Charleston’s Poet Laureate announces new “pay what you want” poetry book, publishing company and pop-up virtual readings


Marcus Amaker

Marcus Amaker, Charleston’s first Poet Laureate, has unleashed his latest project. The Birth of All Things is a 104-page poetry book about an eclectic mix of subjects: battle droids, Björk, the black experience, beats, the blues, Bessie Coleman, a beautiful baby, and more. The cover art features work from Florida digital artist Nick Davis.

The Birth of All Things is about creative freedom, says Amaker. “These poems take chances – in form and subject matter. This collection is my most personal and professional work, and the reader will come away with a more complete view of who I am after experiencing the book.”

A new dad, Amaker started writing new poems during his wife’s pregnancy. The collection also features “Hope Is in the Listening,” Amaker’s original poem written for the 2020 Charleston Mayoral Inaguration. A lot of the new book was composed during the still-present self-distancing era of COVID-19. 

“A virus is no match for creativity. A lot of artists like myself are safe with their muse. I wrote poems as a way to slow down and stay focused during a fearful time,” said Amaker, who made for artists to share their work during the quarantine.

To commemorate the release of the new book, Amaker is offering pre-orders on a pay-what-you-want scale through June 2 at He’ll also be announcing several pop-up poetry readings online.

“I’m always inspired by what Radiohead did in 2007 with its In Rainbows album. Also, I’m doing my best to be flexible in an interesting moment in history.”

Teachers in the Charleston area will be able to receive one copy of the book for free. The Birth of All Things will ship in late May. Street date for the collection is June 2. On that date, the book will be $12 online and at local stores.

The Birth of All Things cover

The Birth of All Things is the first release for Amaker’s Free Verse Press imprint, under Free Verse, LLC. Free Verse Press will publish works from local authors and students. Free Verse, LLC also presents Charleston, SC’s Free Verse Poetry Festival.

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