Local poet has upcoming gigs

Published 10:28 pm Saturday, February 7, 2009

Author, poet and Suffolk native Nathan Richardson has two upcoming events in the next two weeks– one at the Paul D. Camp Community College and another at the Suffolk Museum.

Thursday, Feb. 12, from 6 to 9 p.m., Richardson will be hosting the 2nd Annual “All I Can Say” Open Mic at the Suffolk Museum.

“This event is a great way to help young people find their own voices through poetry and song,” Richardson said. He encouraged teens and adults to come and express themselves not only for Black History Month, but for other reasons as well.

Email newsletter signup

Richardson said he was encouraged at an early age to begin his writing and tries to pay that forward.

“I’ve been writing poetry my whole life and try to use it to inspire youth to find their passion in life,” he said.

Richardson recalled working at the Chrysler Museum with a youth outreach program for middle school-age children, where the students had an assignment to write poetry. A young man, who was unprepared at the beginning of the workshop, ended up writing a moving poem on his forearms and stood up and read it in front of the others.

“It was such a profound moment,” Nathan remembers. “It was more than what he was saying; it was the artistic metaphor that he used. That’s the kind of stuff that gets me excited.”

One of best ways he continues to encourage young people to write is through the Young Audiences of Virginia.

This statewide non-profit organization serves as the largest arts-in-education organization in Virginia. Over 130 professional artists use the arts as a tool to teach core curriculum subjects, while teaching and performing in schools, museums, community centers, parks and libraries.

The “All I Can Say” Open Mic is a free event, open to teens and adults. For more information, contact the Suffolk Museum at 514-7284.

Then, on Monday, Feb.16, Richardson will conduct two poetry readings for the college in honor of Black History Month.

Richardson will be in the library on the Franklin Campus Monday, Feb. 16 at 7 p.m., and in the Student Center on the Hobbs Suffolk Campus Tuesday, Feb. 17 at 3 p.m.

Richardson has authored two collections of poetry, “The Likeness of Being” and “You are the Subject.”

His work earned him the 2006 Literary Award from the Southeastern Virginia Arts Association (SEVAA) during the 23rd Annual Hampton Roads AFR’AM Festival.

Additionally, Richardson has received nominations for the Alli Award from the Cultural Alliance of Greater Hampton Roads, and the 2005 Book of the Year from the National Underground Spoken Word/Poetry Awards.

Both events are open to the public. For more information, contact Student Activities Coordinator Kira Christenhusz, 925-6337, or English Instructor Nancy Warren, 569-6748.