If you can reach way back in your memory to December 2013, you'll recall LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs's cipher on hip hop poetics. Of course you remember, and you'll recall all the smart and insightful contributions to the cipher made by Yolanda Wisher. To find out more about Wisher, you can surf over to Philadelphia's Citypaper where Wisher was profiled yesterday by Lynn Rosen. Again, saying all sorts of smart and insightful things.

Born in Philadelphia, Wisher grew up in North Wales, where her family has lived for generations. She came back to the city for graduate school in 1999 (Wisher holds an M.A. in creative writing/English from Temple), and has been here ever since. She lives in Germantown, where she’s active in the local arts community, and works full-time as the head of the art education department at the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.

Wisher sees poetry as a collaborative art. “I definitely saw early on the job of the poet being [to create] a collective and collaborative experience. I love the solitary experience of writing and mulling over and reflecting on things. But something about the exchange, whether it’s through a reading or a workshop, … the communal experience of poetry really speaks to me,” she says. She also enjoys seeing someone catch “the poetry bug,” and takes the shared role of poetry very seriously. “It’s not just entertainment or a way to create a pedagogical tool,” she says. Instead, like the murals she works with in her day job, she says poetry “has potential as public art.”

Head over to Citypaper to read the rest of the article and catch "the poetry bug"!

Originally Published: June 6th, 2014