Acclaimed Poet L. Lamar Wilson paid a visit to the Plains with a modern message of love, inclusivity and moving forward, all of which were artistically crafted into stanzas and spoken from the heart.
Wilson took the podium Thursday as a part of The Julie Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art’s “Third Thursday Poetry Series." As the author of “Sacrilegion," co-author of “Prime: Poetry and Conversation," recipient of fellowships from UNC Chapel Hill and a professor for creative writing at the University of Alabama, Wilson is well versed in his field.
Pulling from his own experiences, empathy for others and lessons he’s learned from wise mentors in his past, Wilson covers a wide array of social topics that can be found through unpacking words and images in his poems.
With a doctorate in African American and multi-ethnic poetics, Wilson works to be a voice for others and encourages a further understanding of one another. Along with pulling from his own life experiences, he combines his interests in literature, journalism and history to relay a new understanding of modern day topics to the reader.
“I write often from a space of something that I have lived, but I am also a historian and a journalist and I’m interested in the lives of others, particularly people whose stories don’t get told," Wilson said.
Serving as a champion in their absence, Wilson spreads stories of people with different life experiences to shed a light on our differences and spark a conversation on developing a greater understanding of one another.
A true storyteller and visionary, Wilson places heart to paper to create poetry that not only makes you think but makes you feel. With the audience’s attention in the palm of his hand, Wilson left attendees at the reading with a meaningful message about human connection and how we can move forward to form new understandings of other’s struggles for future success.
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Taking inspiration from elder family members, some who have passed, Wilson is honoring their wisdom by bringing it into his own mindset to help present-day injustices.
“I am trying to capture that wisdom that they gave me and also capture the wisdom that they have to give to this country because they have lived through the worst," Wilson said.
He utilizes his writing as a way to encourage further research and interest of the reader into the past. Wilson said about his ancestors “I think they have much to teach us if we would listen to the stories that they gave me and that they’ve given others to tell”.
His work also takes a stand against watching and elevates the idea of doing. Encouraging involvement through personal communication and not computers, Wilson highlights the pitfalls of social media.
He illustrates how it takes us away from truly understanding the person behind the profile and how although it may help spread awareness of issues, it doesn’t always enact change.
“We are clicking on the video, we’re sharing it and we’re thinking that we’re doing something, when in actuality we’re just pushing on the trauma and we’re not really getting change," Wilson said.
He encouraged others to gain a thirst for knowledge and to have confidence in their own voice.
When asked what advice he would give students, Wilson said: “Read, read."
He promotes the importance in educating oneself about the surrounding world and the ways of other writers.
“I contain many, many writers inside of me and I pull from them at various times in my life," Wilson said. “You cant just live in a vacuum that is your own head. You need to be reading other things”.
Similarly to the line in Auburn’s Creed, which reads, “I believe in the human touch, which cultivates sympathy with my fellow men and mutual helpfulness and brings happiness for all,” Wilson believes personal connection can create a positive impact and progress stems from it.
“Right now I’m really inspired by trying to find the joy in the world," Wilson said.
Relational and reactive through his voice as a writer, Wilson sets an example for paving the way through kindness, love for others and open communication.
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