In-Depth Look: William Evans – “They Love Us Here”
Appreciating poetry is often about patience: sitting with a poem, meditating on it, and re-reading it multiple times. With spoken word, we don’t always get a chance to do that. This series is about taking that chance, and diving a little deeper into some of the new poems going up on Button.
“This is what you do when you are Black and at jobs where you suffer through being the minority, you send your daughter to the better school where she will suffer through being the minority.”
I remember first getting into writing, and thinking (not necessarily consciously, but somewhere deep down) that poetry was about saying simple, universal things in the most needlessly convoluted way possible. Of course, as I kept writing, reading, and listening, I figured out that the work that really sticks with me does the exact opposite: it uses simple, straightforward language to tackle deep, complex, multi-layered ideas. It’s probably no coincidence that William Evans was one of the first poets whose work had an impact on me.
This poem is only a minute-and-a-half long piece of storytelling. But within that, there’s so much– not just about race, but how race intersects with class, and history, and family, and fairness, and struggle, and America. It’s a furious indictment of so-called “benevolent racism,” but a poem that was just that, while still valuable, probably wouldn’t be as powerful as a poem that is equally about a father considering the future of his daughter. That personal angle both enriches and complicates the political message, creating a dynamic conversation between impulses, issues, and perspectives.
Find more from William Evans here, and get his new book here!
“Her fist is balled the way a boy would grip her hair in a kindergarten class or at any age that boys put their name on things.”
Don’t miss this week’s Best of Button playlist, featuring the top-viewed recent videos on the Button YouTube Channel. Today’s additions: Blythe Baird, Omar Holmon, and William Evans. Congratulations poets!