Life Below The Line: Homeless Poet Anthony Hickerson

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By: David Hay and Matt Tolkin

Eugene, Ore.– For years Anthony Hickerson has been without a stable home, but he hasn’t let that stop him from pursuing his passion for poetry. Hickerson can be seen daily on East 13th Avenue by the University of Oregon campus asking passerby if they’d be interested in hearing his freestyle poetry. He has been in Eugene for a mere six months and has already become a local icon.

But Eugene is not where his poetry career began. Hickerson is originally from Washington, D.C. He left and spent time in Atlanta, Georgia, then traveled throughout major cities in California performing his art. To him, poetry is more than just a way to make money.

“I just ask them if they like good poetry,” Hickerson said. “And truthfully its not about asking for money. Its about sharing my talent because I ask for anything that can help a homeless boy survive. It’s more like I’m trying to commit a service and not just ask for money.”

Life has not been easy for Hickerson. Aside from the well-known struggles of being homeless such as having trouble finding shelter and food, he has suffered racial harassment, assault and has been shunned by employers while searching for jobs.

Despite his struggles, Hickerson wants to continue sharing his poetry with the community.

“I believe my dream would be to continue to do what I’m doing–spreading poetry, spreading the arts,” said Hickerson. “It will awaken people, allowing them to chase their own dreams and not look for a big corporation to work for.”

Produced by Allen Hall Studios in partnership with KLCC.

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