Local poet a finalist in national competiton

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 25, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

&uot;Hollow interior as the openness of one’s mind. Thou intellect in search of what sensual emotions desire. Feelings of a pit plunge by one’s touch. Touch by one’s words that relieve the tension of being alone.&uot;

Not many of us could walk away from a life we truly loved. Domenick Epps did, and he has never regretted his decision.


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After graduating from Lakeland in 2001, Epps started his own hip-hop record label, Double &uot;I&uot; Entertainment. He was promoting clubs, partying with his pals, and entertaining crowds and making videos with his rap music.

&uot;But I don’t want to talk about that,&uot; he says quickly. That’s because he’s got a new direction in life – and it’s one that seems to be going far.

Back in middle school, Epps first started writing poetry, mostly love stories for his female classmates. &uot;I’d take stuff from the news, and write about everyday life,&uot; he says. &uot;If there was a crisis in my neighborhood, I’d write about it. My poems are like my life story.&uot;

After finishing his high school career, Epps spent a year in the Navy. &uot;I didn’t like it, because it was holding me back from my music,&uot; he said. &uot;I didn’t want to be on the water for so long.&uot;

He came home, and continued his long tradition of attending the Antioch UCC church near his home. &uot;I didn’t really want to listen,&uot; he admits. &uot;I’d party all week, and then feel like I could make up for it by going to the service.&uot; Then he listened, and heard something that would change his life.

&uot;I heard the preacher on the topic, ‘Who are you behind closed doors?’&uot; he recalls. &uot;It made me feel like I had been living a double life, with the clubs and parties.

That’s when Epps got the Call. He sold his part of the label, stopped with the parties, and went back to his roots. &uot;It was hard,&uot; he admits. &uot;It was tough to give it up while things were going good. But right now, my main focus is working with the youth around the neighborhood, and bringing more into the church.&uot;

That is, when he’s not writing poetry. &uot;I always get people to test me,&uot; he says. &uot;I tell them to just give me a topic, and I’ll write a poem about it in five minutes.&uot; Not long ago, a friend suggested that he write something about breaking up, and Epps put down &uot;Emptiness.&uot;

&uot;Emptiness derives from wanting to be pleased by not having the relative companion thou heart has long searched. So now I stand in the midst of thou past wanting a special present to fulfill my need that stands the hair on my skin straightaway and that’s falling out of a disorder of emptiness and into an ocean of passion.&uot;

Emptiness, by Domenick Epps

Epps decided to enter his work in the Famous Poets Society 10th Anniversary contest. A few weeks later to his surprise, he was notified that he was a finalist for their Convention Poetry Contest, and would be traveling to Reno, Nev. in early September for the convention, at which time he’ll be presented with the society’s Shakespeare Trophy of Excellence.

Epps now has a shot at the grand $50,000 prize. While the trip to Nevada will come at a great expense, Epps considers this journey well worth it.

&uot;Poetry was always a hobby for me,&uot; he says. &uot;It was something that I did in my spare time. But I always said one day that I’d like to write a book of poetry.&uot;

For more information, please call 934-0558 or 934-7571.