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Poetry Is My Safe Space

Abby Duran is a Charleston-based spoken word artist and the founder and creative director of the writing service and global storytelling platform, VeraNation. She released her debut poetry collection, Between Words, in March of 2023.

Why did you start poetry?

Poetry was a safe space for my journal entries, essentially my life, to go after therapy ended. It naturally came to me and that’s usually when the best things in life appear.

What impact has poetry had on your life?

I tear up thinking about this. Poetry became my partner once I allowed it to settle in. At first, I had to endure the emotions I initially overcame through therapy to compose these pieces that needed a home. Once I realized this was the best way to tell my story while being respectful to those I wrote about, including myself, I began creating Between Words. The more I performed, I gained confidence in public speaking, and redirect my stuttering and dyslexia. The biggest takeaway is that poetry, specifically spoken word, tackled my fear of turbulence as a frequent flyer. My phobia was to the point where I would ask the attendants to sit next to me. The rhythm of reciting coincided with the natural rhythm in breathing, thus calming my nervous system.

What inspires you to write poetry?

It's from the years of journaling, life experiences, and environment. I never worry poetry will ever "leave" me the way people usually do. It's so natural I don't even stop to think about it. Like the wind in Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist; it calls to me, not the other way around.

If you could bottle up one feeling or emotion and give it to people to experience, what would it be? Why?

The purest love of small moments from a chance encounter. Whether it’s performing poetry at Nuyorican Cafe for the first time, flying an airplane, the people I've encountered during my travels, falling in love, and simply the beauty of mother nature. I say this because these moments truly make life worth living for. They are the extra breath we need when all seems forgotten or taken over by the current cycle.

What are you looking forward to improving this year?

Learning to be a better listener to myself, those I surround myself with, and the universe.

What is one big dream you have?

To be financially independent. Once you have security in your life, then you can assist others in prosperity. I’d love to teach writing on a global level to communities that benefit economically equally expressively. Truly I simply get joy from connecting with others and sharing their stories or at least give them the space to do so safely.

What advice would you give someone just starting out in writing poetry?

Allow the negative energies to pour into the blank pages. It's immensely therapeutic and clears a pathway for new thoughts. Please don't concern yourself with how others write or that it doesn't sound a certain way. As one of my mentors’ states, the purpose of poetry is that it permits you to be yourself. Write first and foremost for yourself. If you wish to publish, write first and edit later.


You sent for me.

Like a song I knew

I've never heard before.

After therapy,

You became a refuge for my pain to go.

Unlike music,

You don’t pull and play.

My heartstrings, you embrace and stay.

The people who love and leave,


You allow my pen to skate across blank pages.

Allow me to take center stage

When I feel abandoned.

How you console me after

Various degrees of heartache.

How you transform my anger into

A loving woman sculpture.

Remind me I’m worth living for

As my tears make music on the floor.

A palace for penmanship

When no one else will listen.

Help me rewrite history

Give this soft voice a song.

I breathe in your euphoria,

When the turbulence hits.

Transport me in your rhythms

Where music failed.

That’s how strong you make me.

How you believe in me.

Within you,

I found where I belong

Connect with Abby

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