What’s the most romantic and creative Valentine’s Day you’ve experienced? After presenting his fiancé with a book of poetry for Christmas, Montclair’s Ibn Wallace knows it may be difficult to top his gift-giving. Although, perhaps he has earned some kudos that will carry him through today. His collection of poetry, HEAT OF A THOUSAND SUNS, was self-published and has been well received by family and friends, and of course his fiancé. In fact, the collection’s title is taken from a loving phrase in a recent birthday card from his fiancé when she wrote “I love you with the heat of a thousand suns.” With themes of perseverance, the power of God and faith, and the joy of finding romantic love, the collection is a retrospective that looks to the future in a personal way.
Mr. Wallace may have been known for his football prowess while earning two state championships as a Montclair High School Mountie, but it was discovering Langston Hughes’ poem “Harlem” while still in elementary school that inspired him to write poetry and use journaling as a long-term outlet. Wallace explains, “I actually enjoyed writing more than playing sports my entire life.” Calling writing a gift, he continues, “I needed something that would fulfill my destiny because I knew sports wouldn’t last forever.” The young poet also grew up seeing his father fill many notebooks with his own songs and lyrics. As a young Ibn read through them, he felt like he was in his father’s thoughts and witnessing his thought process. This introduced writing for pleasure and as a way to share personal experiences and insights to Wallace at an early age.
Wallace used his passion for writing in Heat of a Thousand Suns as a way to share more of his experiences and emotions with his future wife. With four dozen poems in various styles, he uses flashbacks to high school as well as sharing treasured memories of falling in love. Wallace’s favorite poem in the collection, “Madeline’s House on the Beach,” recalls the moment the couple fell in love enjoying the sunset on their weekend rental’s private beach. Despite deeply personal topics, both joyful and traumatic, Wallace hopes a more general audience will embrace a sense of hope and love from the collection. He says, “Love is deeper than what’s sold on as love on TV or advertised on a billboard. Love is a true spiritual and natural experience that everyone should not only experience but hold onto.”