I grip my pen tightly magically transforming college ruled notebook paper into blue veins and flesh as my soul is now the residue of a No. 2 pencil lead.
You see Billie has become the mother of my poetic expression and the murderer of the childish chant of Roses are Red and Violets are Blue.
About the Poet
Juan Diaz started writing poetry when he was twelve years-old. He states that poetry is a way to unburden the soul and to help others see their reflection within the power of poetry. Juan Diaz is a graduate of Wilmington University where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. He is also the author of two books entitled Poet's Heart and Tears of War.
UBAWA: When did you first realize your attraction to poetry?
Juan: I first realized I had an attraction to poetry when I started to notice girls. I would write them simple love poems and give them away to the girls at school. As I began to mature, however, I started to write poetry about my neighborhood and the crazy things that took place. In other words, poetry became a way to vent my fear and pain.
UBAWA: Tell us about the very first poem you have ever written
Juan: The first poem I ever wrote was titled "Sheila" after a girl I had a crush on. I poured my heart and soul into that poem, letting her know how I felt about her. Unfortunately, she didn't feel the same way I did because she ripped up the poem in my face. I swear I cried for weeks.
UBAWA: Do you have a favorite poet? If so, who is he/she?
Juan: My favorite poet is Maya Angelou.
UBAWA: When you’re writing poetry, do you think in terms of genre?
Juan: No, I just let it flow naturally.
UBAWA: Some people say writing poetry is like writing a rap or love song. Do you agree? Why/why not?
Juan: I agree because a lot of emotions go into writing poetry just like a love song or rap. Plus, as a poet you want to write something your audience can identify with.
UBAWA: Are there certain styles/techniques/rules of poetry you adhere to in your writing? Tell us about your writing style.
Juan: I write "Free Verse," which means that I don’t observe any rules, I just go from the top of my dome. I'm kind of like a freestyle rapper when it comes to poetry.
UBAWA: What poetry books have you written?
Juan: POET'S HEART
UBAWA: Have you performed any of your poetry pieces on stage? If so, please share your experience(s) with us.
Juan: I have performed pieces on stage. At the end of my reading, people cheered and some cried, letting me know me know that they were feeling me as a poet.
UBAWA: What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of love?
Juan: The first thing that comes to mind when I think of love is two distinctly different souls coming together as one.
UBAWA: Are you currently dating someone, married, or single?
Juan: I'm single
UBAWA: Do you think success is a matter of chance or a matter of choice?
UBAWA: Inspiration for a new poem can come from the strangest places. What inspired you to write your most recent poem?
Juan: Listening to Billie Holiday's Strange Fruit is what inspired me to write my latest poem.
UBAWA: If you could go back and “right” any past wrong in your life, which one would it be and why?
Juan: If I could go back to right a wrong it would be to tell my first love that I cared for her deeply instead of being so withdrawn from her.
UBAWA: When you’re not writing, what are you doing?
Juan: When I'm not writing I'm usually spending time with family and friends
UBAWA: There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of a poet’s life, fill us in on what one typical day for you is like.
Juan: I get up go to work come back home and write for a few hours and go to bed
UBAWA: If you could create the “perfect day,” what would it be like?
Juan: That would have to be my wedding day, surrounded by family and friends in a big old church.
UBAWA: What do you do on the weekends?
Juan: I go out to the moves and eat out with friends.
UBAWA: Do you hang out or go to clubs?
UBAWA: If you could visit any other country in the world and take one other person with you, where would you go and who would you take?
Juan: I would go to Paris, with my sister
UBAWA: Tell us about one challenge in life that you had to overcome. What was the challenge and how did you get through it?
Juan: I overcame living with a physical disability known as Cerebral Palsy which has caused me to be wheelchair bound since birth. It was my faith in God, the love of my family and poetry that have helped me come to terms with my disability.
UBAWA: Before you leave, tell us one thing about yourself that we may not know.
Juan: One thing that people may not know about me is that I am going for my Master’s degree in Elementary Education.
UBAWA: Do you host contests or giveaways?
UBAWA: Any upcoming events that we should know about?
Juan: I'm speaking at a Latino art festival on March 17, 2013 in Wilmington, Delaware
Reach out to Juan:
Facebook: Juan Diaz