Doughtry “Doc” Long, Jr. was a teacher, writer, published author, mentor and celebrated poet who taught and inspired many aspiring writers in Trenton. Last year, Trenton restaurants teamed up with Todd Evans, the Director of the Poetry Walk, to put on a tour of Trenton Poets in downtown Trenton.
This idea had initially been Long’s idea to help those he taught, but unfortunately, Long passed away before he could see it. Instead, Trenton Poets availed their works to honor the legend. This year, poets lined up their different pieces to honor him again.
“In order for you to be great, we’ll have to acknowledge your greatness, and (in) Trenton, we need to work on that a little bit better because we’ve had some great people from the city pass away,” Evans said.
Many Trenton residents got into writing through Long. Neisha Kelly, also known as Braveheart, is a poet within the city of Trenton. “I did (poetry) in high school, in college, and I did it as an adult, but to be honest, as an adult…I was kind of insecure by how my delivery was,” Kelly said.
Though she didn’t have Long as a high school teacher, she became a student under him later in life. “(Poets) feel comfortable coming in because they know you’re not going to be ostracized… (Evans)and Doc long really have an impact on me. I had two mentors because they give you the freedom to write what you want,” Kelly said.
She explained that two of them helped her achieve a voice in poetry by assisting with writing and creating poems to share with the world. During the tour, she partnered up with a street guitarist in Trenton and had them accompany her as she spoke her poem, “On my Front Porch.”
“That was amazing. I’ve always wanted to do a poem with a musical accompaniment, and it’s cool because I never met ( the guitarists) and it didn’t flow perfectly. It made me feel more at ease,” Kelly said.
This is not the last time Evans will host this event. It will happen every first Friday of the summer. “We’re gonna be doing this every first Saturday of the month all summer long…. it’s paying back because Doc was instrumental in a lot of the events and things…so for me, it’s paying back,” Evans said.
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