I am N.I. Nicholson, a 38 year-old poet and storyteller who believes that my job is to engage, to communicate, to offer different ways of seeing and feeling, and to document my journey to find my way back home. I started this blog in 2008 to have a vehicle to send my work out into the Universe so that it may be found, read, enjoyed, pondered upon, and shared. I live in Columbus, Ohio with my fiance, my first audience and unyielding source of support (besides the Divine). I am many things other than a poet. I am a seeker, a reporter, an observer. A dreamer, a schemer, and a lost child trying to find my way. I’m also autistic, which I consider a “difference”, and in many degrees a blessing.
Why Do You Write?
Because I can’t live this life and not write. I’ll quote Maya Angelou to better explain: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” My world is filled with color. In my head, I have walking angels, old gods, and the dust of the dead. Goddesses who wear the sky for their saris. Sparkle-eyed shamans and Catholic priests. Lost children. “Mad” people who speak to the spirits. The damned, wearing rope burns around their necks from their sudden jolt into the ether. The sainted, who wear shadows of the damned inside themselves, inside their own darkness. Dead-eyed new-collars, washed out like worn shirts and packing the bellies of commuter trains. Rainbows that shatter apart and bless the earth with their wet, crystalline shards. The night sky that sticks diamonds into her skin and calls them sacred. Bible kings and pagan queens. And an eight-year old frizzy-haired little child who wears my face and stubbornly clings to my hand (and I would not have it any other way).
And that’s the short list.
You’ll have to read my poems to meet the rest of the crowd. Start off with Open the Door and go from there.
Who/What Inspires You?
All of the above, plus the following:
- The Written Word: I was turned on to poetry in junior high via Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes. I drank in what I read and began writing myself. Along the way, I’ve read Galway Kinnell, Nikki Giovanni, Edgar Allen Poe, Sylvia Plath, Robert Frost, and some Allen Ginsberg. And I desire to read many, many more.
- Music: I must admit that I am slightly more influenced by music that I am by poetry. I am a lover of just about any kind of music, and many times a song will inspire me take a piece of it away with me and write something. In particular, I’ve been lyrically and sonically influenced by The Doors, R.E.M., the Tragically Hip, and many others. The lead vocalists of the three bands I specifically listed – Jim Morrison, Michael Stipe, and Gord Downie — have a poetic sensibility about their lyrics and are poets in their own right.
- Performance and slam poetry: I came to it, brand new, in 2008. I have heard many good performance poets, both famous and yet-to-be-famous, who have influenced me in terms of sound, rhythm, and other poet elements. Specifically coming to mind are folks like Airea “Dee” Matthews, Jon Sands, Jamaal Vs. May, Patricia Smith, Alvin Lau, Donielle Monique, Ray McNeice, and Dave Nichols, as well as Columbus-area poets such as Barbara Fant, Will Evans, Louise Robertson, and Joanna Schroeder. And that, again, is a short list. I’d fill up the page if I listed everyone from this field who has inspired me.
Where Can I Read Your Stuff?
Some places I’ve been published:
- Poetry Super Highway (as Poet of the Week and in the 2009 Yom Hashoah Issue)
- Poets for Living Waters (Read my poem, “Gulf Song”)
- Awe In Autism (Featured for my poem, “You Don’t See It”)
- qarrtsiluni (Read my poem, “A Theology of an Autistic Body”)
- The Art of Autism: Shifting Perceptions (“Letter to my Father”)
- We’ve Been Here All Along: Autistics Over 35 Speak Out in Poetry and Prose (“You Don’t See It” and “Tribe”)
For a more complete list of my published work, click here.
How Can I Book You or Contact You?
Raven’s Wing Poetry
1601 W. Fifth Avenue, #247
Columbus, OH 43212-2310
E-Mail: nicole AT ravenswingpoetry DOT com