Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Observer's L. Lamar Wilson moonlights as up-and-coming poet

I finally met L. Lamar Wilson, a copy editor at the Charlotte Observer, after he caught an error in one of my recent stories. Sharp eye, this guy has.

And what a voice, too. When he's not writing headlines and fixing news stories, Wilson writes poetry. His work has appeared in Los Angeles Review, African American Review, Callaloo. And his debut collection, "Sacrilegion," is being called stunning, deeply felt, richly textured.

The book, from Durham's Carolina Wren Press, recently won a bronze award in the 2013 Independent Publisher Book Awards. Last month,  Rigoberto Gonzalez praised it in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

 Wilson weaves his identity as a gay black man through many  poems, exploring gay marriage, gays in the military, lynching, bullying and more. In "Ars Poetica: Nov. 7, 2008," he responds to President Obama's description of his own identity as a "mutt":

I am the what-are-you.
I am the brown, the red, the white, the sometimes blue.
I got some Indian in my blood.
I got some cracker, too.
Where I'm from, a cracker is a badge
men wear like nigga in some 'hoods.
I am neither & both simultaneously.

Wilson will give a reading 7 p.m. July 10 at Park Road Books. He'll be joined by Lee Ann Brown, whose latest collection is "In the Laurels, Caught." Brown, who was raised in Charlotte, is an English professor at St. John's University in New York.


L. Lamar Wilson said...

Thanks so much, Pam!