Photo by Shawn Phillip
Meet Antonio Weathers! Antonio is a senior, WLP, major at Emerson College about to publish his book, Bird Folk. The book will be published through the Wilde Press branch of Emerson's Pub Club! Here's what Antonio had to say about his book.
What inspired you to write Bird Folk?
Bird Folk, is mostly created through my contemplations as a person, more than a writer. You always learn that there’s this constant pressure in being yourself. If that pressure includes being an American, being Black, while finding out who you’re as an individual (being my own personal set of beliefs and ambitions). It becomes a journey of finding a way to communicate. I’ve learned that it’s a way of showing my personal progression. I never enjoyed speaking about how I felt emotionally, so these poems was a way for me to communicate that pressure without having to be direct. Growing up, my main thought when writing poems was to communicate how I felt into something tangible instead of bottling it inside.
Another thing, is that I always enjoyed people reading my poetry. As a child, I use to write out poems, go on Word, and create lil’ pages of poetry and a teacher by the name of Mr. Ochmed would take these poems and share them to my peers. There was a gratifying feeling knowing that there’s an audience who can enjoy, and even relate, to the work you make. That’s why I always aspired to be a writer.
You decided to donate all proceeds to Boston Scores. What was your motivation behind choosing them to receive your donations?
My motivation wasn’t too hard. My mother would always tell me to give back to those who helped my development. There was many programs and institutions that helped me to develop. For instance, Freedom House, an company made to give back to the community and help the community develop, taught me to always have a plan. ICA Slam Team taught me was of expressing myself (off of paper), to look at art more thematically, and to work with others as a family. EmersonWRITES also taught me how to think creative and introspectively as writer. Emerson College, has helped me become knowledgeable.
New England Scores After-School Program for Poetry and Soccer, or Boston Scores, was one of these programs. It was a program that kept me off the street and made it easier for my mother, in a sense, to take care of me while she worked. It give me an environment that was positive, leadership built, and encouraging, which helped me develop more positively as a person. It was also the program that showed that I had some potential in poetry. During my 5th grade, I won one of the candidacies for Boston to go to the National Scores Poetry Slam. Where we and many other children across the US were able to go the New York Bell Ceremony to present our poems. It was one of those instances where I thought, “I really wanna be a writer.”
What was the biggest challenge in writing Bird Folk?
The biggest challenge is honestly myself. I feel like I’m too limited. In terms of diction, in terms of knowledge, and experience. I felt since I’ve only encountered what it’s like to be myself and to be in Boston. I believe I don’t have the capacity to produce my ‘best’ work. I’m not saying I’m dumb or anything, but to paint a clear picture it’s always best to use your eyes instead of a book and a brush instead of a finger.
The biggest success?
I believe that the collection shows my potential. Some of these poems are poems that I worked on by myself mostly from start to finish. A lot of it is me critiquing my own work and thinking of adjustments that could placed. One of my teachers would say that a poem is a piece of literature that could always be adjusted and reillerated. I completely agree, but I enjoy the result and feeling of “completion” from these poems.
Is this the first time you have been published? If so, how does it feel?
Yes, it feels amazing because it’s one of the ambitions I wanted accomplish. It’s also nice to see a tangible representation of myself that others could carry around.
Is there anything you wish you could change?
I always believed things would happen for a reason, so I wouldn’t wish to change anything. Sorry, if that sounded like a roundabout answer.
What is one thing you want everyone to know/keep in mind about your book?
Give it time, it will need your patience, and do enjoy! I’m very appreciative in those willing to read my work.
I'd like to offer a quick congratulations to Antonio and all the hard work he put into writing Bird Folk! It couldn't have been easy! As a member of Pub Club myself, I had the opportunity to work closely with Antonio’s book, and I've got to say, it's a must-read! Make sure to stop by Pub Club's book launch to purchase your copy of Bird Folk for only $8.00! And, in addition, remember that all the proceeds from Antonio’s book will go to benefiting Boston Scores! For more information about Pub Club's book launch event, check out our article!