In just 3 days we will experience Canvas of Words 3rd annual Art and Poetry Festival. And this year’s theme is Preserving Our Roots!! The excitement is growing and I cannot wait to see all these amazing artists come together to give a piece of their poetic souls honoring their roots. I hope y’all ready!
Thus far the poets who will be performing this Saturday have shared with us who they are, what it means to ‘preserve our roots’, and what we can expect at this year’s Canvas of Words event. Well today is no exception because I’m bringing you one of the most talented poets in NYC. He is Bonafide Rojas.
Bonafide Rojas is from the Bronx, has written three published books, and is part of Wendy Angulo Productions just to mention a few of his many achievements. Read the interview to learn more about this poet what he does, what he likes, what we will hear and a few extra surprises that you didn’t know.
Beauty, Brains, and Blogging: Can you please describe to us who you are, the work you do and your poetry?
Bonafide Rojas: My name is Bonafide Rojas, I was born and raised on the grand concourse in the Bronx and have lived there the majority of my life, with a few exceptions in my twenties. I’ve been writing poetry close to twenty years, I have three books published Pelo Bueno, When The City Sleeps & Renovatio which is the newest one, released this year on Grand Concourse Press. The work that I do ranges from teaching creative writing, painting in a group called VIKUBO & playing in a band called The Mona Passage. I love pizza, gin, blazers, a good leave in conditioner, and a good animated series.
BBB: I know that you are part of Wendy Angulo Productions, how did this partnership come about? How does it feel to be in this year’s Canvas of Words as your first time performing at a Wendy Angulo event?
B.R.: Well, I felt I was approaching a period in my career which I could hand over my day to day and booking duties to someone I felt comfortable with and after a few conversations with Wendy and the dialogues we had, I asked her to manage me, but only after she asked me if I was looking for a manager. It’s hard after fifteen years to say ok, I’m done with this, lets see if someone can do a better job.
For Canvas of Words, I’m excited & nervous, I know its her baby, so I’m happy to have been one of the people chosen, I heard I’m opening the show so you know, no pressure.
BBB: Preserving Our Roots is the theme, what has been your inspiration to create the poem you will be reciting October 11? Also, can you please share with us a snippet of what we can expect?
B.R.: I’ve been examining my family and our family line and how we got to New York City, deconstructing the truths and rearranging the perspective. Honestly, I have a strange family, I know some people say they do too, but our foundation is weak and I always wanted to know why, so I’m retracing how we got to this point, I’ll share a section:
‘they were plants, uprooted, potted, transported
the sun is different up north
every night there were six different shades
of boriqua on one table
they were given new nicknames
by new friends on new streets
with american names like alexander, willis,
bruckner, lincoln, this was home turf
new barrio, same as the old barrio but different
it carried the same accent pero no palm trees, no oceans
no morro, no yauco, no ponce, but it all
eventually came to new york
the apartment was small but their hearts are big
during the week they wore salsa as scarves
but wore america on sunday
jesus hangs on the wall in-between
two vejigante masks
the children: felicita, lipo, helen and israel were cubed adolescence in these
streets of mid 60’s south bronx
love can grow in sibling secret language
but sometimes the rivalries are too strong to ignore
I hear amazing stories of how close knit families are
how amazing their grandparents are, or how necessary
aunts and uncles are and I wanted to know, well why isn’t my
family the same? I appreciate and respect the hardships they
went through and I’ve always used that as a tracker of sorts
but my sister and I were just so different than the rest of the them,
So my current period of writing of retrospect is about family and reinterpreting our whole family line.’
I hope you all have enjoyed this interview as much as I did. His poetry truly leaves a lasting impression and this is just a section, imagine seeing him preform the whole piece in person!! I don’t think you want to miss him. Oh and get there early because as you read he is the first one up!!
This has been Beauty, Brains and Blogging approved!! 😉