He Art is my first self-published chapbook of poems. It is semi-autobiographical and it is talking directly to the “he.” That is why I called it He Art, because it talks to the “he” through the art of poetry. All the poems deal with the theme of love and relationships, which is why I thought He Art is an appropriate title.
In 2003, you were selected out of 500 participants to represent New York City in Chicago at Brave New Voices poetry competition. Tell us about this experience.
The experience was nothing short of amazing. Every year Youth Speaks hosts an international festival and competition of poetry for the youth, ages 13-19. I was selected alongside four other participants to represent New York City in the festival, which was held in Chicago that year. Although it was a competition, it never felt that way. It felt like a festival where poetry and spoken word was encouraged and celebrated. Our team was sponsored by Urban Word NYC, an organization that advocates for literacy through poetry and theatre for teenagers.
In addition to poetry, you also write non-fiction. How do you balance all of your writing interests?
Writing is what keeps me balanced. I don’t have a set formula, although I think I should. Whenever I am inclined, I write. Sometimes it’s a blog, a journal entry, an article, an essay, fragments... but mostly they are poems.
You’ve attended a writing retreat at Bennington College in Vermont. How did this experience benefit you?
The retreat benefited me because it is always refreshing to be amongst other writers who love their craft. It was also very peaceful. I got to write with exceptional writers and when class was finished I went into my room, which sat on a hill and stared into nature, while on my wooden desk there was nature compressed, ready for me to write. It is such a nifty idea to be in an environment that completely supports your desire to write. The world couldn’t be more perfect than that.
You’re actively involved with a number of not-for-profit organizations. Can you tell us about your interests and passion for helping others?
If it weren’t for my mentors now and then, I wouldn’t have the self-confidence to write and to continue to write. It is because of them that I want to give. I was given this talent, so it is only natural to keep giving.
Where can readers learn more about you and your work?