- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 7, 2000

Local go-go bands and a multifaceted writer inspired Sheldon Brown to write poetry about his life, friends and hopes for a brighter day in his hometown.

Mr. Brown, 22, recently published his first anthology of poems, "Moses' Poetic Vision."

He has penned a collection of 21 poems written during different periods in his life. The poetry ranges from romance to expressions of regret.

"I wanted the poetry to touch on a host of subjects. I want people who are in love to relate. People who are in politics to relate, and of course, I want the average man on the street to relate," says Mr. Brown, who lives in the Brookland neighborhood in Northeast, Washington, D.C.

A native Washingtonian, Mr. Brown graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Northwest in 1995.

His love of music, coupled with an interest in poetry, prompted him to write his own verses. Catchy lyrics captured his attention initially, he says.

"I've always loved listening to music the rhythms and the lyrics that rhymed literally blew my mind," he says.

As a teen-ager, he enjoyed the upbeat sounds of Washington go-go groups such as Rare Essence and the Backyard Band. Their music motivated him, but Mr. Brown credits his exposure to writer Maya Angelou with inspiring him to try his hand at poetry.

"Her writings are profound and spiritual. I was exposed to Maya Angelou's work when I was 13 years old. Her poetry and her prose, specifically, 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,' inspired me," Mr. Brown says.

The young poet hopes "Moses' Poetic Vision" springboards him into a career in music. He wants to follow in the entrepreneurial footsteps of his father, founder of Brown & Co. accounting firm in Arlington, Va.

"My parents served as role models for me. My father, Tyrone Brown, is a successful black entrepreneur. I guess it's in my blood, too," the younger Mr. Brown says, smiling.

He says he hopes to break into the mega-rich record industry as an artist-producer-writer and ultimately owner of his own label.

"Poetry is always the route to arts and entertainment," he says.

Like the lyrics of modern day poets-turned-rappers, Mr. Brown's poems reflect the sometimes harsh realities of life. For example, "Always Be Beside Me" talks about the absence of a cherished relationship.

"It's about a friend of mine who was killed seven years ago. It really touched me because I was so young at the time. I wanted to write him and say, 'You're still here and will always be here with me,' " Mr. Brown says.

"Back then, we'd go to the movies and the mall together. We'd play Nintendo; you know, we were young, 14 or 15 years old," he says.

Another poem, "Touched by an Angel," reaffirms Mr. Brown's belief in a power greater than himself. He says young black men die needlessly every day. He's thankful that he's not a statistic.

"I want readers to know that I'm a spiritual person I love the Lord. And they, too, are blessed," he says.

"As a black child growing up in Washington, you can experience a lot of different things. I'm blessed to be who I am I'm not incarcerated, and I'm still alive," Mr. Brown says.

The poet also reflects on the positive side of life relationships and romance in the poem "Champagne and Caviar"

"I felt the poem was special because of the words that I rhymed together. You can actually picture the evening. I create a universal scene: A candlelight dinner, roses and Marvin Gaye," he says with a smile.

To purchase a copy of "Moses' Poetic Vision," contact Mr. Brown at tbrown@starpower.net.

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