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Portraits of Canton: Poet Veda Leone

January 7, 2016 Arts and Entertainment, Community, Photos No Comments

Veda Leone

By John Fitts

Spoken word poetry is giving Veda Leone the voice she always sought.

“It’s vulnerability,” she said. “It’s just an opening of the deepest parts of someone. They’re sharing it in a way that just leaves you stunned or breathless or crying. I think the healing power of writing is something I didn’t quite understand until this past year.”

While she discovered the art form a few years earlier, she was further enthralled by an “Evening of the Spoken Word” at the Gallery on the Green in the spring of 2014. Readers included some of her future friends and mentors – Chivas Sandage, Nora Jamieson and Jackie Welsh.

Soon, Leone was residing in the village, drawing inspiration from “the artists, writers, teachers and free spirits in Collinsville” and by January of 2015 was attending Sandage’s “Write Like a River” workshops.

In July, Leone began attending weekly poetry open mics in Northampton, Mass.

“It was really there, in July, when people started coming up to me and saying your poem really spoke to me and I was kind of like ‘what do you mean it spoke to you?’ ‘What do you mean it was good?’  What do you mean I have a voice?’”

Leone also co-founded the Collinsville Artists Cooperative’s monthly Spoken Word on the Square open mics, where this Saturday she will be the featured artist.

As she’s found her voice, you might say Leone has also found a new persona. She came to Collinsville as Lindsay Marcin, which is still her legal name. Veda came during a search for a pen name, one that led to every baby name site imaginable but finally came up on her screen.

“I can tell you for certain, in the 10 months, that was the first time It came up and my reaction was literally – oh duh – and that was it,” she said. “I didn’t even think about it twice really. When I settled on this name I said that’s not just a pen name, that’s not just a pseudonym.”

She added Leone, giving the name the combined meaning of “knowing strength.”

For Veda, a trauma survivor, much of the journey is indeed about healing.

With live readings, a newly published chapbook, titled Cellar Door, and the goal of leading workshops for trauma survivors, she hopes to help others find their own voice while continuing to find her own.

“I feel like that’s the ultimate goal,” she said. “We’re all in this together in the grand scheme of things. If my catharsis can, in any way, speak to anyone else’s hurting and help them in their healing process – that’s why I’m doing what I do. I’m not here to say ‘I can fix you’ or ‘Look how fixed I am.’  I’m here to say ‘I know what it feels like to feel broken and unheard.'”

“Quite frankly, I’m very straight forward with my poetry,” she added. “I don’t use a ton of language that confuses people. I just lay it all out and that works for people.”

And she’s thankful that over the past year or so, she’s found the strength, support and language as she continues her journey.

“It’s really been a fast-paced process,” she said. “It’s funny as I look back at 2015. For me it was the year of becoming.”

Appearances:
Jan. 9, 7 p.m. Collinsville Artists Cooperative’s Collinsville’s Spoken Word on the Square, Saturday, Downright Music and Art, 100 A Main St.
Jan 19, 7:30 p.m., Third Tuesday Greenfield Word.  Co-feature with Mass. Poet Adam Grabowski, 9 Mill St., Greenfield, Mass.

Learn more and read some poetry at: 
https://vedaleone.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/vedaleone/?fref=ts

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