Jan 152016


How and when did you decide, or discover, that you were to be a writer?

When I was young, in the 4-5 grade, I wrote a poem and everyone in my family really responded to it.  Also, I read History books on Phyllis Wheatley and read her poems at around the same time: 4th grade.  I attended Scott Joplin School in Chicago and I would just take books out of the library that had to do with African American history, African American poetry.  I read Lorraine Hansberry and Langston Hughes and this fueled my desire to write.

Describe your writing process.

I am a historian first.  I do a lot of thinking and reading and researching.  I do not write every day.  I have a project in the works every day; But most often, I am processing a concept everyday.

What was the inspiration behind what you’ll be reading at Waterline?

So many things inspired my work.  My poems are blues poems that reference art, music and develop a literary format for art and literature.  The main thing that encouraged me to create these poems was that someone told me that I could not combine writing, music and art.  This was my main form of inspiration.  I had already begun working on the concept of blues poetry, but when this person, an academic, said it had been done but that I could not do it, I dove right in and never looked back.  Also, my grandparents lives inspired the work.   I don’t write about myself, my friends, or my parents; but my grandparents lives were very interesting.

What are you working on now?

I am roaming through ancestry.com and seeing what’s there.

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