AlterEgos Gallery & Studio
Anywhere But Here
Anywhere...But Here is a poetry chapbook that dwells deep into the personal story of many who grow up feeling helpless, lonely, afraid, and look to be anywhere but a place that doesn't want them.
LeJuane “El’Ja” Bowens is an award-winning spoken word poet and author. Born in Detroit, El’Ja joined the United States Army in 2000. During his six years of service, including two deployments to Iraq, El’Ja began to commit his thoughts to paper. In 2005, at the urging of a friend, El’Ja posted several poems online. The positive feedback opened his eyes: poetry was his calling. In 2014, El’Ja became the first poet to win three Grand Slam Finals in three cities across North Carolina. With the Bull City Slam Team, Bowens won the 22nd Southern Fried Poetry Slam and was nominated for Spoken Word Artist of the Year at the 5th Annual National Poetry Awards in 2015. A featured poet at All Def Poetry, a YouTube channel presented by hip-hop legend Russell Simmons of Def Jam Records fame, he has published two books of poetry, So Many Things to Say (2007) and Anywhere … But Here (2017). For El’Ja, spoken word is a process of understanding. “It is a mechanism for coping with the world,” he explains. “Poetry is more of a conversation. Telling you what I have gone through but sometimes what other people have gone through.”