Broken Beauty: Talk with poet junior Jordan Cole-Sanni

Jordan Cole-Sanni is the poet behind Broken Beauty, where she expresses her Black experience in a creative way.

Photo courtesy Jordan Cole-Sanni

Jordan Cole-Sanni is the poet behind Broken Beauty, where she expresses her Black experience in a creative way.

Broken Beauty

Beautiful is the broken glass
That although it shines it still cuts
Beautiful the words one puts together
Even though they lie
Beautiful the warning signs
Although they mean danger

Beauty is deceiving it is more dangerous
Because of inconspicuous camouflage
There is even beauty in racism
Because racism is for those scared of our color
Or what we can be if we can rise from the depravity of
The hate that is given
The words you all say to try and cut us down
They are beautiful because even though
You say them we still stand

Beautiful is extending an olive branch even though one
Has proceeded to make us feel less than
Beautiful is division because when we unite it will be all the more powerful

Beauty is not aesthetics or pretty words it is the action behind them
So beautiful is black because we have so much power
That we repeatedly are bashed by those who know our potential
Black is beautiful because I am beautiful and you
Are me and I am you and we are all the same
So beautiful lives matter despite any objection

Junior Jordan Cole-Sanni is a member of the Black Student Union along with an avid writer. Through her writing, she is able to express her experiences as a Black woman. In this poem specifically, Cole-Sanni speaks on the beauty of having grace and also the duality of everything: people, words, actions, objects. To have a greater understanding of the messages and themes, we spoke with the poet herself.

Q: How long have you been writing and why did you start?
A: I’ve been writing since I was little. It started with an itch of needing to express myself on a deeper level. I found poetry to be the way to do just that.

Q: How has your experience influenced the way you see the world, and how is that reflecting in your writing?
A: I am Black. The only way I can see the world is in other people’s point of view so that I don’t take what’s happening personally. In my writing, I talk about being kind despite. I say this to say I am proud of my race despite the hardships.

Q: Was there any specific event that inspired this piece or was it more of a culmination?
A: It was more of a collage of things that created this piece within me. I could feel the words swirling during the riots. I could see the stanzas forming during the Capitol riot [on Jan. 6] and I could feel the meaning radiating off me as Amanda Gorman spoke at the inauguration.

Q: What would you like readers to see in between the lines of your poem?
A: In between the lines are the things we don’t say, things we convey with how we say it. In this poem there is pain and hurt, yes, but what is truly being said is we embrace you despite, I accept you despite. I hope people will follow in these footsteps.

Q: Do you have a specific artistic process when it comes to writing?
A: Music. Music. Music. The creativity of others always makes mine flow. Yet sometimes I get an idea just from seeing things like falling snow or a stop sign. A creative person doesn’t have a process per say; they are creativity itself and their work is the embodiment of their efforts.

Q: How do you think Wootton and the Wootton community can change to be more anti-racist?
A: I think just accepting there is a problem in the first place, and ask questions; we truly need to normalize this. Another thing is uniting. I speak of this as well; there is beauty in being apart as long we come together in the end.

Q: I really loved your last line, it made a super impactful ending. What do you hope the lingering impact of not only your words but also the words of other Black creators will do?
A: I hope my words as well as other beautiful talented creators like Amanda Gorman will just motivate people; our words are so powerful and we don’t know the power we have. When we say certain things we have the ability to change the conversation. That is what I intend to do.

Q: In your poem, there is this theme of continual grace despite adversity. Can you elaborate on that point along with other points you want the reader to extract?
A: Grace is something we give [and] whether or not we do comes from within. Someone can wish the worst upon you yet you can give them positivity. In this we learn forgiveness, and we diffuse the situation at once. Another important point is things are never as they seem. I alluded to this at the beginning; ordinary things can be both dangerous and beautiful such as broken glass. It is sharp, but when the light hits it just right they may be mistaken for diamonds.

Q: Is there anything you would like to add about your own experience and your poem?
A: I’ve been objectified because of my race, but it only made me stronger [and] only made these words easier to write. People are beautiful and I want everyone to know it’s not just Black lives that matter; the harmony and beauty of us all matters as a society.