Princess McDowell: A Writer To Put On Your Radar
That's when Princess McDowell sent me a kind direct message on Facebook curious to know if I would be interested in meeting up for coffee and having a writing session.
I had witnessed the alchemy of her storytelling through the conduit of poetry a couple of times, so I knew she was a writer to watch. I jumped at the chance.
When we finally met IRL (in real life), she was working on a sci-fi novel and short story series. She was focused and prideful even though it was somewhat new territory for her.
Writing fiction is not second nature for her. At least not yet.
"Poet" is what has been aligned with her identity as a creative writer and more specifically, a spoken word artist the most.
She’s a published and lauded poet who didn’t even begin writing poetry until she was in college.
Trained by trade as a journalist, she originally wanted to build a career as a sports journalist for an esteemed daily newspaper.
Currently she’s a copywriter by day but is making the transition to being a poetry teacher with children for Big Thought.
Big Thought is perfect for a literary powerhouse in the making like Princess. It’s a smart and savvy educational program that puts artists in Dallas classrooms. It opens up the world of creative writing to the children who need to see artist living and breathing that look like them the most.
There is no doubt that she’ll be nothing short of a fearless creative leader in the classroom.
For her most recent book, black boi: a bio, the broad concept of identity is very intertwined into each stanza, sonnet, and carefully crafted statement.
It explores queer self-expression, racial messiness in America, the intimacy of mental health, and the great hope we call love.
Considering how the concept of identity can be so expansive, Princess is able to make it feel personal and relatable, almost like déjà vu. You’ve felt these narratives before but have never read them how she delivers them on the page.
The book actually came about quite serendipitously.
And even though that is the folklore of many a writer’s journey, in Princess’s case, it happens to be a true tale.
She wanted to apply for a writer’s residency at the Pink Door Writing Retreat and needed to submit her sharpest writing’s for a portfolio.
Needless to say a debut book was born and of course she landed a spot at the residency last year.
An excerpt from her poem: /tom-boi/ in the book gives you a taste of her poetic chops…
“men will never treat you like family. Now that I am older, tom has been cut. I’ve redefined myself with a long /i/ sound. I’m the type of boi who likes to build things with his hands.”
We encourage you to get a copy to read the rest.
You’ll be pleased that you did.
Her journey as a creative writer is ever expanding. Last spring she served as the Volunteer Coordinator of the Women of The World Slam annual event where nothing but the straight best women poets in the world show up and show out. She will continue on in her role for 2018’s event.
I, for one will be the first in line to read anything she publishes next.
A weekend riding and writing across the land on an Amtrak would be up her alley but in the meantime she will pull everything out of her teacher’s arsenal teaching for Big Thought and the Dallas Youth Slam team.
When asked what the next 20 years is going to look like, she confidently shared that it will be filled with penning graphic novels and maybe a memoir.
And of course a byline with ESPN would be a dream come true addition to her ever-growing bio.
You can follow Princess (and buy her book) on Instagram @write_princess_