EJ Antonio's fascination with words and music is not of consequence. She has been surrounded by those gifted with words and music her whole life. It was just 12 years ago when Antonio began to write poetry. She then went on to win a 2009 fellow in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts and ia a recipient of fellowships from the Hurston/Wright Foundation and the Cave Canem Foundation. Still, to this day, Antonio continues to write, perform and record her original works.
Antonio's work appears online at www.thedrunkenboat.com, poetz.com, and roguescholars.com, including being published in various Journals and magazines: African Voices Literary Magazine, Amistad Literary Journal, Terra Incognita, Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire, Mobius: The Poetry Magazine, The Mom Egg Literary Journal, One Word/Many Voices: A Bi-Lingual Poetry Anthology, and Torch. Also per Antonio's website, her work is forthcoming in The Encyclopedia Project. The Premier Poets Chapbook Series published her first chapbook, Every Child Knows, in the Fall of 2007, and she is one of the featured poets on the CD, Beauty Keeps Laying It's Sharp Knife Against Me: Brant Lyon and Friends (2010).
After writing a couple of articles about how much I enjoyed listening to and reading Antonio's Rituals in the Marrow: Recipe for a Jam Session CD and companion booklet, I was pleased to get an opportunity to speak with the artist herself, Ms. EJ Antonio.
How are you today? I am honored to have this opportunity to 'speak' with you.
Hello, AIDY. I’m doing well, and would like to thank you so much for your interest in my poetry and my CD, Rituals in the Marrow: Recipe for a Jam Session.
You're welcome. I want to first ask where you grew up and was poetry a part of your entire life? Did you know that you were going to become a writer and poet?
I lived in Spanish and Central Harlem in New York City until I was fifteen when my family moved to the Bronx. While I was an avid reader as a child, I was more focused on drawing and painting than I was in writing.
As a matter of fact, my first venture into writing a short story was a homework assignment from Mrs. Simmons, my fifth grade teacher. That story won second place in a contest for my school district. The teachers picked the best stories from the homework assignment and submitted them to the contest. They never told us kids about the contest. And it was a big surprise when, during a 5th grade assembly; I was called up to read the story and presented with a small paperweight plaque.