Bio

Emmett Wheatfall lives in Portland, Oregon where he writes, records, publishes and performs poetry. Fernwood Press, an imprint of Barclay Press has published 2 books of Emmett's poetry. His collection titled As Clean as a Bone was published in May 2018 through Fernwood Press. As Clean as a Bone was a 2019 Eric Hoffer Award Finalist as well as a da Vinci Eye award finalist. Our Scarlet Blue Wounds is his latest collection and was published in November 2019. Our Scarlet Blue Wounds examines poetically American “Exceptionalism” in light of today’s political, social, and economic constructs.

Emmett has recorded one non-lyrical (without music) poetry CD titled I Speak and four lyrical poetry (with music) CDs. They are When I Was Young (2010), I Loved You Once (2011), Them Poetry Blues (2013), and Welcome Home (2017). These CDs feature some of Oregon’s most gifted and talented jazz, blues, and gospel musicians. Somebody Told Me (2020) is his first lyrical poetry gospel single. His latest release is Amazing Grace featuring LaRhonda Steele (2020). These releases can be viewed, heard, and or downloaded from major online music sites such as Amazon Music and Spotify, including a host of other such download sites.

Since 2014, Emmett has served on the Nomination Committees for the selection of Oregon Poet Laureate Peter Sears, Elizabeth Woody, Kim Stafford, and Anis Mojgani. The Oregon Poet Laureate fosters the art of poetry, encourages literacy and learning, addresses central issues related to humanities and heritage, and reflects on public life in Oregon. The poet laureate is appointed by the governor of the State of Oregon.

Emmett was a featured poet at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the March on Washington (Portland Event) where he delivered his original poem written for the occasion, Miles to Go Before We Sleep. In addition, he was the keynote speaker at the screening of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech for the Oregon Historical Society’s Oregon Black History Series program, “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom Fiftieth Anniversary” on August 28, 2013.  

In October of 2017, Emmett gave the keynote address at the Oregon Poetry Association's Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon. The title of his keynote address was "Can Poets Change the World?"

In 2020, Corban University in Salem, Oregon filmed a 9-Part Series featuring poet Wheatfall. This series was made possible by generous grants from the Library of America and the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of Lift Every Voice, a year-long national celebration of African American poetry. A Brief History can be viewed at the following Youtube link https://youtu.be/JFZM7Iqwnsg. 

Emmett has performed lyrical and spoken word poetry in Portland jazz venues such as Ivories Jazz Lounge and Restaurant, Tony Starlight's Supper Club and Lounge, Backspace Caf√© (formerly), Portland's fabulous Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, and many venues in Portland and throughout the State of Oregon. Emmett has had the distinct opportunity to headline at Jimmy Mak’s; the former premier Northwest Jazz club once regarded as one of America's top 100 Jazz Clubs. 

Emmett has performed and recorded with world-class Jazz and blues musicians in the persons of Noah Peterson (Peterson Entertainment LLC), national and international jazz recording artist Darrell Grant, Gordon Lee, Andre St. James, Brandon Woods, and John Thomas; Canadian pianist Gaea Shell, Eldon T. Jones, James (Jim) Blackburn, and Ramsey Embick (former pianist and bandleader for the Pointer Sisters); notwithstanding Portland's late-great and legendary bass player James Miller. The "Boss of the B-3 Hammond" Mr. Louis Pain, aka “King Louie,” as well as Carlton Jackson, Peter Dammann, Renato Caranto, and Edwin Coleman III; Salem, Oregon great Nathan Olsen, and Portland concert pianist Michael Allen Harrison. Portland vocalists Barbara Harris, including the highly regarded jazz, blues, and gospel artist LaRhonda Steele. Most noteworthy is the late great Grammy-nominated jazz, blues, gospel pianist extraordinaire, Ms. Janice Scroggins.

Special mention is made of his longtime personal assistant, Carolyn Lee.