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Christopher Carmona


The Coney Island Poetry of My Pop Life: An Interview with Sheila Maldonado


Sheila Maldonado is a New York based poet, whose first book of poetry, one-bedroom solo, is a collection of poems that tell the story of her life from her growing up in Coney Island and Brooklyn to her heritage as a Honduran. Maldonado’s poems produce an almost photographic portrait of a young woman coming to terms with her life as a Central American struggling between her Latina and American identities on the streets of New York City and also the perils of growing up in the 1980s and 90s with TV and music becoming as Sheila says, “A third parent”. Filled with visceral images and witty observations, one-bedroom solo, is a rare meeting of controlled verse and the raw confession of Spoken Word. one-bedroom solo is published through Fly By Night Press, which is part of A Gathering of The Tribes, a non-profit organization literary organization for the promotion of underexposed artists, as well as a networking center and a locus for the development of new talent.


On a lazy Sunday afternoon, I skyped with Sheila Maldonado about her life and poetry. Sheila is a graduate of Brown University and holds a graduate degree in English/Creative Writing from the City College of New York. Currently she is a regular participant in the New York poetry scene and teaches part-time at Medgar Evers College and Borough of Manhattan Community College. She also works with Teachers & Writers Collaborative where she promotes poetry to the youth and is at the beginning of her publishing career. Sheila had just come back from an iced coffee, riding her bike, which she tells me is the current New York trend for a hot summer in the city when we sat down to talk about her life, influences, and her poetry.


CARMONA—Tell me about yourself…


MALDONADO—I live uptown, in New York, which means uptown Manhattan. I grew up in Coney Island and currently, right now; I just rode my bike from an iced coffee. I’m kind of bike crazy lately. I have been writing forever, since I was little and don’t plan on stopping, and I’m just still figuring out how to make that a life, even though I feel like it has always been my life in many ways. My family is from Central America, from Honduras. I grew up here so that definitely is a big factor and I feel very American but the older I get the more I get drawn into my family stuff which is over there . I am between a lot of worlds, which I think many people are.


CARMONA—In your book, you talk about Granada, do you have family in Granada?


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