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story.lead_photo.caption Submitted photo FEATURED POET: Benton High School poet, songwriter and ballet dancer Felicity Sills will be this week's featured poet for Wednesday Night Poetry.

Benton High School poet, songwriter and ballet dancer Felicity Sills will be this week's featured poet for Wednesday Night Poetry at Kollective Coffee+Tea, 110 Central Ave.

The regular open mic session for all poets will begin at 6:30 p.m. Sills will perform at 7 p.m., followed by another round of open mic. Admission is free and open to all ages.

Born and raised in Huntsville, Ala., Sills and her family moved to Benton in 2016 because of her father's job. She lives with her parents and grandmother. Her two older sisters have already moved out, so her space is also shared with four dogs, a cat, a fish and a hedgehog. Sills was home-schooled in Alabama, but has been going to Benton schools since ninth grade. She is now a junior at Benton High School, participating in many programs and activities.

With an ear for music and a natural bend toward movement, 16-year-old Sills plays five different instruments and has had a lifelong passion for dance. "I have been dancing (mostly ballet) for 13 out of the 16 years of my life. That's more than 80 percent of the total time I've been alive and on this earth," she said in a news release. Other than ballet, Sills also dances hip-hop, jazz, lyrical, tap, modern, ballroom, and others.

Sills began writing songs and poetry at 6 years old. "I distinctly remember accidentally swallowing a moth when I was in kindergarten and having an emotional crisis because I had no idea what to do. So I wrote a poem about it. I think that was the very first time I expressed myself through poetry. As I've grown older, my poems have been more focused on love, the loss of love, and emotions that can sometimes be hard to put into words," she said.

She draws her inspiration from her feelings, which revolve mostly around pure teenage angst. She writes to interpret the world around her, both natural and spiritual, and she doesn't shy away from sharing either her pain or her joy through her poetry and songwriting, the release said.

Poets that have influenced her work are Rhiannon McGavin, the 18-year-old slam poet and Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles, and Andrea Gibson, internationally famous spoken word artist and the first winner of the Women of the World Poetry Slam. Sills takes their examples of bravery and vulnerability and infuses it into her own moving and tender work. She will perform poetry and original songs during her feature set.

This week marks 1,572 consecutive Wednesdays of poetry readings in downtown Hot Springs since Feb. 1, 1989. Email Kai Coggin at wednesdaynightpoetry@gmail.com for more information.

Entertainment on 03/12/2019

Print Headline: Benton High School poet, songwriter featured at Wednesday Night Poetry

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