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Roderick Clarke, RAF Lakenheath’s Teen Center coordinator, sits with his new poetry book, “Black Reign.” Clarke said the book evolved into being about history.

Roderick Clarke, RAF Lakenheath’s Teen Center coordinator, sits with his new poetry book, “Black Reign.” Clarke said the book evolved into being about history. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

Roderick Clarke’s day job is coordinator of RAF Lakenheath’s Teen Center. But when he’s not setting up activities for teens on base, he’s doing a similar job for his local church. And, when there’s time in between those two jobs, the former Marine is writing poetry. The 33-year-old from Montego Bay, Jamaica, recently turned his hobby into a profession when he released a poetry book titled “Black Reign.”

What got you into writing poetry?

I’ve been writing since I was 16, before I left Jamaica. It was always a means of connecting with the environment. I write pretty much what I see.

What’s your new book about? Does it have poems such as “Roses are red, violets are blue,” or is it more powerful than that?

It’s a deep book, according to a lot of people who have bought it. It started off being a book about black history, African Americans or people who are descendants from Africa. But during my travels with the military, I found out that a lot of people don’t know their history. So, the book evolved into being a history book for the English and for all Americans [as well].

I also have a couple poems about Hurricane Katrina [and] 9/11. This book is a variety of poems from different perspectives, different walks of life, if you will. It can teach anybody. It’s not just about history, but reality.

Is the book basically about learning from our mistakes?

Yes. History always repeats itself. If you don’t know about it, you will make the same mistakes.

Where does the title “Black Reign” come from?

The title of “Black Reign” came up because I am black and I’m speaking of issues that I have seen.

How much is the book and where can it be purchased?

$12-$13. It’s available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble online. It can also be purchased locally by sending me an e-mail at roderick.clarke@lakenheath.af.mil.


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