MY ART STORY by

Hannah Drake

Louisville
Kentucky

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Woman speaking into a mike.

Hannah Drake performing at the West End Poetry Opera. Photo courtesy of artist

Simply put, poetry saved me!

Broken. Battered. Abused. I was a young girl that was homeless at 16, in relationships that were like revolving doors, a teenage mother in an abusive relationship finally ending when I walked out the front door and into a battered woman’s shelter. I had just turned 21. I had nothing. Or so I thought. The only thing I knew was that I loved words. There was something about words that I could just feel deep on the inside of me. And it made sense, because reading had always been my refuge. When I was a little girl and everything was chaotic in our house, I can still remember my mother taking me to the downstairs bedroom and teaching me to read Marvin Kay Mooney Will You Please Go Now? by Dr. Seuss. It was the first book that I was able to read on my own and to this day, I have the book on my shelf to remind me just how far words can take you.

And what a journey my life has been. Far too many paths I never thought I would walk and rides on the back of Greyhound buses I thought I would never take. But life happens to us all. When I was 19, I found myself pregnant. Who was I to be a mother? I was too young. Too selfish. Too much of me. It was then that I remembered the power of words and the day I brought my daughter home from the hospital was the day I started writing.
When I was depressed. I wrote. When I was happy. I wrote. When I was in despair. I wrote. I knew by telling my story I would be able not only to change my life but the lives of others around me. Words were my lifeline and believe me I was writing to save myself and now to save the life of my daughter. Writing became my all, because it was through words that I became stronger. I have gone on to write five collections of poetry and two novels. I have performed at the Legendary Showtime at the Apollo and the Nuyorican Poet’s Café. I have been on many different stages performing my poetry and each time I always in awe that life gave me another chance.