. – Tavares Bussey
Tavares Bussey is an educator, poet and writer, originally from South Carolina. He is an artist who writes to heal, empower, encourage, and to give voice to human experiences that many fear giving voice to. His hope is that one person reads his work and decides not to give up on life but instead makes the victorious choice to affirm and pursue life. He currently resides in New Haven, CT.
Charles Clark: Thank you for having this conversation!
Tavares Bussey: Thank you so much for this opportunity. I am proud to be a part of the Brotha Online family
CC: First question, Who is Tavares Bussey?
TB: I am a 36 year old man, nurtured and reared in South Carolina who found grace to live life in New Haven, CT. I am an educator, a poet, a brother, a son and a friend who is reckoning with his journey to becoming the man he was created to be. I’m a man making up for lost time due to trying to be what others expected him to be and failing to meet those expectations time and time again. I am a flawed man, a gifted man, a forgiven man, & a saved man who uses his story and his gift to heal himself and others.
CC: What was your introduction to poetry?
TB: I remember writing my first set of poetry in 6th grade. It was an assignment where I had to write a poem that represented the different types of poetry. I still have that set of poetry today. However, that wasn’t my introduction. I was formally and eternally introduced to poetry in the Fall of 2000 at Clemson University in my English 102 class. We were studying poetic greats like Edgar Allen Poe, Gwendolyn Brooks, Paul Laurence Dunbar and William Shakespeare. The professor wanted the class to write a poem that represented who we were at our core and I was shaken by this assignment because I had no clue who that was. I did not want to do this assignment and waited until the last minute to do it. Even then, I had no clue what I was going to write and then my best friend had me close my eyes and think of the person who hurt me the most up until that point and I remembered not having my dad around as much as I had liked. It was then that I was able to write a poem that sparked the beginning of something magically healing. It was this poem that I consider to be my introduction to poetry. It was this poem that changed everything.
CC: You released your first volume of poetry last year, Poetic Therapy: Battle Wounds. Is writing therapeutic for you?
TB: Yes, I did and it has been a major blessing to so many. I am grateful to be able to share it. Writing is therapeutic for me. It gives me permission to say what I feel without judgment or shame. It gives me the chance to scream when I want to and cry when I cannot speak. I strongly believe if God hadn’t awaken this gift of poetry in me, that I would not be here right now being interviewed by you.
CC: “Can I Be” is one of my favorites in this volume. Why are we still asking that simple question?
TB: So to give context to this volume of poetry, most of these poems were written between the years of 2001-2010 with the vast majority written in the earlier part of the decade. “Can I Be” was one of those written in the earlier part. I decided to include it for those who are still asking that question. It is strange to me that for some reason, some people feel the need to live a lie for those who claim they love the truth, especially within our Christian culture. “Can I Be” was a direct response to the hypocrisy of who we really and who we feel we need to pretend to be just to appease the comforts of others. I wrote it so we can stop asking that question. This was the poem that began me on the journey to stopping.
CC: What do you want the reader to come away with after reading Poetic Therapy?
TB: I want the reader to come away unashamed of his or her story. I want the reader to be empowered to embrace every part of their journey because it is in embracing the truth of who we are that we truly are able to be who we are. I found safety in revealing my secrets in poetry. I want others to find safety as well.
CC: After writing this volume, have your wounds healed?
TB: In some ways, yes and in others, healing has began. it has definitely allowed me to not be afraid to show that I have wounds. Sometimes, true healing only comes when you give your wounds access to the air. Sharing my “battle wounds” has definitely done that for me.
CC: What is next for Tavares?
TB: I am currently working on completing my second book, Poetic Therapy: Me In Between which embarks on phase two of my healing journey where I expose to the reader my inner battles between the man I was versus the man I am becoming. I am also working to launch Tavares Teaches LLC which is a business that I am selling my books under, along with other services such as literary consulting, ghost-writing, freelancing, educational workshops and public speaking. Finally, I just launched Quote Shirts by Tavares which takes some of my most favorite quotes posted on Instagram and designing t-shirts with those quotes. My first tee, “Mind your business…” is available now. I just want to continue learning and growing and becoming everything God originally intended for me to be. He never intended for me to fail. He meant for me to always triumph and I’m going after every victory that belongs to me!
CC: Tavares thank you man!
TB: Again, Thank you so much for this opportunity and congratulations on the success of this gift to the world and I pray continued success!