When We Arrived asks, “What can poetry teach us about life?” with Brad Walrond

Who inspires you to be a better poet?

The most venerable and dearly missed Amiri Baraka inspires me every day to become a better poet. Two words come to mind when I think of Amiri: Craft and Courage. He was a relentless and prolific craftsmen. We as Black contemporary poets owe him a portion of every word we will ever speak write record or publish. As a poet once you have surrendered your words to your craft and its urgent and unending demand for excellence and refinement you are well on your way. But still there are many excellent poets who in ways large and small have not had the courage to follow their conviction into the costly controversial arenas their words wished to have taken them.

Amiri wrote fearlessly. He told it like it is at great risk to himself and others. We are all the better for his sacrifice. I pray everyday I will be as brave.

What can poetry teach us about life?

Poetry teaches me to practice my purpose every single day. God has asked of each and every one of us to make the most out of what little we have.



Poet, writer, performer and activist Brad Walrond was born in Brooklyn New York to first generation Caribbean parents from Barbados. Brad began writing and performing at the age of 24 when he was asked to participate in a theatrical production curated by the legendary entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte.

Shortly thereafter Brad discovered a thriving community of artists, writers and performers at the Sunday Tea Party at Frank’s Lounge in Brooklyn. The Tea Party was an instrumental incubator as Brad honed his craft soon becoming one of the foremost writers and performers of the Black Arts Movement of ‘90s. It was at the Tea Party and other venues like the Brooklyn Moon Café, the Nuyorican Poets Café and numerous venues in and around NYC that Brad had the pleasure of sharing the stage with renowned writers, poets and artists including Abiodun Oyewole of the Last Poets, legendary actress/writer Ruby Dee, Erykah Badu, Saul Williams, Jessica Care Moore, Mos Def, Liza Jesse Peterson, Universes (Then: Mildred Ruiz, Stephen Sapp, Flaco Navaja and Lemon Anderson) and Craig “muMs” Grant.

Brad received his BA at the City College of New York and received a full scholarship to pursue is doctoral studies in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University. He is more than just a poet or a speaker of words; he is a weaver of spells and bringer of passion and light.


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