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An Interview with Brenardo Taylor

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Brenardo is a lyrical adventurer of word and sound. The poems he brings to the fore show his versatility as a ‘Page Plus Performance Poet.’

Born in Washington DC in 1955, Brenardo (the Sing-Song Poet) is currently a resident of Baltimore County, MD. He has been writing poetry of all facets for over two thirds of his life. This journey has taken him to platforms all over the world, where his work has been seen in countless journals, newspapers, magazines, poetry anthologies in print and online. He has performed his poems and songs at festivals, schools, libraries, coffee houses, cruise ships and assorted other public and private events, where he has astounded those in attendance. He has presented alongside Amiri Baraka, Sonya Sanchez, Dick Gregory, and other esteemed visionaries.

Brenardo is a veteran of the United States Navy, and a veteran of stage, radio, and television. His poems speak to civil rights, human development, and spiritual acknowledgement and growth. An alumnus of the Poets In Progress, under the tutelage of the late Dolores Kendrick, Poet Laureate for the District of Columbia; as well as the Anointed P.E.N.S. He is currently a member of the renowned poetry troupe Collective Voices, and a freelance poet.

He has recently completed work on the expansion & follow-up to his 2019 chapbook Bridge Over Trouble with Bridges Over Aggravated Troubles.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

Life led me to write. Trying to make sense of my thoughts and feelings about what I was perceiving of the world and myself. Initially influenced by stories from the Brothers Grimm, then to Dr. Seuss, Langston Hughes.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

An overwhelming for a response to my chap book Bridge Over Trouble showed me that I needed to put more message poetry out into the world to help others navigate these age-old situations weighing heavily on people’s hearts and minds.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

Bridge Over Aggravated Troubles was easy to find by simply extending it from my chapbook, then incorporating one of my favorite techniques using the first letter of each word to provide its own sense of meaning.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

The obvious answer is “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Time Passages” by Al Stewart, “You Are All I Need” by Jean Carne, “Keep Looking” by Sade, “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley, “To The End Of The World” & “Last Train Home” by Pat Metheny, “Pure Gold” by EWF, and “Someday We’ll All Be Free” by Donny Hathaway.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I was a mail clerk for the post office, a telecommunications technician for Verizon, a Boatswains mate & a Yeoman for the United States Navy. Seeing my locs the way they are, very few would ever know me to be a Sailor.

What books did you read (for research or comfort) throughout your writing process?

I read poetry or should say reread poetry from Langston Hughes. I read the 1619 Project, and The Greatest Salesman.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I hope that readers take away the idea that every facet of life can have its challenges big or small, but with a spiritual insight & connection of faith, hope, and love you can overcome those things trying to bring you down. My perfect reader is anyone with an open heart and mind.

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