Advocate of Wordz: A Poet of the Bronx

Erik Maldonado, aka The Advocate of Wordz, performing at An Beal Bocht on Dec. 10 (Photo by Marisol Diaz via The Riverdale Press)

Erik Maldonado, aka The Advocate of Wordz, performing at An Beal Bocht on Dec. 10 (Photo by Marisol Diaz via The Riverdale Press)

Erik Maldonado, known in the Bronx as The Advocate of Wordz, is “perhaps the most dedicated proponent of poetry in the borough,” writes Shant Shahrigian in The Riverdale Press.

The 34 year old poet, son of a mixed Puerto Rican and Jewish father and Caucasian mother, grew up in multicultural Kingsbridge, where last May he hosted the Bronx Youth Poetry Slam. Also this year, he received a Bronx Recognizes Its Own Award, or BRIO, for his 2012 book “Wordz …A Book of Poetry and Other Creative Nonsense That is Imperative to Your Existence.”

Shahrigian caught up with Maldonado recently at An Beal Bocht Cafe on West 238th Street.

His powerful enunciation and expressive body language quickly commanded the attention of the dimly lit room.

“New poem,” Mr. Maldonado tersely announced before launching into his performance of “4 Letters:”

I turn acorns to bombs and play wingman at the barber
Make a motorbike out of bus seats and fly to lands that man don’t bother
Slip down slides too narrow for a 6’ 1” body just for the smiles I barter
All in the day’s work of me hoping to become a better father…

Maldonado offered some advice to young people about poetry.

“People can see that language has an everyday effect,” he said. “Not all the time does a 12-year-old want to hear, well, this will help you get a better job and a better status in society… I put it in a real-life context for them.”

The poet advises students to know who their audience is, not deny wrongdoing if they get caught and realize, “Teachers will let you get away with murder if you do the work.”

Go to The Riverdale Press to learn how Moldonado coped with dyslexia and questions about identity in his youth.

 

 

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