Monday, June 28, 2010

Authors On The Rise Interviews Poet Aberjhani

Authors On The Rise is happy to bring you an interview from Author-Poet Aberjhani. Enjoy!

AOTR: Please tell us about yourself and the books you have written.

Aberjhani: I’m a fiction writer, historian, journalist, creative nonfiction writer, and poet, so my eight published books tend to reflect these different genres. I was born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, during the last century, birthday July 8, but have lived many places in the United States and outside the continental U.S.

AOTR: Which of your books is your favorite? Why?

Aberjhani: For me to choose a favorite book written by me is about as difficult, or even impossible, as for a parent to choose a favorite offspring. They’ve all provided reasons for celebration and gratitude, but my youngest, as in newest, is “The River of Winged Dreams” and I am amazed by this book for many reasons. It developed out of a need to move beyond a very painful stage in my life and I at first was unsure about sharing it with the public, but then I realized it was gifted to me at least as much for readers around the world as for myself. Much of the material came to me like visitations from angels, and just that aspect of the book’s creation is extraordinary in itself. I do talk about that in the book and on various websites. And my intuition about the work being for others as well was apparently correct because various artists have started to use excerpts to accompany their visual creations.

Where my other titles are concerned, I am deeply honored that according to figures posted on the WorldCat Library network, “Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance” (Facts on File) which I wrote with Sandra L. West, is in more libraries throughout the global village than any other encyclopedia on the Harlem Renaissance. That means it will stand as a lasting contribution and we can feel good about helping students all over the world with their homework [big smile here:] on that particular subject. On the other hand, “ELEMENTAL, The Power of Illuminated Love” is a very different and ambitious kind of book that showcases the award-winning art of Luther E. Vann with essays and poetry by me. That book took 17 years to complete and publish and is a modern rarity of its kind because Vann and I are both living creative artists with bona fide ties to the Harlem Renaissance and publishers rarely invest in books of this quality. “The Wisdom of W.E.B. Du Bois” allows me to share a by-line with the great Du Bois so that kind of speaks for itself. “Christmas When Music Almost Killed the World” was my first novel, so I have to respect that fact, and “I Made MY Boy Out of Poetry” was my first book, period, so it’s the oldest of my literary brood and claims its crown as a modern underground classic.

AOTR: What convinced you to write your first book and where did the inspiration come from?

Aberjhani: That would be “I Made My Boy Out of Poetry” as just noted. It developed out of a very active literary scene in Savannah, Georgia, during the 1990s. I was deeply involved with the Savannah Writers Workshop and the Poetry Society of Georgia, as well as with a very strong spoken word movement, so I was constantly generating both prose and poetry to present at public events. A lot of the work was inspired by personal tragedies and the very real need to find a way to believe in life and love again. At some point, it simply felt natural and like the right time to put my first book out there. Fortunately, I was blessed for that first edition with cover art by Gustave Blache III, who gave me permission to use his painting, “Portrait of a Young Man/Artist Spirit” which recently sold in a New Orleans art auction for a healthy five figures.

AOTR: What do you hope readers will feel or take away after completing one of your books?

Aberjhani: I hope they will feel like they just enjoyed a small feast for their mind, body, and soul, and that this small feast treated them to flavors they had not known before and perhaps both awakened and satisfied hungers they had not known they had.

AOTR: In a few words tell a reader why they should read one of your books next.

Aberjhani: Because it will likely take you into regions of rich emotional experience, intellectual stimulation, and psychospiritual adventures you will find exciting to discover, indulge, and revisit.

AOTR: Are you currently working on any books now?

Aberjhani: Interestingly enough, I’m currently working as part of an editorial team for a series of books on the Civil War and urban slavery in the United States’ Southeast. I’m trying hard to concentrate on nothing but that, but work as an editor has a way of sparking ideas so I am also working on the second edition of “The American Poet Who Went Home Again” and on a play about the tragicomic ups and downs of our contemporary times. But aside from books, I’ve been pretty busy this past year with my African-American Art Examiner column at

AOTR: When you are not writing what do you like to do?

Aberjhani: Watch films, listen to music, go to museums or art galleries, spend more money on books than my budget allows, and visit friends or family.

AOTR: Name three words to describe you.

Aberjhani: Creative, Blessed, Grateful.

AOTR: Do you have a motto?

Aberjhani: That would be this: “When stuck between rocks and hard places, use the pain of the pressure to create diamonds.” But I’ve also actually lived, and have the life scars to prove it, a great deal of my life based on the biblical first book of Corinthians, chapter thirteen.

AOTR: What do you hope to accomplish in the literary world?

Aberjhani: I hope to create worthwhile literary legacies that provide moments of relief, entertainment, or empowerment within a given individual’s life.

AOTR: How can readers find out more about you or order your books?

Aberjhani: By visiting my Authors Guild website at or my author page on Amazon at
They can also check me out at the Red Room Hall of Fame, which includes writers like Maya Angelou, Terry McMillan, Ishmael Reed, and President Barack Obama as well. And of course I can’t leave out Goodreads, Creative Thinkers International, Twitter, AuthorsDen, LibraryThing, Shelfari, MySpace and…

AOTR: Thanks for you time! Continued Success!

Aberjhani's 10 favorite things

Book:“Beloved” by Toni Morrison and “Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

Social networking site: Creative Thinkers International.

Dessert:Strawberry shortcake or peach cobbler.

Past time:Falling more deeply in love with life every day.

Poet:Jay Wright, Nikki Giovanni, Rumi.


Color:Gold and/or blue-violet.


City or town: Anyplace where I can sense that people at least attempt to live love.

Drink: I am such a coffee addict. Became one while stationed with the Air Force in Alaska.

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