Poet Feature: Deonte Osayande
Deonte Osayande is a writer from Detroit, MI. His books include Class (Urban Farmhouse Press, 2017) and Circus (Brick Mantle Books, 2018).His nonfiction and poetry have been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology, and the Pushcart Prize. He has represented Detroit at four National Poetry Slam competitions. He's currently a professor of English at Wayne County Community College. He also managed the Rustbelt Midwest Regional Poetry Slam and Festival for 2014 and 2018.
Current Book: Civilain https://amzn.to/2Tmd1r6
Let's get to know him... and then support his literary endeavors. If you have any questions, leave them in the comment.
Where are you from? Detroit, Mi
Tell us your latest news? Civilian (my latest project) was nominated for a Digital Book Award
When and why did you begin writing? Originally in 2008/09 I started writing for a class but I thought it was a dead art form.
When did you first consider yourself a writer? Soon after when I witnessed my first open mic and started contributing to it I thought of myself as a writer
What inspired you to write your first book? There was a situation that went on in the classroom I was teaching in and I had thought of my own experiences in the classroom as well as my struggles with classism.
Do you have a specific writing style? I'm ever learning, changing, evolving so no I won't say that I think I do.
How did you come up with the title? I had considered that what I went through in the past, I wasn't the only one going through such situations, that and my inspiration was Claudia Rankine's Citizen so I named it Civilian to embody that
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Just that through determination you can accomplish anything
How much of the book is realistic? Considering that it all actually happened to me, I consider myself a confessional poet so all of it
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? Lmaooooo, my own experiences
What books have most influenced your life most? Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, Autobiography of Malcolm X those immediately come to mind
What book are you reading now? I'll never tell, lol
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? None come to mind? Not really, I'm taking a year away from the community so I don't know anyone
What are your current projects? I'm working on a collection of poetry about diseases called Invisible and another collection of poetry. Aside from that, I'm always working on nonfiction to be published at a later date.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. The crew around the Broadside Lotus Press and more recently the Urban Farmhouse Press
Do you see writing as a career? Yep, can't stop doing it so I won't
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? Nope, I mean I'd change the circumstances that happened to me but also it was a good snapshot into my life
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I was always good at it as a student in high school but I didn't consider that it was a future in it, originally I wrote fiction and now I'm a whole poet but that's how life works I suppose.
Can you share a little of your current work with us? Hehehe, no, all I can say is it's about how my wife and I came together as two people with chronic illnesses and formed a life changing bond.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Now, as I'm getting older, I want to write more succinctly, I used to write these long poems but now as my life is settling down I'm writing shorter stuff
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? Oh man, I can't just have one, lol. If I had to choose two I'd say Rumi and Hafez for they both wrote incredible short stories in there poems and that's what I aspire to do.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? I used to, but considering I have my own little family now and a growing list of ailments I don't anymore
Who designed the covers? For Civilian I took a picture of the house my ex-fiancee and I lived in and sent it to the publisher cuz I was leaving that life behind me. The other two books the publisher picked them.
What was the hardest part of writing your book? Definitely editing, there will always be poems that just don't fit the structure of the narrative I'm trying to craft.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? I always learn something but I don't remember what it was lol
Do you have any advice for other writers? No amount of money can by a lick of time, that's from the Avengers, Endgame but it holds true. You don't write to become rich, you write because you love to.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Enjoy.
Other books by this author: https://amzn.to/36NOM90
Would you like us to feature you? http://motownwriters.com/sla