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Captivating Verse Takes Center Stage

Andrew McIver

Sep 9, 2023

Earl J Wilcox's Debut Poetry Collection, 'The Surfacing of Joy,' Makes a Resounding Entrance at Local Book Launch

We’re thrilled to share that the book launch and reading of The Surfacing of Joy was a heartwarming and joyful success. Held in Rock Hill, SC on Friday, August 11th and just two days after Wilcox’s 90th birthday, the reading was a celebration of poems written over two decades, but until now read only by a few close friends and family members.

The reading featured 22 poems, each read by the editors of the collection as well as specially chosen friends and family (and even our outstanding photographer whose work is featured on the front and rear covers of the collection). The event brought together more than 80 of Wilcox’s closest friends, family, colleagues, and students from all stages and time periods of his life into one room, all to celebrate Wilcox’s incredible accomplishment.

Books were sold before and after the event and nearly all were signed by the author himself, handed over with a wink, a smile, sometimes a hug, and more often than not, a fond memory as well.

If you weren’t able to make it, we didn’t want you to miss out on the experience, so we have it available here, on video, and the book is available for purchase at our website,

Interviewed prior to the reading by Janet Yocum, Wilcox was asked about the meaning of poetry and what his poems are about. He says:

“Well, just looking at the titles of some in this collection, I’d say the poems consider many different things — grief, loss, love, children, space crafts, war, aging, music, dolphins, baseball, birds (especially mockingbirds). But frankly, there are times when I cannot say what a poem is about. Stange as that may seem, the title of the poem may suggest partly what the poems are about. Different readers often get different things from my poems. I believe that is a good thing about poetry.”

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