Steptoe, Lamont*

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NAME: Lamont Steptoe*


Lamont B. Steptoe is a poet / photographer / publisher born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is author of eight books of poetry including In the Kitchens of the Master, Mad Minute, Uncle's South Sea China Blue Nightmare, Cat Fish and Neckbone Jazz, Dusty Road, Common Salt and Trinkets and Beads. Steptoe is a father, Vietnam veteran, and founder of Whirlwind Press.

"Thinking back on it, I was really exposed to black poetry through the church. Because, as the late writer Henri Dumas said, “every black poet is a preacher and every black preacher is a poet.” My work is influenced by the fire and brimstone that black preachers generally exhibit in the context of the church on Sunday mornings. Rev. Augustus C. Sumter from South Carolina was the first person to call me a poet. I had written a poem about the fact that they were going to be tearing down our church and I read it and word got back to him and he announced to the congregatoin one Sunday, “We have a poet in our midst!”. And it was like a revelation. Like a little light went on."

He has read his work at the Library of Congress, the National Library of Nicaragua, the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, Shakespeare & Co. in Paris, the Knitting Factory, the Schomburg Center for Black Culture, and colleges and universities throughout the United States. Steptoe is also an activist in human rights, environmental issues, and gay/bisexual issues.

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