Darius Simpson is a New Afrikan writer, educator, performer, and skilled living room dancer from Akron, Ohio. He received his MFA in poetry from Mills College. He is the author of Never Catch Me and aims to inspire those chills that make you frown and slightly twist up your face in approval.
I started writing poems in elementary school as handwritten notes to playground crushes and as gifts to loved ones in my family. Then and now, poetry is a form that allows for expression, confrontation, and excavation of what I may not be able to dig up otherwise. Amiri Baraka said “poems are bullshit unless they are teeth,” and in my most recent book, Never Catch Me, I’ve worked to write with more bite, more teeth, about the conditions of Black people in the U.S. My next collection will continue to seek out a place somewhere near the tradition of artists like Sonia Sanchez, Amilcar Cabral, Assata Shakur, and Kuwasi Balagoon. Capitalism means that there is a small group of individuals who own the land, water, houses, healthcare, and other entities that should be provided to all people as human rights. My goal is to have my poems be useful to the people who suffer under the most violent conditions that this exploitative system facilitates globally. I am extremely grateful to the National Endowment for the Arts for this gift that will allow me to continue organizing programs for decolonization with People’s Programs, while offsetting the price I must pay in order to barely survive. Free the people. Free the land.