Interview with Linda Joy Burke

May 16, 2018

“Everybody is being very innovative, but we forget that while we’re trying to tear people down and destroy.” says Linda Joy Burke: a performance poet, writer, percussionist and picture maker. Linda Joy is a 2002 Distinguished Black Marylander Award recipient for Art from Towson University’s Office of Diversity, a 2004 Coca Cola Company/NFAA Distinguished Teacher in the Arts nominee, a 2004 Poetry for the People Baltimore Legacy Award recipient, a 2008 Fox 45 Champions of Courage nominee, and a 2007 Columbia Festival of the Arts Poetry Slam winner and a 2013 Howard County Women’s Hall of Fame inductee.

During our interview I asked about her experiences as an African American women and artist. She explained, “for me, writing was basically a way for me to be able to free my spirit.” Linda Joy described how she gained personal inspiration from Dr. Maya Angelou and many other artists of color who had no representation. She also told me about how her writing varies between many topics. She writes about topics such as nature, love, activism, and life. She said, “I do write a lot about the things that have harmed us as human beings and prevented us from growing. The 21st century has been really interesting one in looking at the results of cumulative harm.” In light of the recent walkouts and rush of student activism, I also questioned about how she has worked as an activist. One of the things she stressed the most was the importance of education and representation. When humanity is focused on negativity and judgement, we all lose the appreciation we have for each other and the things we can create together. Here is the link to full interview on the Mercy Shield Soundcloud:

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