Steven Reigns, poet and next presenter at Eduardo Santiago’s Idyllwild Author Series, is from St. Louis. And although place of birth does not necessarily define one, it can inform one’s choices and determine how one navigates the world.

Reigns’ poetry has been called plainspoken. In fact his poems, though difficult of subject matter, are sparse, precise, easily accessible and yet inordinately powerful in the simplicity and directness of the words he chooses.

Steven Reigns. Courtesy Steven Reigns

He speaks of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of careless parents, the unconditional and unjudgmental love of a grandfather, and of being bullied as a boy for being gay. But, for any boy who has ever waited in center field for a pop fly he was certain he would drop, or for a girl who has worn something she thinks is wonderful only, to be dismissed and ignored, there is in Reign’s evocative words, recognition ¬— an understanding that any one of us could have stood there waiting to disappoint an already disapproving parent or vainly hoping to impress a schoolmate.

There is also, in the way he reads his poems and answers an interviewer’s questions, a simple and direct respect for the audience and the questions. “I write the way I do out of respect,” said Reigns. “If readers give me their time, I must honor that. I’m flattered that people pick up my books and read them. That is something I want to honor by producing good work.” Of the simplicity, the plainspoken nature of his writing, Reigns said, “I don’t want the readers to feel they are solving a puzzle.”

He writes, what reviewers have called, autobiographical poetry. He will talk about his latest collection, “Inheritance,” as part of the Idyllwild series. These poems, mini-memoirs of Reign’s formative years and the challenge of having lived through the AIDS crisis, are organized in three chapters, each headed with words taken from last wills and testaments — “Seized and Possessed;” “Devise and Bequeath;” and “Residue and Remainder.”

Inheritance, as Reigns writes, is not about receiving money or material, but about what is psychically left by triflers and abusers after one’s youth and adolescence has passed.

Early in the beginning of what has become a very successful career, Reigns wrote about both real and imagined scenarios. He soon abandoned that as inauthentic and lacking the requisite bravery that honest communication with his audience demanded. “I needed to step out from behind a curtain,” he said. “The struggles I faced were grave. What was the right amount of disclosure? How does one say the unsaid?”

What he learned and continued to practice was to give voice, on the page, to total honesty, no matter how difficult. “I trusted the page completely,” he said. He could say in his writing what he would not say in person, in conversation, even with the closest of friends. “I feel safe in exploring things in my writing that might embarrass me in person,” said Reigns, revealing a bit of his Midwestern sensibility.

In addition to a degree in creative writing, Reigns holds a graduate degree in clinical psychology. He uses both in his many workshops for LGBT teens, seniors and people living with HIV/AIDS. He is both teacher and activist. “I could not have been an educator without having been a writer first,” said Reigns. “I feel great fulfillment in connecting people with information. Poetry is one of my great loves and I get to share that in my teaching.” As to the compatibility of his two loves, poetry and psychology, Reigns quoted Sigmund Freud, “Everywhere I go I find a poet has been there before me.”

Reigns appears at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 30, on the upper deck of Café Aroma. He is the first poet in Santiago’s series. There is no charge for admission.