6 Things You Should Know about Hillsborough’s New Poet Laureate

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William Davis standing in front of audience including Hillsborough's Mayor Tom Stevens. Photo by Kristin Prelipp.
William Davis Jr. stands in front of an audience including Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens (left). Photo by Kristin Prelipp.

After months of collaboration and reviewing the nominees, Hillsborough’s new Poet Laureate, William Davis Jr., was appointed June 1 at the Hillsborough Arts Council. Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens, Former Poet Laureate Aaron Belz and eight others involved in the selection process came to a conclusion that William was the best candidate. “We had a lot of reasons,” Aaron says. “But mostly, he’s just a great young poet with a special gift for performing his work.” We chat with William, who lives in Hillsborough with his fiancee and five children, about writing inspiration, performing and creating family poems.

How did you come up with the performance name, Endlesswill?

‘Endlesswill’ came about from my actual name, William. I added the endless to recognize my journey. I have been successful in being steadfast and not giving up on my passion; hence the endless in front of the ‘will.’ The ‘will’ comes from not only my name, but the definition of will itself: desire, intent, want. So within combining the two, you get endless wants, desires, and intent. I felt that this was a great name to represent my values.

What are you most excited about being the next Poet Laureate?

I trust that I can help bring others together through the art of poetry. Within Hillsborough, we have many veteran writers and many up-and-coming writers. I plan to bring these two groups together to help learn from one another. I want to both supplement current and initiate new writing classes, spoken word events, youth slam teams and open the table for others to contribute to the discussion of poetry. Poetry can be therapeutic, and act as a medicine to worry and depression. I simply hope to be an avenue for the access of this amazing art.

What’s your favorite thing about writing or performing poetry?

The eye contact, engaging smiles and open hearts of the audience is what I love most about spoken word poetry. I find it an amazing experience to either be onstage or see someone onstage and connect on a transcendent level of poetic expression. The fact that both friends and strangers alike can come together to connect over art floors me each time.

What is the first poem you remember reading and has stuck with you throughout the years?

Should I – William Davis Jr.

  • “Should I be what you want me to be
  • As I open my eyes
  • I sometimes wish that I could see what you see
  • But only to make it even
  • You’ll have to share my grief
  • You can tell me how to live my life
  • If you agree to feel my past pains
  • Piece by piece
  • And you will realize that my passive emotions
  • Are just me reaching for peace
  • While searching for a release for the anger
  • That’s underneath
  • So I just
  • Breathe
  • Wishing the acceptance
  • And confirmation of the world
  • Would just leave
  • Then I remember to be
  • Thankful
  • While appreciating being
  • ME”

Where do you like writing poetry? 

I like this question. I write all the time – on napkins, on random paper, at work, before bed, in the middle of the night. I think of new lines throughout the day and have made it a habit to jot it down.

Do your kids like poetry? Do they have a favorite one you or your fiancee read to them?

Yes, my children write as well. My fiancee also has a love for poetry, so it is easy for us to create writing prompts that they can enjoy. We don’t have any favorites thus far, we typically write silly things as a family by passing the paper around and having everyone add a line or two. Writing nights always bring out the comedians in our household.

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Anna Stone

Anna is an Advertising and Hispanic Studies double major at UNC-Chapel Hill. Growing up in Durham and living in Chapel Hill, she's been able to experience the best of both towns. She loves traveling and UNC Basketball so much, she planned her study abroad in Spain next fall around basketball season.
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