Saturday May 11 more than sixty attendees voted to select poet Kevin Wiggins the winner of the 2019 DC Poet Project in an event at the Anacostia Branch DC Public Library. Through his win the poet was offered a book contract and Day Eight will be publishing a book of his poetry later this summer.
Poet Project director Robert Bettmann caught up with Kevin to learn more about the 2019 competition winner.
RB: Congratulations on your win! How did you find out about the competition?
Kevin Wiggins: I found out about the competition through another poet Chris Thomas who was actually hosting the event honoring Essex Hemphill so I decided to come out and participate.
RB: When did you start writing?
Kevin Wiggins: I wanted to be a singer as a child so I started writing songs and poems — maybe around the age of six. I spent a lot of time at home alone so I’d be in my own world, writing or singing.
RB: You have a day job working for FedEX, right? Are there are any connections between that work and your poetry?
Kevin Wiggins: Yes I do work for FedEx. Of all of the jobs I’ve had it’s my favorite. I don’t really see any relationship between my work as a courier and what I do as a Poet… I guess one can conclude that a poet and a courier are both trusted to carry important information and deliver it to the intended recipient or audience, but that’d be the only correlation I’d make between the two.
RB: You wrote somewhere that you are “unapologetic for the Black LGBTQ community, with intensity, rage, compassion and love.” Can you tell me little more about that?
Kevin Wiggins: History has taught us that blackness was unappreciated and unacceptable. The same with homosexuality. So when I say I’m unapologetic for being black and gay I mean that I wear those stripes with pride and will defend them fiercely in hope that people can see through my art, or just in my person, that black and queer is beautiful.