Hiwot Adilow is an emerging writer who works at a crossroads of music, poetry, and performance. She has been a part of Madison-based music acts such as The Bellhops and ME eN YOU, but recently she has been writing and developing a new set of music as a solo artist. Adilow and her band were a hit at a Tone Madison-curated stage at the Willy Street Fair in September, and at the Line Breaks Festival this spring, playing effusive but subtly melodic R&B.
After moving to UW-Madison for school, Adilow hit the ground running with the campus arts community. She was recruited from her hometown of Philadelphia to be a First Wave scholar because of her work in the Philly Youth Poetry Movement and Brave New Voices. Her time in First Wave allowed her to meet peers and other artists who were seeking a community to create vibrant work. This community provided Adilow with the time to venture into music endeavors that would pave the road for her solo act and allow her to nurture music in a group setting, but she looked to step to the stage alone. The writing process is now in her hands and she seeks to hone her craft.
Adilow believes that the process of writing as a musician and writing as a poet go hand-in-hand. Her musical writing is poetic and flowing, while her poetry is harmonious and soothing. The coming year will be a big one on both fronts. She’s working on recording her new solo music, and she recently won the Two Sylvias Press Chapbook Prize for 2017. As part of the prize, Two Sylvias Press will publish her chapbook In The House Of My Father in 2018.
In The House Of My Father is a collection that centers around love and its many forms. From familial love, to romantic love, and even love from a heavenly father, her work is rooted in examining the relationships in her life, and it provides readers with new perspectives for working on their own. “[It’s] a book that explores love, but in a more concrete way, in a way that actually points at the questions that I have around it, versus just looking at it as a thing that’s not actually part of our lives,” she says.
Adilow is also a new guest lecturer for The Harbor, a writing community that focuses on young writers. Her experience as a writer will be used to help fuel the voices of other up-and-coming poets around the world.
Adilow sat down with Tone Madison contributor John McCracken to talk about her growth as an artist and her future as a poet and musician, and to read some of her poetry. Give the conversation a listen here, or subscribe to the Tone Madison podcast on Apple Podcasts.
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