On Sunday, Nov. 20, noted poets Quintin Collins and Concord resident Brian Burt will read from their recent work and discuss their journey as poets.
The program runs from 3 – 4:30 p.m. in the Goodwin Forum at the Concord Public Library. It is sponsored by the Friends of the Concord Library and curated by Elizabeth Glenn Mitchell.
Pre-registration is required. Go to concordlibrary.org and click on the Fall 2022 Poetry link.
Both men started writing poems in school.
“Hip hop and slam poetry inspired me to pursue poetry seriously in high school,” said Collins. “When I looked at colleges and universities for undergrad, I specifically chose institutions that had a creative writing major which was rare back then.”
Burt started earlier.
“I began writing poems in middle school under the influence of my eighth-grade English teacher,” Burt said.
Later on, Burt said a college professor helped shape his career.
“He showed how we can be astonished not just by what a poem is saying but also by how it says what it says, the shape of it, the musicality of the language, and how, in all great poems, all the pieces of it add up to more than the sum of its parts,” said Burt.
Recurring themes in Collins’ work are Blackness, childhood nostalgia, parenthood and criticisms of systemic racism in America,’ he said.
“Ultimately, I let the poems tell me what they need to be, and I imagine they’ll want to say some of the same things and some new things as time goes on. A poem’s true story often reveals itself in revision,” said Collins.
He finds inspiration from the works of Hanif Abdurraqib, Clint Smith and Erika L. Sanchez, among others.
Burt says he starts a new poem “starting with an observation from the physical or outside world; a black dog running across a green field, a hawk’s eyes scanning the ground for movement, a crazy headline in a newspaper, anything other than an abstract theme or idea,” he said.
“Most poems I write emerge from a stew of observations plus past experience, present feeling, love of the music of language and what I’ve been reading lately,” said Burt.
Burt turns to distinguished names in poetry for inspiration.
“Of the poets whose work I find consistently to be both astonishing and inspiring, the ones that I keep coming back to are William Carlos Williams, W.S. Merwin, Elizabeth Bishop, Rainer Maria Rilke, Pablo Neruda and many more.
Both writers will have books to sign after their readings and discussion.