30 Under 30 12/30: Cam Awkward-Rich
“And I hate it, you know. My body.
Or my father. Often, I cannot understand
that difference. “
-from The City
Poetry is my favorite kind of schoolhouse. Nothing gets me going like opening myself up to a poet’s words and feeling them step inside of me with a lesson planned, letting there knowledge overtake my body. Cam Awkward-Rich is a curriculum my body is often not ready for. I didn’t study for his work. I showed up unprepared and was swept away slowly by the glory. Cam’s work is patient, it sits staring you in the eye and only moves when it wants to, but when it moves? Get out of the way (don’t really, just stand there and let the words become you). Cam’s work takes its time. There are no unnecessary bells and whistles, no gaudy dressing up, the writing comes to you bare, with every image earned, every line sharp with it’s curtness and stunning, razor edged truth about race, family, identity, gender, and any number of topics that Cam is able to weave with his master’s touch. Cam makes you wait while the sea change happens around you, begs you to drown in the work, but not try to fight. I’ve never been so wonderfully breathless. And that’s just on the page. When placed in front of a mic, Cam is just as alive and patient as the poems he cast into the world. There is no thing out of place (there is a theme here) and because of that, Cam gives one of the most genuine, honest readings I’ve ever seen. It is refreshing as it is stunning, gentle as it is clawed. Thank you to all the Gods for Cam Awkward-Rich, to Time for knowing how to slow the world around you when you are encountering his work. Y’all, if you don’t know, get into Cam. You won’t be mad, but you’ll be floored by the steady awe of his work for sure.