After publishing a book in each of the past two years, SUNY Oswego student Rickey Strachan is back with his third consecutive piece. This book, titled “The Beauty That Followed,” became available on April 22.

I hope that this three-part story has opened eyes to what it means to all compassion to have the place in your life it needs to to get through it,” Strachan said.

Maintaining the theme centered around different aspects of love mixed with smooth poetry, “The Beauty That Followed” is the third installment of his Valentine’s Day-themed series, including his first publication, “Things Cupid Whispered,” in 2021, and his second publication, “What I Did With Those Words,” in 2022.

With the previous editions of the series focusing on how to have affection for others and self-love, “Blank” dives deeper into living with love during periods of struggle and hardships.

“Being young is hard, especially with so much always going on. But after unpacking and navigating through that, I can say love conquers all if you let it,” Strachan said. 

The graduating senior said although he had experienced some ups and downs while writing the book, he acknowledged that the process helped him evolve as a writer and person.

“There's confidence and eloquence in my phrasing that was not here before. It's beautiful to see, honestly. I’d like to say I've completely reinvented myself,” Strachan said. 

“I'm finally living in my full truth of self — no hiding, smokescreens and no minimizing for others,” he added. “I’m here to create, uplift and occasionally rhyme. It feels good and is long overdue for me.”

As his time at SUNY Oswego ends, Strachan looks back at what he has accomplished during his four years. Strachan has shared his talents in numerous events across campus and played a role in a handful of student-led organizations, including creating one of his own, the Lakers Poets Society.

With just a few years of existence, the organization has grown into a platform for students to express themselves through spoken word. They held an open mic event this past Valentine's Day, capturing a big turnout filled with poets eager to share their personal stories with the audience.

With graduation less than a month away, Rickey is excited about what the future holds as he prepares for the next stage of his career as a writer.

“The plan is to participate in a home teaching program called NYC Teaching Fellows,” said Strachan. 

“I have about four books lined up, two being a prequel to this three-part story and some being interactive,” he noted. “But I'll take a nice hiatus from creation to properly rebrand and market while connecting with some creatives and publishers.”

Place in African American culture

In a society inching closer to establishing equality and inclusivity, poetry and self-expression remain a fixture in literature, regardless of the circumstance.

When discussing the African American community, poetry is “the note-taker in our fight for equality,” as Strachan calls it.

“Poets like Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, Rudy Francisco and Roya Marsh, all these creatives used and use poetry to eloquently express and paint a picture of our people that can be understood, whether easy to digest or not,” said Strachan. “And the fact we don't make its digestion our problem is the most poetic part of it all.”

Nonetheless, Strachan acknowledges that as much as poetry is writing, it can grow beyond that, symbolizing an emotion, a feeling a writer tries to portray to an audience.

“There is poetry to all forms of literature, as poetry to me is more of the feeling you get from reading or hearing something recited or said,” Strachan noted. “That feeling does not come exclusively from work branded as a poem. It can come from anything.”

Those interested in purchasing a copy of “The Beauty That Followed” can connect with Strachan via his Instagram account @Rickrhymz or can find the book, along with “What I Did With Those Words” and “Things Cupid Whispered,” on Amazon.

-- Written by Andy Guity of the Class of 2023