B.J. Wilson grew up in the suburbs of Louisville, with roots in both the southern and western regions of Kentucky. He earned his BA and MA in creative writing from Murray State University and his MFA from the Bluegrass Writers Studio at Eastern Kentucky University. He holds a writing fellowship from The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences and a Pushcart Prize Nomination for poetry. His poems appear in Exit 7, The Heartland Review, New Madrid, Tar River Poetry, Valley Voices and elsewhere. His EP collaboration, Electric Beach, can be found for free on Bandcamp under the band moniker, Installations. B.J. teaches English and creative writing at Jacksonville State University in Alabama.
The great French mime artist Marcel Marceau, whom I once witnessed on stage re-enacting the growth of a tree, called mime “the art of silence.” Silence is also very much at the heart of how B.J. Wilson brings nature slowly and poignantly to life in Naming the Trees, and reading it is a similarly riveting experience. It is a liminal book, luminously on the line between rural and urban, self and other, secrecy and revelation. ~Ann Neelon
The poems in B.J. Wilson’s Naming the Trees have utterly broken my heart with beauty, honesty and a lonely, quiet music that sings in the most ghostly minor key. There is confession in these pages but there is also a heroic and quiet interrogation of what it means to live a life of recovery, both in the literal sense and in the figurative one as well. This is a wise and lovely book. ~Daniel Anderson
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The subject here is a sacred corner of God’s earth—western Kentucky and Tennessee—that the poet knows intimately and in which he has invested both labor and love. In return, the place has honored his nurturant care by speaking through his voice the truth of the natural world, in poems that are visceral before they are cerebral…These poems, this poet, are the real deal.
–T. Crunk, Living in the Resurrection
Tuckasee vibrates with a shadowed luminosity like the shafts of sunlight that sometimes await us in the recesses of swamps, caverns, and old-growth forests. Wilson’s lines take us “…deeper into the green-dark, crashing through / undergrowth, more real than hoofprints.” They feature a poet sluicing and sinking—through the sloughs of memory and form, isolation and relationships.
–Julie Hensley, The Language of Horses
These are luminous poems—delicately crafted, skillfully wrought, full of gentle wonders. Wilson is a careful, canny observer of nature, but his works offer far more than mere description or naturalistic reportage. In short, Wilson is the real thing, and his is an exciting and distinctive new voice.
–Young Smith, In a City You Will Never Visit
art pop/hill country blues rap/indie-folk
The electro pop chill-wave EP, Electric Beach, is an existential foray delving into shadows and loss as well as temporality and redemption. The project’s cinematic scope stems not only from the artsy sci-fi films it samples but also channels the tones and colors of other films like Drive and The Neon Demon. This is the third recording from the band, Installations, a revolving door of projects ranging from ambient rap (Nexus) to Southern-psychedelic rap (Kaleidoslide) to pop. Let the waves of Electric Beach wash over and electrocute you!
Been Down So Long... explores the convergence between rap and the Hill Country Blues of Mississippi. The vocals move from spoken word and Southern rap toward something new. The grimy guitar work pushes the sound of each song into a kind of juke joint rap, replete with much of what Blues mythology has to offer: incantations and spells, bones and red moons, tricksters...where most things haven't worked out.
Indie folk demos from 2004
What, if not transformation, is your urgent command?
Earth, my dearest, I will.