The Deep End: Lester Eugene Mayers

Lester Eugene Mayers

Mayers is a fourth-year theatre major with a concentration in performance who writes poetry like you’ve never read before. His new book, “100 Poems for 100 Voices,” debuted on Feb. 8, 2019 and gathered a lot of well-deserved hype and traction.

“100 Poems for 100 Voices” demands attention, understanding and honesty. It’s a collection of real moments, both lived and shared through others that he brings to life on the page. He’s a reporter who performs his reports, and finds the beauty in everything he can. He describes how the book helps with moving forward through forward movement. 

He writes phonetically, which is the way he learned to read, so his poetry is accessible yet linguistically daring. Parts of him live in this book, and it’s origin stemmed from his yearning to say something, and he knew he had a way to say it and tell the stories that need to be told. All the poems revolve around particular needs— the need for safety, love and having no shame about living. He explores how in America, we have always been divided and this book dives into the nuances that surround that, as well as being black and gay in such a divided world.

To write this book, Mayers traveled the country to places like Mississippi, Tennessee, Philadelphia and many more, and his worldliness permeates the poetry. He also explores his home of Brooklyn, a place he considers his creator, which he expertly captures the essence of. This coming-of-age poetry book is unlike any other you’ll read. 

He considers himself an obedient writer, meaning if the words come to him, he writes them. It took him about nine months to cultivate the book, which originally contained around 200 poems. His editor and friend Charlene V. Martoni helped him arrange the poems in a way that makes them approachable without disturbing his language. In order to create the masterpiece, he explained how he needed to be lonely, because honesty comes from loneliness. He spoke to people, and waited for them “to let their bellies hang,” meaning that they were comfortable and eager to share themselves. Through his process, he shared his gift of writing with the world by publishing this complex work of art. 

His inspirations come from all over, and he cites everyone he meets as an inspiration to his work. By traveling and air hustling, he accumulated various stories and developed a deep understanding for people, which also bleeds into every page. He’s lived through complicated and serious traumas that he persevered and triumphed from, which he says one must live through in order to succeed. In his words, “cry and continue to do the work.” Nothing stands in his way from creating and living the art he brings to life. He encourages his readers and fellow writers to trust their voice, be uncomfortable, and not shy away. A true artist, he knows how much art lives inside of him and he pushes to present it to the world. 

He plans on writing another book, this time more of a “dilemma tale” with an ambiguous ending. He’s also assistant directing and choreographing for the next mainstage production, “For Colored Girls” which opens Feb. 28 at 8 p.m. Buy “100 Poems for 100 Voices” on Amazon!

Madalyn Alfonso
About Madalyn Alfonso 85 Articles
Madalyn Alfonso is a fourth-year English major with a minor in Theatre. This is her sixth semester on The Oracle. Previously, she was the Arts & Entertainment Editor. She loves writing any and every thing she can for the Oracle, whether it be a hilarious Top Ten or a thought-provoking Culture Critique. She hopes you all love reading the Oracle!