An Howard: Poet, Mentor & Butterfly


An Howard is a poet, author, and mentor who has been expressing herself and finding her voice since the age of eight years old when she first began to write poetry. Now as a prolific writer, she describes herself as a “butterfly emerging from its cocoon”. After feeling sheltered and hiding her thoughts for so long, An decided that it was time for her “cotillion” to debut her poetry to readers in a meaningful way that would not only continue to give her freedom of expression but also help others to experience the same. An’s latest book, Whispers of Words Spoken, a collection of poems that she has written over the years showcasing her personal evolution, gives us an intimate view into the heart, soul, and emotions, of this multi-faceted writer.

Whisper of Words Spoken was an idea initially conceived at the end of 2011 when An began to listen to her own inner voice asking her what she planned to do with all the work she had written. The book was released earlier this year and An says that it was her “Just go ahead and do it” attitude that made the process so quick and seamless.

An credits much of her success to her supportive family and inspiring school teachers who helped her to stay encouraged and excited about writing, two very important factors that are often non-existent in many children’s lives. She reminds us that this was “back when teachers gave their all to kids”. An remembers, “My elementary teachers encouraged us to read, and of course my parents and the rest of my family”. An now pays it forward by mentoring children who lack that type of encouragement in their own environments, as well as giving her own daughter, who is now following in her footsteps, the benefit of that same nurturing experience. An shares that mentoring children is something she will continue to do throughout her life and that her natural compassion for all people is the driving force behind her success as a mentor.

As an African-American writer who has accomplished a so much in such a small time period, An says that though people are always making you aware that you are a minority, she doesn’t focus on that aspect of herself when she is writing. Her main focus is to touch everyone who chooses to read her work. She admits that “as an African-American, you’re always aware of your race because you are made to be aware” but affirms that her poetry is written for all people because everyone has feelings and this is something we all have in common. As An puts it so clearly, “Words don’t have a color…yes I am a Black woman, but I am a person overall”.

2012 continues to be a busy year for An who is also founder of An Howard Publishing, a writing and editing company. With Whispers of Words Spoken on the shelves at Barnes and Noble in her home town of Las Vegas, a novel in progress, and possible plans to write a children’s book, An discusses future plans of starting her own mentorship program. An laughs, “When this butterfly becomes a rich butterfly, I plan to start my own mentorship program for girls because I have a passion for mentoring girls. In my community there are a lot of girls who need mentoring because they are not getting what they need from home.”

As An continues to enjoy the success of Whispers of Words Spoken, she leaves us with a reminder that “I write in general. I have a section of the book called Poems in General. They are for everyone. I have friends of all races and they all support me and tell me how the poems in the book have touched them”. An continues, “I do have my Afrocentric moments where I want to get into that feeling of expressing what it is to be Black….” And it is this feeling that she shares with Africlectists in her poem Who Am I?

Whispers of Words Spoken by An Howard

Who am I, you ask?
I’m the future, the present and you’re past.
I’m that little black girl
that you said would never make it.
I’m the one who you didn’t want your sons to look at
because you just couldn’t take it.
If he chose a black girl to be with, that is…
with my chocolate skin, my perfect thick lips, and oh yes my
curvy, child bearing hips.
You tried to hold me down in my past, but my present stood
up and said, “Free At Last, Free At Last.”
Now I have the right to vote, and can make more money
than you.
A PHENOMENAL woman I’ve become says a black Professor named Maya Angelou.
I know you sit back in awe
wondering how did this get so out of control
The mother land you took me from, but my future you did not hold.
Who Am I, you ask?
Just look around, I’m everywhere now,
and if you don’t see one of me, I will soon be in your town.
I’m now the 44th president’s wife, I’m a writer, a lawyer,
and even own my own business, despite my strife…
That I’ve endured,
and the pain that your foot caused on my back.
Yes, you guessed it…I AM BLACK!
A black woman that is, no longer your mistress or your
maid, unless I choose,
but this educated, beautiful black
woman you can no longer abuse.
Who Am I, you ask?
I am all that you want your wives to be,
I’m the one they go tan to be dark like,
then have the nerve to critique me.
You get botox in your skin because I age so well
looking like I’m 30, but actually 50, you can’t even tell.
Is that collagen injected in your lips?
Let me guess, soon you’ll want my figure too, and inject that it into your hips.
A black woman you’ve held down for so long,
but want to be so much like.
What is it about me, that you love so much, but say you dislike?
Who Am I, you ask?…
I’m that little black girl
that you didn’t want your daughter to play with,
but now little Chrissy is chasing all the black men,
and white men she just doesn’t deal with.
You see how Hate doesn’t pay,
it always comes back around,
now you have little grandbabies that are light chocolate brown.
When will you realize God put us here in a rainbow of colors.
Now that I am the 1st lady perhaps we can all be sisters and brothers.
Who Am I, you ask?
Why is that even the question…
Just read over my words again because I just gave you your daily lesson.

  • LaVan

    Great read! This truly is inspiring and I commend An for sharing her feelings with us through her work as well as this interview.

  • Tammie (Poetic Designs)

    Wonderful story on An and all she has accomplished. It’s so refreshing to see women bringing dream into fruition. Much Respect to An and Africletic magazine!

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