An Interview with Writer and Poet, James B. Golden
Gabby Cohen, Forth Magazine, May 2014
They say that the best way to start writing is by writing what you know. James B. Golden, the 2013-2015 Salinas Poet Laureate, followed a similar course of action and he sure made his mark. Influenced by the prolific Langston Hughes, Sylvia Plath, and Charles Bukowski (and of course his high school AP English teacher), James cultivated his love for reading and writing at an early age. In turn, James wrote influential pieces of his own, earning himself the NAACP Image Award in 2011 for his second book, “Afro Clouds and Nappy Rain”. His latest book,” Bull: The Journey of a Freedom Icon”, tells both a historical story and a personal one. Though the horrifying lynchings and severe racism during the Civil Rights Movement undoubtedly served as a foundation, the story truly came about by connecting it to his own family. With influences from his grandmother to tell the tale, “Bull” became the real “grit and grime” story of his dad’s life—a story of labor, love, and redemption. James says that he hopes to develop a sense of agency with his writing, to motivate and create change. The stories that he read inspired him, and the stories that he writes have inspired others. James’ work forces us to brutally face these topics, and fight to keep them unconcealed and unembellished. James admits that “Bull”is only one piece of his statement to the world. The story he was meant to write will tell a comprehensive message: the importance of unconditional love and support as we are all one. James’ writing serves as an inspiration to all artists alike to find the stories that we are meant to tell.