April 13, 2017

POETRY MONTH! SPOTLIGHT ON MANUEL A. MELENDEZ


Poetry is like a song, like a psalm, like a prayer. Poetry is different things to many people, and April being Poetry Month,
The Latina Book Club is celebrating by featuring Latino poets all week long.


We are happy to welcome poet, author and artist Manuel A. Meléndez
and honored that he has graciously shared a poem with us at the end of our chat.



A CHAT WITH POET MANUEL A. MELENDEZ


Q:  We are celebrating poetry month so we'd like to know What poetry means to you? How and why do you love it so? 

Manny:  A poem was the first thing I wrote as a young boy.  And it all happened because I had a crush on this girl in school and I was too shy to speak to her, so I decided to write her a poem.  Of course, she thought I was weird, but thanks to her she made discover the creative side in me.  Then a few years later I came across a book, which I still have, titled “The Best Loved Poems of the American People.I was hook!  Poetry became an obsession, which also allowed the love of writing to develop wings and into writing short stories and then novels.  There's always a special place in my heart for poetry.


Q:  Tell us about your two poetry books. What themes do you explore?

Manny:  Actually, I have five poetry books.  I’ve been writing poems since I was 12 or 13 years old.  Last year for the first time, I took on the 30-30 Poetry Challenge, which became my last poetry book and one of the most revealing books I have ever written.  The emotions are raw and exposed many things that I have kept inside of me without sharing it with anyone. The themes in all my work are things I observed throughout the city.  Conversations I hear, and of course my own life's experiences, failures, happiness, and everything from angels and demons that dwell within.


Q:  Does writing poetry give you more freedom than when you write your books?

Manny:  That's a good question, and my answer is yes.  It allows me to dig deep in myself and can explore what makes me tick and how to I use my own emotions to create interesting characters in my other writings.


Q:  What advice would you give to young poets?

Manny:  Read the works of other poets, every format and remember that poetry is your own voice and don’t be afraid to be heard.  Poetry is an expression that have no rules, no specific format.  Poetry is your heart, your true spirit soaring as high as you allowed it to soar.


Q:  What poets do you enjoy? Who inspires you?

Manny:  I love Edgar Allan Poe’s dark poems, Robert Frost, Pablo Neruda, Federico Garcia Lorca, Julia De Burgos and the many contemporary poets who I support by attending their readings or through their books.  Again, the one who has influenced me the most is Edgar Allan Poe.  He showed me that it’s possible to write about death and demons as well as love and angels.


Q:  Share your social media addresses with us.

Manuel A. Meléndez' Books on facebook





PAGES FROM THE PAST


I came across a notebook
from those long ago,
young autumn days.
When life was filled with laughter,
and conquering dreams
inundated my innocent being.

And with time at my disposal,
I ventured into those pages,
inhaling the scent of ink
and smeared lead pencils
from the past.

Oh, such wonderful smells.
Conjuring nostalgic images
of old forgotten friends.
And a time that has forever
remained still.

And now with open arms
they welcome me.
Pushing aside
life’s burdens
that seem to suffocate me
in every waking moment.

Memories rushing through,
in a bombarding passion—
pulling at my heart,
moistening my eyes.

Oh, Lord! What can I do now?
To have those days back,
casting away my lonesome shadows,
my lonesome dreams.
To be real again…
and the poetry
I wrote for her
on those pages
from the past,
be words she will love forever.
--Manuel A. Meléndez

(From Searching for Myself)
Copyright held by author. Permission granted to reprint. All rights held by author.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Manuel A. Meléndez is a Puerto Rican author born in Puerto Rico and raised in East Harlem, N.Y.  He is the author of two mystery/supernatural novels, WHEN ANGELS FALL, and BATTLE FOR A SOUL, five poetry books, OBSERVATIONS THROUGH POETRY, VOICES FROM MY SOUL, THE BEAUTY AFTER THE STORM, MEDITATING WITH POETRY, and SEARCHING FOR MYSELF.  Two collection of Christmas short stories, NEW YORK CHRISTMAS TALES, VOL. I and II, and IN THE SHADOWS OF NEW YORK: TWO NOVELETTES.  The novel WHEN ANGELS FALL, was voted by The LatinoAuthors.com as the Best Novel of 2013, while BATTLE FOR A SOUL was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2015 International Latino Awards for Mystery Novels.  His short story A KILLER AMONG US was published by Akashi Books in SAN JUAN NOIR anthology.  

For more information please visit his website: www.manuel-melendez.com.



READ LATINO LIT!


READ LATINO POETRY!