National Poetry Month Celebration 2015
Bio: Eric Atkinson is currently a PhD. student at University of California, Riverside, studying African American Literature with an emphasis in comics, highlighting representations of the African American body. A former McNair Scholar and the 2008 winner of the S. Randolph Edmonds Young Scholar Competition, Mr. Atkinson has published “The Griot: The Rhetorical Impetus of African American Fiction” in the online journal of Gnovis, "Migraine" a short story in CSUSB's Pacific Review, the poem “to get there” Claremont Graduate’s Foothill Journal, vol. 2 issue 1, “Post Script for Gabriel Posser” in Verse/Chorus: A Call and Response Anthology, and short story “And the Rocket’s Red Glare” and the poem "Jane Russell's Pose: Or What You Will" in The Chaffey Review: A Creative Collective XI: The informed (un)American. Mr. Atkinson, a member of Sigma Tau Delta, Phi Theta Kappa, and the Golden Key Society, and is currently working on his dissertation on the discrepancy between social narratives and the lived social realities through a focus on representations of the African American body in graphic novels.
1. Where do you draw your inspiration from to write poetry?
I think where is a misnomer in that location has little or nothing to do with poetic articulation as the simplest and easiest answer, for me, is how the play of language that poetry demands allows me to see (see in the sense of knowing, understanding) me through that play. To me poetry is the confluence of the senses articulated in a way that it traditionally missed or dismissed. Poetry relies on the emphasis of the metaphor, the reliance of language's inherent paradox of being something and simply representing it.
2. What advice do you have for someone that is threatened by poetry?
I don't think I could as anyone who is threatened is automatically defensive. Besides, if they are defensive it means they've already decided and concluded: ideas can be argued with determinations and definites are fixed and cannot be moved. Why would I advise? But I would try to understand their position, their rationale, and their approach. My thinking is if I can understand this person better, their thinking better, I can become a better human
3. What is an interesting fact about you?
I've donated nearly 10 gallons of blood, I'm dyslexic, and I once stopped a robbery at a Wal-Mart.
4. Where are you from/Where do you live?
I am from a little town in the Mojave Desert, Victorville. I now reside in the same city where I am receiving my PhD, Riverside, CA.
5. Who is your favorite poet?
I don't really have a favorite poet as I am always attracted to the poetry in the mundane, the quotidian. For instance in Dr. Fred Moten's academic prose, there is a sense of poetry, a sense of a reliance of metaphor instead of linguistic precision: to me his work is an articulation of the phenomenal as it communions with wonder, with meaning. And it is through these metaphors that I can know what he's talking about through the inclusion of something from me. Does that make sense?
A poem by Eric Atkinson
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