“Simply put, he is the Renaissance man of Charleston” – Art Mag.

The hard questions.

Q. What is your favorite Prince album?
A. Sign ‘O’ The Times is probably his best album. But I also love LotusFlow3r. And The Love Symbol Album. And Lovesexy. And ARTOFFICIALAGE. And Parade. And …

Q. What is your favorite Star Wars movie?
A. Revenge of the Sith. So much happens in that movie that is important for Star Wars lore (the birth of Vader, the reason the Stormtroopers are bad, the birth of the Empire, the birth of Luke and Leia, etc.)  I also love The Force Awakens. A lot.

Q. What artists have inspired you the most?
A. JONI MITCHELL (Hejira is a master work). Prince. Alice Coltrane. Ani DiFranco. A Tribe Called Quest. Kate Bush. Nine Inch Nails. De La Soul.

Q. Name a few things that you can’t resist …
A. Good headphones. Drum machines. Journals. Talking about Prince. The San Antonio Spurs. Vinyl Me, Please. Biking. Anything made by Teenage Engineering.

Q. What are you most passionate about?
A. My music. I also love leading poetry workshops for students. But music is number one.

When I grow up, I want to be a rock star like Prince. – (me, at 10 years old.)


Marcus Amaker was named Charleston, SC’s first Poet Laureate in 2016. He’s also the award-winning graphic designer of a national music journal (No Depression), an internationally known electronic musician, the creator of a poetry festival, and a mentor to hundreds of students.

His poetry has been recognized by The Kennedy Center, American Poets Magazine, The Washington National Opera, The Portland Opera, Button Poetry, NPR,  The Chicago Tribune, Edutopia, Washington Post, Departures Magazine, People’s WorldPBS Newshour, SC Public Radio, Charleston Magazine, Charleston City Paper, North Dakota Quarterly, Post and Courier, Charleston Scene 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 world, and has been interpreted for ballet, jazz, modern dance, opera and theater. Marcus has recorded three albums with Grammy Award winning drummer and producer Quentin E. Baxter.

His eighth book is The Birth of All Things, from Free Verse Press.

photos by Alice Keeney.