Photo courtesy of guest poet Nate Marshall


By Stacey Parker

Lloyd Scholars in Scott Beal’s LSWA Poetry and Justice met with Nate Marshall on March 30, 2021.

In addition to Marshall being a graduate alumnus of UM (MFA class of 2014), LSWA instructor Scott Beal knew he wanted his students to have a chance to meet with Marshall based on past interactions with him. Their paths had crossed multiple times including while Nate was a young poet at the Volume Summer Institute, a poetry camp Beal taught at in Ann Arbor, and then in 2014 they co-taught a series of workshops there.

Lloyd Scholar Andrew Schallwig enjoyed meeting Nate. “I'd have to say my favorite part of meeting Nate was getting to understand poetry beyond the confines of a page or a website. I find that with poetry I often feel a slight disconnect between myself and what is written because I may not have as much personal experience with the themes, or know the author's background or context for writing the piece. Getting to meet and talk to Nate was fascinating because the poetry felt much more alive, and it elevated what was already an amazing and dynamic collection to a whole different level as we explored the deeper nuances of his work.”

Beal shared his intention for this course “to focus on really contemporary poetry (i.e., published since 2019) that is socially and politically engaged, with an emphasis on BIPOC writers.”

He went on to explain how Nate’s work made its way into this course: “Nate’s book Finna was a perfect fit for the course because it's one of the best books of poems published in 2020 and because at its core it is about the power of language itself to shape power and experience, to harm and heal, to bind and liberate.”

After working with the class, Nate said, “Getting to meet with the students was such a joy. They're thoughtful and interesting and asked great questions about poetry." 

You can read more about Nate on his site.