|About Daniel R. Queen
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When asked about his writing career, Mr. Queen gestures that he’s been writing “since I was this high.” He recalls times as a youth going from door-to-door in his neighborhood in Laurel in Prince George’s County, Maryland, reading and selling his poetry to anyone who had the time and pocket change to offer. “Miz Frances’ boy”, as he was oft times called, Mr. Queen recounts a fond memory from that time. One of his neighbors, who never failed to have the time for young Danny, asked for a piece he was offering that week, but which she would not be able to pay for until mid-week. When he returned to receive the money, he stepped into her house, and was awestruck by the sight: she had hung each piece of work he ever sold to her! An entire wall covered in his poetry. The experience left a deep impact on Mr. Queen, who subsequently came to fully appreciate the effect poetry has on the soul of people.
This was the beginning of the road to becoming the Master Spoken-word Poet that is Danny Queen. He is not only a prolific writer, but is a businessman, too – a rare combination. His creative side never sleeps; and his business side has evolved to never sleep on the job. He markets himself and his work continually, never missing an opportunity to share a poetic thought or vision, or offer a piece of his literature for sale. He has been the chief distributor of his work, which has been carried in major book chains like Waldenbooks, B. Dalton, and Barnes & Noble. His broadsides – laminated individual pieces of poetry excellent for use as a greeting and for collecting – number close to a thousand, and you can find them in scores of places. You may have noticed them in your local 7-11 convenience store or in any one of several types of convenience stores in the metropolitan region. They can be found in businesses in Charles County, at Brown’s Market in Forestville in Prince George’s County; at many gas and service stations with food marts throughout the area; in various bookstores, gift shops, music and record stores; in “mom & pop” stores; in the Sweet & Spicy Jamaican eatery – in wherever a merchant is willing to allot him a couple inches of space for his rack. You can’t get away from a Danny Queen moment, not even if you travel out of state!
His weekly cable program, Color Me Poetry, after which his new book is named, was produced and hosted by Mr. Queen during its entire twelve-plus-years run – an almost unprecedented occurrence in and of itself. The show was broadcast to an audience of 300,000 each week. Says, Mr. Queen, “I was blessed to have the support of many outstanding people – J. California Cooper, Eloise Greenfield, Nathan McCall, Omar Tyree, and Larry Poncho Brown, just to name a few. I could go on and on, because after so many years you’re going to expect to have entertained and been entertained by countless numbers of people – all of whom have brought or who continue to bring a special gift to the community.” Off screen support, too, has provided inspiration and lasting friendships, many of whom are named in the opening pages of his new book.
Looking at the book, fans will see a little bit of difference in the presentation. “I’ve categorized the pieces topically,” says Mr. Queen about this volume. “Like that, the work flows and connects at the same time.” Partitioning the work also helps to set a mood or flavor, he adds. Topics in Color Me Poetry include “Family,” “Love,” “Inspiration,” “Motivation,” and a special section titled “Music & Tributes,” where one can find Mr. Queen’s homage to familiar well-knowns (both living and those who have passed on). An interesting mix of personages are so honored and include American Idol Ruben Stoddard, Princess Diana, Mother Teresa, rappers Tupac and Notorious B.I.G., and, most recently, the late Luther Van Dross (“The Maestro of Soul”). In the section, “Food for Thought,” Mr. Queen ‘tells it like it is’ regarding social mores, life choices, and stinging issues that face today’s cultures – poetry one fan characterizes as both “earthy and down to earth.”
Mr. Queen is not afraid to branch out with his work, to stretch his talent. Mr. Queen has recorded his poetry on CD, and released earlier this year a second CD titled Moonlight and Sunshine, which features dynamic artists Charmaine Brown and Barbara Washington Smalling. Jazz and mood-altering music that laces all together is produced and performed by Brother Ah (Robert Northern).
A recipient of numerous awards, recognitions, accolades from universities and literary professionals – Mr. Queen confesses he has stacks of such things – has not changed who he is and how he expresses himself. He still retains that vision of that Danny seeing his work memorialized on his neighbor’s wall, and respects the responsibility that goes along with the passion to write. Mr. Queen has encapsulated that vision in the mission statement of his production company, Queen’s Palace Inc., to “communicate, demonstrate and advance the beauty of poetry to the world.” Mr. Queen has recognized that poetry is truly the “universal language” identifiable in its syncopation and movement, in its lyrical highs and its emotional roller coasters common to any culture. In his piece, “Color Me Poetry, Part 2”, his closing piece in the new volume, Mr. Queen’s sense of self and of what he is and does is revealed – in case the reader was still in doubt.
I am the language of love
In the key of life
I am a way with words
In times of sorrow and strife
For I am poetry!
Color me the native son
That can’t be set apart
From the poetry of the soul
That’s straight from the heart
Color me Poetry!
And, to underscore that this art form is a commonality shared by all, Mr. Queen’s thoughts are summed thusly,
Let us lift every voice and sing of
Black and unknown bards of long ago
Color me a song in spite of myself
That all the world might know
Color me poetry
For I am poetry!
An apt closing, indeed. If we are all poetry, then Mr. Queen must be the “Master Spoken-word Poet”, the modern-day Bard whose voice carries beyond the written page and who, one day soon, certainly, all the world will know.
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