It Takes a Village: Debbie Allen, poetic truth teller

Poet Debbie Allen performs during the Watershed Voice Artist Showcase on Saturday, August 28 at The Huss Project in Three Rivers. (Deborah Haak-Frost|Watershed Voice)

Debbie Allen doesn’t run from the truth, she seeks it out, and explores it for deeper meaning. We’re kindred spirits in that way, and it’s part of the reason I asked her to join Watershed Voice‘s board of directors. The other reasons will soon become apparent when you read her answers to our questions below but let me wax poetic for a moment about my friend and colleague Debbie Allen.

We first met in-person at the Watershed Voice Artist Showcase back in August, where she opened the concert with a handful of powerful pieces from her impressive body of work. She has published three books of poetry, she’s a veteran, a mother and grandmother, and the best moderator Three Rivers Area Information has ever seen. To know her is to love her, and if you don’t know her, reach out and you will, almost immediately.

Debbie supports Watershed Voice with her art, her time, and her wallet, and we would like to ask you to do the same by making a donation today.

Name: Debbie Marie Allen

Occupation: Currently I am self employed as a writer/author. However, I have dabbled in so many things. I was a Chemical Operations Specialist in the U.S. Army Reserves. I have a degree in Criminal Justice with underlying studies in Human Services. I’m a licensed pharmacy technician certified in vaccine administration. I’ve also done my lofty stints in managerial positions within retail corporations (some of the best and worst working experiences of my life.) 

Yes, I know it seems like I’m all over the place but I’ve also been a licensed Pisces since birth, and if you know a Pisces you know I have no real excuse…lol.

Your connection to the City of Three Rivers and/or St. Joseph County (Including how long you’ve lived or previously lived here): I have been a member of the Three Rivers community since 2015. Currently, I have 2 children and 3 grandchildren that moved here as well, and another child that will be moving here with my 4thgrandchild. I feel those grandmom bones every day. 

My connection to the community has different layers. I’m definitely not the type to give the typical answers. So, in answering my own way, I’m kind of that loner that has somehow gathered all these acquaintances and friends just because I’m always that listening ear, and my personality is failsafe. I’m the person having full blown conversations with the elderly at bus stops because I feel their stories contribute to my personal character and perceptions. I feel like that is one of the best connections to have. The ability to open your space and take others in. Which assists me greatly when participating in an online community. 

Currently, I moderate for the Three Rivers, Michigan Area Information group where the goal is not only to keep the community informed but to strengthen the community as a whole while supporting each other. It’s both challenging and rewarding. I get to engage the community on a different platform, which provides a totally different viewpoint. There are definitely eye-opening moments that allow for learning and growth. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I am originally from Philadelphia, PA. I am an author/poet. I share so much of myself in my poetry that it can probably tell you more about myself then I can. In all actuality it heals me. It gets real in this abyss we call life. So having my words is vital. Currently, I have written three poetry books (A Poet Never Dies, The Spiral of a Pisces: In Manic Flow and Classified Unrest: The Flow Away Files), and I remain a supporter of the artistic community. 

When I’m not writing I’m listening to music and reading. I LOVE the oldies and Donna Summer is one my favs…disco forever!!! Some of my favorite authors are Toni Morrison, John Grisham, David Baldacci and Stephen King.

Why is this project important to you: This project is important to me because I believe the biggest voice is that of the people. The only way we will ever be heard is on a platform independent from politics, religion, and any faction that controls the delivery of truths. We need to be able to say the things that need to be said without worry of what contributor we may offend. In Watershed Voice we have that. News that feeds the community’s stories unfiltered.