One of the things I enjoy about being a producer is finding hidden treasures and showing them to the world. For my series Men & Women of Distinction I recently found a man hidden up in the northwest, quietly enjoying his retirement who is most definitely a hidden treasure in Arkansas. Miller Williams is a poet who lives in Fayetteville and ranks up there with the best of Americas contemporary poets. I first met Miller about a year ago. I went to his house to do a pre-interview for the show and had a chance to talk with him and his wife Jordan. I was greeted at the door by his three dogs who all barked at me, suspicious of my intentions. Over the course of the next hour the dogs eventually accepted me and I discovered Miller Williams to be a unique character whose life story was a compelling journey with a solitary goal. That goal was to become a poet. That initial meeting was followed by a sit down interview, the walk-and-talk and several more additional visits to scan photos and gather extra footage. During the year I worked on this project I think I did more than produce the biography of Miller Williams. I think I made a friend. Even though this project is over, I have another in production that occasionally brings me to the northwest part of the state. When I do I always stop by the house. I cant help it. I look forward to being greeted at the door by the dogs who are always suspicious of my intentions. And I look forward to sitting with Miller and Jordan to talk about whatever may come up.
This Sunday AETN is hosting a screening of the Miller Williams episode of Men & Women of Distinction up in Fayetteville. Im excited to share the hidden treasure I have found in Miller Williams. In the episode you will hear about his childhood, his education and his professional career. But more importantly, you will hear the story of his life as told in his own words. You will hear how he stood up to a racist when he was just a boy. You will hear in his own words the experience of reading a poem at Bill Clintons 1996 inaugural. And after the screening, Miller has been gracious enough to agree to read a couple poems. I hope anyone in the area and even those who arent will think about coming to the event. This will be a special event and I hope I can share it with as many people as possible.
AETN invites you to a free advance screening of Men & Women of Distinction: Miller Williams. Join the Fayetteville native for a reception and poetry reading, Sunday, Nov. 14, at 2 p.m. at the University of Arkansas Global Campus in Fayetteville.