UNE’s Creative Writing Club Welcomes Maya Williams for Poetry Month

On Apr 19, 2023 UNE invited Portland Poet Laureate, Maya Williams, to read excerpts from their prospective collection, Judas & Suicide.


Mya Hankes

Williams preforming pieces from her new collection and other works.

*Trigger warning for topics of domestic violence, suicide, and religious trauma*

As many know, April is known as the month-long celebration of poetry. Some may celebrate the genre’s expressive nature or commemorate it as an art. For Creative Writing Club (CWC), poetry is a pillar of creative expression and imagination. 

To salute poetry and all it entails, CWC invited poet Maya Williams to campus on April 19th to share work from their collection, Judas and Suicide. Williams has an extensive history in creating poetry, serving as the 7th Poet Laureate of Portland Maine since July 2021. 

Ey is also a non-binary (ey/they/she) black multiracial suicide survivor. 

Judas and Suicide (2023) is William’s upcoming collection, focusing on a myriad of topics, including (but not limited to) mental health, trauma, faith, and domestic violence. To give some intel, Williams shares that each poem in the collection is meant to respond to a particular Bible verse about Judas’s own suicide. 

At 6:04, in UNE’s Bush Board room, Williams took to the podium. Ey first began by thanking CWC for the invitation and those who attended. Ey also reminded listeners that the subject matter of their work can be triggering for some and urged those, if needed, to step out of the room. 

As a last word before performing, ey also welcomed the audience to “snap, grunt, or call something out if it moves you.”  

Williams chose a blend of 15 poems to share with UNE’s community, either coming from her recent publication or previous titles. Highlighted works include “Have I Forgiven You?,” “In the Beginning,” and “Contradictions of My Mother.” 

The 12th poem spoken by Williams strayed from what can be seen as the dark nature of eir work. Titled “I Am Living For This,” the poem consists of momentary descriptions that convey bliss and happiness in Williams’s life. They describe the work as “a love letter to the brief moments in our life.” Also, stating their appreciation for the fact they’re alive to witness such interactions and moments. 

Overall, William’s performance was an emotional, exciting, and thought-provoking experience. They spoke with great enthusiasm, incorporating hand movements and pauses to emphasize lines or full works. Audience members erupted with a mix of snaps, claps, or woo-ing after the commencement of each work. Eir left the audience with some tidbits of information for their next collection, focusing on first-date impressions and how they develop into relationships. 

To learn more about Williams and their work, one can visit their website here. Their website includes all published work, contact information, and recorded performances. Individuals will also find poetry workshops with Williams available for sign-up. 

If you are interested in pre-ordering Judas and Suicide, you can find the collection at Game Over Books or Small Press Distribution. There will also be a release event for the collection on May 31st in Portland, ME. 

The Bolt would like to thank Williams for their time spent at UNE, and the various communities they serve in Southern Maine.