Corbin Louis releases music and poetry

By Amaranth Borsuk and Corbin Louis

Corbin LouisThis summer, IAS alum Corbin Louis (B.A. Culture, Literature & the Arts 2014; MFA in Creative Writing & Poetics 2017)  has been active in the poetry and music communities in Seattle, finding ways to share his work with a variety of audiences. Louis, a Seattle artist with deep roots in slam poetry and DIY music, says of his practice, "as a UW Bothell alum, my goal is to write with a reason. For me that means to advocate for the fight of enduring addiction and mental illness. All summer I've been pursuing this creative effort of vulnerability and release."

That creative effort has led to Louis to share his poetry in print and in person. Two poems about drug addiction appear in the June issue of Monday Night, a press that excels at curating concise issues of overlooked and earnest writers. These works illustrate the highs and lows of being sick and young and trying to make it through safley. Of the poems, Louis writes, "For me, publishing work is like transcribing your scars into a map. One that leads to a more honest and thoughtful place."

The same themes that occupy his writing permeate Louis's music as well, allowing him to share his thoughts and experience with a different audience. On July 13th, he released the 3 song EP Faithless, Wasted and Crazy Enough to Livewhose title speaks to the ongoing fatigue of working 9 to 5 while managing chronic pain, mental illness, and addiction. In Louis's words, "in this 8-minute project a decade of relapse and vocal training punches through the beat with anger and resilience. Specifically, anger about America's obsession with overworking and over policing people. My lyrics are a protest, a cry for help, and a celebration of survival." The EP artwork features Louis with egg on his face—literally—the vibrant yolk that drips down his forehead suggests his outlook: "life will hit you in the face. Why not sing through the mess?"

Louis has returned to performing both music and poetry this summer after a 17-month hiatus due to Covid-19. On July 30th he performed poetry & music to a jam packed crowd for Fremont Friday. On August 14th he performed live music at Ice Box Arcade with friends Philharmonic and Ronnie Rain. And on August 19th Louis read new poems at an open air reading in Volunteer Park hosted by Margin Shift, a longstanding reading series curated by Matt Trease and Deborah Woodard. The lineup was stacked with decorated Seattle talent; Thomas Ahneesan, Robert Lashley and Sarah Galvin.

Of his return to public performance, Louis writes, "Being back on stage was nothing short of a miracle. To strip yourself raw and channel all your passion, rage and desire to an engaged crowd. It's a psychic and hopeful exchange worth living for. My utmost thanks to the army of angels I call friends."

You can learn more about Corbin's work at his website.

* Photo by Tyler Farhner (@tyfriedrice)

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