Avondale Man Looks To Ease Unrest Through Poetry

Jul 10, 2020

Avondale poet Norman Riggs, Jr. first started writing when he was 15 and continued doing so for 10 years. After a 20-year break, he's at it again.

Riggs, Jr. says he decided to get back into writing because of what is going on in the world, describing his poetry as ranging from love to feelings about the world in which we live.

His new book is called Lil of a Lot (and then some). Riggs, Jr. read the title poem for WVXU, part of which says, "I remember the '60s/the riots, the protests, the police brutality/Over 50 years later, I see the riots, the protests, the police brutality/I remember the hoods of the KKK/and the Freedom Riders who sacrificed their lives to pave the way."

Riggs was raised in Avondale and says even at a young age he was active in the 1968-69 civil rights movement. He also remembers marching after the police beating of Rodney King.

What does he make of the unrest sparked by George Floyd's death? He says it's "unsettling."

"What do I hope people get from it (the poetry)? I hope that those that didn't quite understand what's been going on, I hope that that gives them some insight and those that already know what was going on, it makes them wiser and stronger."

His poetry has been described as "incredibly powerful and timely."

Riggs, Jr. says he doesn't have the answers to make a change but says it will take everyone.