Richardson goes international

Published 7:54 pm Saturday, August 14, 2010

Nathan Richardson can be defined as a “local poet” no longer.

Though he was raised in Suffolk, and still lives here, his poetry recently reached beyond the country’s borders for the first time when he performed a wedding-themed poem at a Toronto couple’s nuptials.

“It was such a great experience,” Richardson said last week. “It was an exciting trip for me, and kind of a milestone that my poetry had gotten recognition from outside the United States.”

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The bride and groom, Michelle Chui and Young Cho, saw a video of Richardson’s wedding poem — titled “In the Beginning” — on the video sharing website YouTube, and emailed him to ask him to perform at their wedding. Appropriately, Richardson received the message on the eve of his own wedding on April 24.

“I got the email to do this on the 23rd,” he said. “I was getting married on the 24th.”

Richardson agreed to do it, and in the process visited a new city, made a lifelong friend and witnessed a concert by Christian band Shane & Shane.

He also affirmed a big part of his poetry mission statement — “Breaking down the racial and religious borders of society through unique messages of God’s unconditional love.”

“He’s a youth minister of a church there in Toronto,” Richardson said of the groom. “It’s a very diverse church, and he’s actually Korean marrying a Chinese woman, so they’re bringing two different cultures together.”

Young Cho’s work doesn’t differ much from his own, Richardson added.

“We spent the afternoon just talking about what he tries to do with his work and how it is similar to mine,” Richardson said. “He’s trying to reach out to youth and bring them to Christ through a lot of different types of expression.”

About 400 people attended the July 24 Toronto ceremony at the Markham Theatre, a venue Richardson compared to the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. After the wedding, the couple hosted a reception and then Shane & Shane performed in the same location.

Richardson said he heard from many different people of different cultures at the reception, who told him how much they had enjoyed his work.

“I’m crossing lines and barriers of race and color and religion and those types of things,” Richardson said. “That is the biggest gratification. That’s always my goal anytime that I’m looking for a benchmark — Have I reached across one of those lines and touched somebody? That definitely happened.”

Richardson added that he still is proud to be a lifelong Suffolk resident, but wants to reach outside Suffolk.

“Certainly I’m proud of my city,” he said. “But, I hope to be more than just local.”

For more information on Richardson, visit