Poetry lit a competitive fire for this Georgia State student

Nathan Wallace, and five other Georgia State Students have come together to create the university’s first College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational team. Photo by Matt Siciliano-Salazar | The Signal

During the weeks which soon turned into months of quarantine, people seem to either be in a creative block or starting something amazing. 

Lacking social interaction and outside inspiration can make it hard to create new content, but senior Nathan Wallace, has taken his time alone as a challenge.

Wallace is a seasoned poet, and came from humble beginnings performing poems at his local church at the age of six. He soon began to take poetry seriously and pursue it full time from that point on.

Taking his talents to the next level, Wallace landed a spot on the Brave New Voices Team Atlanta in 2018 and ended up a semi-finalist. In 2019, he was awarded a book deal and crowned Atlanta’s Youth Poet Laureate. After his victory, Wallace would continue his winning streak on Team Georgia State for the New South Poetry Conference, where he took home the highest scores of the night. 

In 2020, he was a member of the Georgia State Cupsi Team, which would be the university’s “first College Union Poetry Slam,” but the competition ultimately ended because of COVID-19. Within the same year, he published his first book, “I’m My Own Therapist.” 

“It’s a revolutionary example of vulnerability and imagery as it not only takes the reader through my life but paints a vivid picture as well,” Wallace said.

When COVID-19 sent the world into a downward spiral, Wallace decided to rise above it all and continue to push his artistic skills to the next level. During quarantine, he would perform in several slam poetry competitions that were hosted over Instagram Live, where he would win three competitions as an individual and in a group.

“Honestly, quarantine opened so many more doors for poetry and allowed everyone to connect with people all around the world,” Wallace said. “I got to compete more on Instagram than I could have ever done in person.” 

Wallace refuses to limit himself to just poetry and has become a multifaceted individual who continues to forge his path and legacy as a performer, host and teaching artist. He has worked in several poetry workshops centered around mental health, social media and social activism.

Wallace’s achievements don’t just stop at the numerous awards, competitions and his published book. He has also partnered with organizations such as Georgia Public Broadcasting, the Atlanta Hawks and East Atlanta Kids Club.

He has also had the pleasure of working with some of the most talented and passionate poets such as Alysia Harris, Radi the Poet, Jasmine Mans, Jaha Bela, Ninel Nekay and W.J. Lofton.

When it comes to creating any form of art, Wallace always likes to remind himself to “write to heal yourself and create more art, not ego.”