Pursuing Poetry with Maggie Wilkinson

Words by Sofia Elena Arzola

Published Jan. 18, 2019

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Since the eighth grade, Maggie Wilkinson has been actively pursuing writing. Specifically, she’s always been drawn to the medium of poetry.


Wilkinson got her start early. Later in that final school year before high school, she even self-published her own collection of poems. The summer after, she joined a local spoken word group called Manifest Voices, which first properly introduced her into the world of performance poetry.


Since then, Wilkinson has performed at several venues, with crowds going from 30 people to 1,200 people. I n addition to performance, she’s also self-published another full-length collection of poems, titled High Waisted. Wilkinson has even been to a few events to sell her book, and earlier this year was named a 2018 YoungArts Merit Winner in the category of Spoken Word.


To Wilkinson, poetry is rooted in observation. “Living in Tennessee certainly has given an interesting array of situations and people to observe,” said Wilkinson.

Alongside writing poetry, Wilkinson experiments with other artistic forms, such as photography and creating collages, and is currently taking a course on drawing and painting class at school in hopes of finding a more visual side of her creativity.


Like other artists and creatives, she has her inspirations. In particular, musicians and lyricists like Sarah Kay, Melissa Lozada-Olivia, Olivia Gatwood, and Alysia Harris.


Wilkinson’s creative process often consists of being hunched over whatever she’s using to write: a computer, typewriter, or notebook, depending on what she feels the poem calls for. Then, she brainstorms, delving into ideas and lines and words, things that speak to her and spur her creativity.


“Most of the time, I come to a certain idea that just ‘unlocks’ the rest of the poem, and then it comes pretty easily. I speak when I write, even if it’s not a poem meant for performance. I just like to hear which words and lines sound nice when I say them,” said Wilkinson.


With her poetry, Wilkinson wants to convey this message: “You are loved, your stories matter, and you are not alone in your experiences.”


You can keep up with Maggie on Instagram.


See the rest of the articles from issue four here.

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