L. Lamar Wilson, a multi-genre writer and filmmaker invested in documentary poetics, is the author of Sacrilegion—the 2012 selection for the Carolina Wren Press Poetry Series, a 2013 Independent Publishers Group bronze medalist, and a 2013 Thom Gunn Award finalist—and co-author of Prime: Poetry and Conversation (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2014), with Phillip B. Williams, Rickey Laurentiis, Saeed Jones, and Darrel Alejandro Holnes. The Gospel Truth, a musical adaptation of Sacrilegion, was performed in Miami and Tallahassee, Fla., in 2014 and 2017, the latter time with a troupe that honors artists with cognitive and physical differences. The Changing Same, a collaboration with Rada Film Group that airs in PBS’s POV Shorts series this year, was a special jury prize winner at the 2018 New Orleans Film Festival and named best documentary at the Sisters of the Diaspora Reel Film Festival, an honor for Rada's Michèle Stephenson. Vinyl nominated the poem at the film's center, “Resurrection Sunday,” for a Pushcart Prize.
Other poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in The New York Times, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, African American Review, Black Gay Genius (2014), Bodies Built for Game: The Prairie Schooner Anthology of Contemporary Sports Writing (University of Nebraska Press, 2019), Callaloo, Crazyhorse, Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry (Northwestern University, 2019), jubilat, A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia (UGA Press, 2019), The 100 Best African American Poems (2010), Oxford American, Race and Utopian Desire in American Literature and Society (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), The Root/The Washington Post, and elsewhere.
Wilson, a Florida A&M alumnus, has received fellowships from, among others, the Cave Canem, Ragdale, and Hurston-Wright foundations. He holds an MFA from Virginia Tech and a doctorate in African American and multiethnic American poetics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Wilson’s recent work centers the voices and experiences of black and brown folk thriving in the rural South despite relentless, centuries-long homegrown terrorism. After nearly 18 years of award-winning editing in several of the nation’s top newsrooms, including the Times and the Post, Wilson teaches on the creative writing faculty at Wake Forest University and in the low-residency MFA program at Mississippi University for Women.
The Best American Poetry Blog, with Abdul Ali (December 2016)
2019 Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Best Documentary Award, The Changing Same
2018 Special Jury Prize, New Orleans Film Festival, The Changing Same
2015 American Library Association’s “Over the Rainbow” Commendation, Prime: Poetry and Conversation
2013 Independent Publishers Award – Bronze, Sacrilegion
2012 Pushcart Prize nominee, Vinyl, “Resurrection Sunday”
2011 Beau Boudreaux Poetry Prize, Cream City Review
2010, 2008 New Letters Poetry Prize Finalist
2009 International Reginald Shepherd Memorial Poetry Prize Finalist, Knockout
2008 Emily Morrison Poetry Prize, Virginia Tech
Readings, Conference Presentations, and Lectures
Oct. 15, 2019: “Poetry Reading & Film Screening: Wake Forest University.” ZSR Library Auditorium (404).
Oct. 8, 2019: “More Than a Metaphor: The Ethics of Writing Through a Legacy of Racialized Violence.” Frank Islam Anthenaeum Symposia Fall 2019 Series. Montgomery College. Germantown, Md.
July 25, 2019: “Lost Johnson, McKay Novels Extend the Arc of Satire in the New Negro Renaissance.” MLA International Symposium: “Remembering Lost Voices.” Universidade Católica Portuguesa-Lisbon.
July 24, 2019: “Quaring Myths: The Poetics of Sun Ra and Gil Scott-Heron and the Black Maternal.” MLA International Symposium: “Remembering Lost Voices.” Universidade Católica Portuguesa-Lisbon.
June 21, 2019: “Poetry Reading: Cincinnati Black Pride.” Contemporary Art Center.
June 6, 2019: “Poetry Invocation: ‘Better: Skylight, Skylark.’ ” Mellon Foundation Board of Trustees Meeting: “Enduring Injustice, Legacies of Resistance.” Alley Station—The Warehouse. Montgomery, Ala.
Nov. 2, 2018: “Cave Canem @ Hugo House.” With Quenton Baker, Amanda Johnston, Dante Micheaux, and Anastacia Renee. Hugo House. Seattle.
Nov. 1, 2018: “Ballast: An Intimate Reading.” With Quenton Baker, Amanda Johnston, and Dante Micheaux. Frye Art Museum. Seattle.
Oct. 25, 2018: “Poetry Reading: Double Lives, Double Trouble.” Old Dominion University Literary Festival.
Sept. 30, 2018: “Reading Queer: Poetry in the Time of Chaos Reading.” Los Angeles Literary Festival. With Ching-In Chen, Cathleen Chambliss, and Caridad Moro-McCormick.
Feb. 15, 2018: “Third Thursdays @ Auburn University.” Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art. Auburn, Ala.
Nov. 2, 2017: “Pure Products Reading Series.” Monarch Expresso Bar. Tuscaloosa, Ala.
June 2, 2017: “The Gospel Truth Interview.” WFSU Public Radio. Interview with Tom Flanagan.
April 7, 2017: “Reading.” Hendrix College. Bertie Wilson Murphy Building. Conway, Ark.
March 6, 2017: “Reading.” University of West Alabama. Livingston, Ala. With John Estes.
Feb. 16, 2017: “L. Lamar Wilson @ Nitty Gritty Magic City.” Desert Island Supply Company. Birmingham.
Jan. 19, 2017: “Speak Out for Equity.” The Peace Center. Greenville, S.C. With Mendy Knott.
Dec. 17, 2016: “A Conversation with L. Lamar Wilson.” Best American Poetry Blog. With Abdul Ali.
Nov. 7, 2016: “L. Lamar Wilson @ ASU.” Albany State University 10th Annual Poetry Festival. With Kwame Dawes, Douglas Kearney, and Kalamu y Salaam.
Oct. 15, 2016: “Writing (Fiction) Across the Carolinas: A Discussion with Writers.” Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. Francis Auditorium.
Sept. 14, 2016: “Bankhead Faculty Reading: John Estes and L. Lamar Wilson.” The University of Alabama. Sella-Granata Art Gallery.
April 2, 2016: “Play Ball!: An All-Star Reception With Prairie Schooner Editors & Contributors.” Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference: Los Angeles JW Marriott.
Nov. 19, 2015: “Will Read for Food!” Fundraiser for Interactive Resource Center. Featured Reader w/UNC-Greensboro MFA Faculty.
Oct. 16, 2015: West End Poetry Festival. Featured Reader. Carrboro, N.C.
May 1-2, 2015: Northeast Modern Language Association Conference
“Remixing Ethnicity, Place, and Creative Writing.” “Love and Loss in Modernist Poetry.” “Excavating the Voice: Literature of Nineteenth-century African-American Women: Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson. ” With Christina Milletti, Ellen McWhorter, Judah-Micah Lamar, et al. Northeast Modern Language Association Conference. Toronto, Ontario. 1-2 May 2015.
April 9, 2015: Association of Writers and Writing Programs, Minneapolis, Minn.: "The Big No: Taboo and Black Sexuality in Contemporary American Poetry." With Kyle Dargan, Kima Jones, Chet'la Sebree, and Kevin Simmonds.
March 28, 2015: “Wake Up to Poetry” Reading. Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N.C.
March 15, 2015: Sunday Kind of Love, Busboys and Poets, Washington, D.C.