Talks & Readings

Wing Is Available to Speak at Your Event

Whether your issue is environmental or political, speeches and statistics can only carry people so far. Real solutions to the 21st century’s converging crises spring from the deeper dimensions of heart and mind where people actually live. Poetry can take them there, awakening them to the web of relationship that connects them both to the natural world and to the wider human family. This is my mission and vision as a performing poet.

Naturally, my range extends beyond the realm of activism. I can also deliver a conventional reading tailored to any type of audience. This too goes deeper than “entertainment value,” taking a roomful of people to a deeper place through the ancient magic of music and image and rhythm.

at the Get Off the
Grid Festival,
Blairsville, Ga.

“Connecting with Nature Through Poetry”

Care to join me on a hike into the woods, or a wilderness canoe trip? Can you spare 30 minutes? A slide show or documentary would cage the colors and scenery of these adventures in a screen-sized pictureframe. By contrast, poetry immerses the listener in an actual place, not just the sights and smells but the inner response of the poet – wonder, curiosity, insight, gratitude.

As long as people feel estranged from the natural world that sustains our lives, both people and planet are in deep trouble. An “Earth Poetry” performance can help to bridge that gap. Whether it takes the form of a single poem inserted between speeches at a rally or conference, a 30 to 45 minute poetry performance, or a talk tracing “Earth Poetry” back through the millennia, punctuated by poetry, for that timeless interval it can transport an audience beyond the walls of a man-made room into the open spaces of nature. Contact me to discuss how Earth Poetry can integrate the natural world into your educational, activist, or community event.

Contact me to learn more.

at the School
of the Americas Vigil,
Ft. Benning, Ga.

“Opening Your Political Chakra”

Poetry is the perfect break between speakers at any political event, from a street rally to an academic conference. Issues like war, racism, and poverty are too often reduced to numbers and demographics, or elevated to the plane of principles and ethics. Political poetry can take any political issue back to where it started: real people facing real situations that engulf them and those they love, raw emotion in real time, real-life tragedy and heroism. In a word, to the realm of the human heart.

The power of imagination is far from imaginary. Imagination is the root of compassion: empathically experiencing other people’s lives and surroundings, feeling their feelings, rekindling the sense of an extended human family that underlies all political and economic divisions. Overcoming our political challenges requires another form of imagination – the prophetic vision of a humane and egalitarian future. Arousing these deeper levels of imagination is the calling of the political poet. Contact me to discuss how poetry can infuse your political gathering with vision and compassion, whether a single poem strategically timed, a full-scale 30 to 45 minute performance, or something in between.

Read my essay on political poetry, “Duties of the Witness: The Calling of the Political Poet.”

Contact me to learn more.

Contact Wing

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Click here to view Wing’s upcoming
author appearances.


Postcard from the Wilderness

You know you’ve really
seen the wilderness
when it wakes up something wild
inside you,
something shy and fearless
that gazes out from a thorny lair
behind your eyes
at the headlights and billboards
of your journey home—

because everything you do
whether choice or habit
touches the wild world,
sends ripples dancing across
the glassy light of the lake

You’ll know you have finally
discovered the wilderness
when you bring it home with you
and it builds a nest
in the highest branches of your
inhabiting your silences,
your hungers, your wanderings
and homecomings,
your focused attention and
spontaneous laughter—

because nothing we do
escapes the world of consequence,
chemicals leach from plastic
and the osprey’s egg
cracks open too soon

You’ll get back
to the woods someday,
it doesn’t matter when, you know it
deep in every muscle and bone,
doesn’t matter at all
when the wilderness
hibernates all winter inside you,
breathing its hot musk
deeper than blood-vessels,
deeper than dreaming—

because any time you close your eyes
the mountains loom above that
icy lake, the osprey circles overhead
and you’re still there, wild
and alive


This Explains Everything

Deleting old voicemails
late last night,
I heard the halting voice
of my old doctor,
the familiar ring of arrogance
gone, whispering
that he was terribly sorry
but he’d made a mistake.
After lifting my aching old heart
out of its cavity
between the sawn ribs, raw
and dripping, he had hastily
sewn me up without remembering
to replace it.
explains everything.
Seventeen dead in the latest
deadly rampage
of an antisocial kid
with a semiautomatic weapon.
An ex-Marine who survived
vicious hand-to-hand combat, lost
years later to an overdose
of lethal memories.
A young girl abducted
from a shantytown in Peru,
sold into slavery in some place far
more civilized.
A whole family huddled in the wind
at the top of a freeway ramp
behind a sign that says, “Evicted.
Please help.”
At last I know why none of it
makes me howl all night
at the icy vapor trails of private jets.
Or pack up and ship all
of my possessions
to an orphanage in Peru.
Or even leak one
solitary tear.

Stephen Wing

Poet, activist and author Stephen Wing lives in Atlanta with his wife Dawn Aura and assorted pets. Read more about him here.

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