In this episode of Cloud9, we interview American poet, keynote speaker, author and social justice activist Barbara Talley. Born into a large family, Barbara was exposed to poetry at a young age through her father. Although he was not a religious man, he believed in God and encouraged his children to pray and forge their own spiritual paths. As a result, Barbara was always curious, and when she encountered the Baha’i Faith at age 15, she continued her search, being baptized three times, and almost joining the Nation of Islam, before deciding that the Baha’i Faith encompassed all that she was looking for.
Her yearning for social justice and her poetry accompanied her on this search for truth. At the age of 12 Barbara discovered the powers of poetry in transforming and inspiring change in the people around her, a skill that continues to drives her work. Today, Barbara has published more than 1000 poems, and has written several books such as Superwoman Doesn’t Live Here Anymore; On Track, On Fire, On Purpose; and Miner Miracles. She is also an experienced keynote speaker and workshop facilitator, offering training in diversity, leadership and empowerment. Inspired by the Baha’i vision for racial unity, Barbara participates in countless spaces that focus on the discourse of diversity and social justice, including BahaiTeachings.org’s own Racial Unity Advisory Council.
O Children of Men! Know ye not why We created you all from the same dust? That no one should exalt himself over the other. Ponder at all times in your hearts how ye were created. Since We have created you all from one same substance it is incumbent on you to be even as one soul, to walk with the same feet, eat with the same mouth and dwell in the same land, that from your inmost being, by your deeds and actions, the signs of oneness and the essence of detachment may be made manifest. Such is My counsel to you, O concourse of light! Heed ye this counsel that ye may obtain the fruit of holiness from the tree of wondrous glory. – Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, p. 20.
In our interview with Barbara, we learn about her creative and spiritual journey, how she integrates the teachings of Baha’u’llah into her work and service to humanity, and hear her recite some of her signature poems.
To contact Barbara, learn more about the books she’s published, and hear some of her poetry visit her website: barbaratalley.me