Tyrone Williams, a black poet from Detroit, came to TU’s campus for a reading. Williams is a professor at Xavier University and has published five books of poetry, including “On Spec” (2008), “The Hero Project” (2009) and “Adventures of Pi” (2011).
Much of Williams’ poetry is influenced by his upbringing in Detroit, especially the poverty and racism against African Americans in the city and the US in general.
The faculty lounge in McFarlin Library felt very homey with its large fireplace and soft comfy chairs. The place is filled with books and art, the perfect spot for a poetry reading.
Williams mostly read from his book “On Spec.” Most of this book is about racism and how it is still prevalent in our society within our institutions and politics. He even goes so far as to name Ohio politicians by name.
Williams’ poetry is complex, not easily understandable. Concrete meaning does not come quickly, but his use of language expertly conveys the feeling of his poetry. One can feel the love for his cities, Detroit and Cincinnati.
One can feel his frustration, sometimes even anger with the fact that racism is still such a big part of our country. One doesn’t need a bunch of background knowledge to feel the power and passion in his poetry. He is a master of language.
Williams stated in an interview that his working class upbringing in Detroit has been a large influence on his poetry. His advice for young poets is to “read everything,” and as a professor he tells his students to “follow your own instincts.”
Williams, in my opinion, is not only a master craftsman but also someone who is working to really improve the community of poetry.
He cares about his own poetry, which is extremely powerful, and how his poetry is affecting the larger poetic community as well as how poetry can be used to improve our society.