On Oct. 24, St. Mary’s welcomed accomplished poet and singer-songwriter Truth Thomas to the Voices Reading Series. As a holder of multiple awards and most recently recognized by the NAACP with their 2013 Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry, Thomas’ work certainly lived up to its reputation.
Sampling primarily from his latest collection of poetry, Speak Water, Thomas brought a deeply spiritual, emotional, and often quite funny collection of his work to read. Thomas reflected on the traditions of blues and the spoken word through his art. Recounting his struggles with poverty, race, and various other hardships, his poetry carried a unique and very heartfelt quality through the feeling and weight with which he managed to imbue his words. While the titular poem of Speak Water, inspired by an all-too-immediate instance of racism which he experienced in Ellicott City, Maryland, was particularly emblematic of his philosophy of religiously-motivated nonviolence, much of his poetry was a harsh critique of social injustice and a stark reminder of the hardships faced by those in underprivileged positions.
The reading was very well attended, garnering an impressive crowd of students which packed the seating available in DPC – and after a similarly crowded reading hosting Carlos Parada Ayala earlier this semester, it seems that this year has seen a rise in popularity for the Voices series.