Photo Courtesy of Danielle Brada

The fine art of poetry.


The basement is where Danielle Badra writes most of her poems, providing her with a view of a nature trail which allows her to glimpse into nature while she conjures up her next poem. 

Badra received her master’s of fine arts from Mason, which allowed her to grow as a poet. “The experience was worthwhile. I was challenged to break out of the forms I was obsessively writing [about] with my sister’s poetry, which helped me to expand my notion of controversial poetic forms” said Badra.

“My poetry stems from lived experiences such as the loss of my sister and father. So grief is the main topic I write about. I also write about my experiences of childhood sexual assault, coming of age as an Arab-American post 9/11, and explorations of queer identity” said Badra. 

Becoming more than just a writing process for Badra, “my poetry and the poetry writing is very therapeutic. So my means quite literally a whole lot of healing.”

The inspiration from her lived experiences helped Badra in writing her book, “Like We Still Speak” 

“[I] started [my book] with the death of my older sister Rachal. When she died I found a folder of poems she had written but never shared with me. I wanted to publish her poems and I also needed to talk with her so I started to write poems alongside her poems- creating conversation,  a dialogue in poetic form” said Badra.

Badra’s favorite poem in her book is the final poem called “Love Poem” featuring her wife’s writing. 

“This poem is in conversation with my wife, who also graduated from the MFA Poetry program at GMU and is currently the Associate Director of Women and Gender Studies at GMU, Holly Mason Badra. My wife wrote the poem in the left column and I wrote the poem in the right column and there is a third poem that forms between the left and right. I am typically not a fan of ”love” poems and I do not tend to write them. But this one is very special to me because I am able to include my wife’s whole poem, her whole voice, and her writing is so beautiful” said Badra.

From her book, Badra decided to apply for various book contests such as the Etel Adnan Poetry Prize at the University of Arkansas, leading to deserved awards and cash prizes. She was also named one of the best in Entropy’s “Best of 2020-2021: Poetry Books & Poetry Collections.” However, above the several book contests, there was one application that caught her eye.

“There was a hefty application process for the Poet Laureate position where I had to submit a poetry portfolio, a video introduction, proof of residency, and a community service project proposal,” said Badra. Despite the process, Badra was able to demonstrate herself to be more than capable to fulfill the role.

 “I am very thankful to ArtsFairfax for the opportunity to represent Fairfax as Poet Laureate,” said Brada.

As Poet Laureate, Brada will be launching the series “Poetry in the Parks” and will focus on the relationship between nature and poetry. The first event of this series will be featuring local Arab-American poets and will be held in Ellanor C. Lawrence Park on April 15.