Love, grief: Paratrooper shares through poetry
October 30, 2009
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - It's not often a Soldier admits to having a sensitive side, but 1st Lt. K. Martai Richardson doesn't mind.
The 29 year old recently had his book of poetry, "Reflections of a Man's Soul," published by Xlibris Corporation.
"I started writing about 10 years ago," said Richardson, assistant logistics officer with 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. "But it was about four years ago, I guess, that I started to get serious about it."
It was at Fayetteville State University that Richardson's poetic skills began to flourish. He kept his writing abilities a secret from his male friends and only shared his poems, which were mainly about love, with the young lady he was seeing at the time.
"My poems made quite an impression on her. I think she liked them a lot," he said with a smile.
Her praises kept Richardson encouraged to write. Eventually, he let his guy friends read his poems.
"They could see that I was on a whole different level," Richardson explained.
"There wasn't any teasing or anything like that because they could see that I was good at writing."
Richardson never received formal training in literary writing. He admires the works of Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou but draws most of his inspiration from his imagination and his Family.
"I've never been into classical poetry, but I love to read comic books. I really like science fiction, and that's where a lot of my imagination comes from. I want my perception of the world to be expressed in the things I write," he said.
About four years ago, Richardson decided it was time to incorporate new themes into his poems. He shifted from writing about love to "deeper" topics like grief, personal growth and spirituality.
Brenda Cooper, 2nd BCT property management analyst, has read some of Richardson's work and has attended his readings.
"I see him everyday, but I never really knew him on the inside. His poems let me see who he is and what he is feeling. I love it because I get to have a better idea of who he is and what his struggles have been," she said.
Richardson said this is exactly the effect he wants.
"I want people to read my stuff and know who I am," he added.
He credits his mom, Cynthia Bracey, and his grandmother, Sarah Bracey, with making him the man he is today.
"My mom is my buddy," said Richardson. "My grandma encouraged me with the way she lived her life to become anything I wanted. A lot of my poems are about them."
But admitting his mom is his best friend in a poem doesn't make Richardson less of a man, said Sgt. 1st Class Charlie Bell, 2nd BCT movement noncommissioned officer in charge.
"It takes a good man to express himself through poetry. His stuff is really interesting," said Bell.
Richardson welcomes any reaction from his readers.
"As long as people are entertained by what I write," then I'm happy," he said.
To purchase "Reflections of a Man's Soul," go to www. martaipoetry.com or call 1-888-795-4274.