He first found his voice at an open mic night. It was one of many that he’d attended, but he’d never approached the microphone, never rattled off the piece of his heart into words for others to hear.
It was Carla Christopher, renowned York poet, who first pushed Javier Cotal to break his silence.
He’s written a poem every day since he was a teenager. But they were always written for himself. They were private. He had no intention of sharing them. The books filled with poems show the hidden parts of his heart – about his family, his upbringing, the abuse he experienced, the love he’s felt.
Sharing those words helped Javier but they also helped people he’d never met before. Strangers approach him – many having never met but struck by his words at an event.
“I believe that if it helps other people find their voice, then it’s always worth it,” Javier says. “I am many things. And a poet is just one.”