I started making music when I was 10. At that early age, I realized I was blessed with a wild imagination and a fierce sense of independence. I wrote songs about eating corn, talking to dogs, cooking chicken, and … my butt. The weirder the music, the better. (I thank Kate Bush for that energy. I’m a HUGE fan of her work.) As a poet, I always remember the person I was when I was making tapes in the '80s. That kid didn’t worry about the audience. He stuck to his natural rhythm. That’s how I approach my work. To be recognized on a national level has been a dream. And being a Poet Laureate has been the joy of my life. I do my best to inspire students to spark their own rhythm. It’s important to nurture young artists! I have a feeling I was born to do this work.

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Marcus Amaker was named Charleston, SC’s first Poet Laureate in 2016. In 2021, he became an Academy of American Poets fellow. He’s also the award-winning graphic designer of a national music journal (No Depression), an electronic musician, an opera librettist, the creator of a poetry festival, and a mentor. In 2022, he was featured as the Narrator for The Street with Spoleto Festival.

His poetry has been recognized by The Washington Post, The Kennedy Center, American Poets Magazine, The Washington National Opera, The Portland Opera, Button Poetry, NPR, The Chicago Tribune, Edutopia, Departures Magazine, People’s World, PBS Newshour, SC Public Radio, Charleston Magazine, Charleston City Paper, North Dakota Quarterly, Post and Courier, Charleston Scene, Town and Country Magazine, and several other publications.

In 2019, he won a Governor’s Arts award in South Carolina, and was named the artist-in-residence of the Gaillard Center, a world-renowned performance and education venue.


His poetry has been studied in classrooms around the country, and has been interpreted for ballet, jazz, modern dance, opera and theater. One of his poems is on Will Liverman’s Grammy-nominated album Dreams of a New Day, and Marcus has recorded three albums with Grammy Award-winning drummer and producer Quentin E. Baxter.

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