Poet and MSU Graduate B.J. Wilson Next Guest in MSU Reading Series
Murray State alum, poet, and musician B.J. Wilson is the next guest in the Murray State University Reading Series. MSU creative writing coordinator Carrie Jerrell speaks to Wilson about his poetry, the creative process, and his upcoming presentation. He also reads excerpts from his books.
The Murray State Reading Series, sponsored by the Department of English and Philosophy and organized by its creative writing faculty, brings visiting authors to the Murray State campus for free, public readings and class visits each academic year.
The Reading Series will host B.J. Wilson on Thursday, September 30th, at 7 pm via Zoom. Wilson's new work has appeared in Atlanta Review, The Louisville Review, New Madrid, Tar River Poetry, and elsewhere.
He is the author of the poetry collections Tuckasee and Naming the Trees. Wilson earned his BA and MA from Murray State University and his MFA from the Bluegrass Writers Studio at Eastern Kentucky University.
Currently, he teaches English and creative writing at Jacksonville State University in Alabama. Wilson is also a songwriter and vocalist. His music can be found on his website.
Wilson originally came to Murray State University as a wildlife biology student. "I remember being in the lab in geology with all of the wildlife students. People are taking notes, and I'm writing a poem about a lily pad," he laughs.
Wilson combines his love of nature and poetry to create a mix of narrative, lyrical, and visual poetry centered around natural themes. His original style leaned toward narrative until last year when he was inspired to explore other genres after writing an elegy for a friend who died of COVID-19.
Processing trauma is one of the reasons why Wilson believes so many people turned to poetry after the start of the pandemic. "Poetry can enable people to experience trauma as it happens," he explains.
"In my work, it has to do more with drugs and alcohol. How it can destroy families. Prose can enable us to survive and endure. Prose is better able for us to make sense of what happened after the trauma is over."