Q & A with Poet Mercy L. Tullis-Bukhari

Next in the series of interviews with participants in this year’s Bronx Book Fair is poet, fiction writer, essayist, and teacher Mercy L. Tullis-Bukhari.


Are you from the Bronx? If yes, which neighborhood? 

I am from The Bronx. I grew up on the Grand Concourse, but later moved to Co-Op City. I just moved to New Rochelle (which is right outside of The Bronx!) four years ago with my family.


Does the Bronx play a role in your writing? If so, please explain. 


The Bronx is a character in my life, in my existence, and everything I am and do. So, yes, it plays a role in my writing. My kids go to their suburban elementary school in Tims, and I keep my door-knocker earrings nearby. My feet touch Bronx concrete at least three times a week, to keep me grounded and keep me aware of my beginnings. I know and accept fully that to call myself a “Bronx Poet” means that I still need to be Bronx, regardless of where I am. We are Bronx, and my children are reminded regularly of where they were born, and where their mother is from. Part of my reminding them is to write about my experiences. Who I am, today, I would not be if I did not have The Bronx as my setting for all the stories and poems I tell.


What are you most looking forward to at the Bronx Book Fair? 


I am most looking forward to doing my thing on a Bronx stage. I am so, so grateful for all of the opportunities that have come my way, but there is nothing like repin’ your borough and getting love from your borough, right in your backyard.


What would you like attendees to take away from your reading/talk? 


I want them to be open with what I share. Whatever they get from what I give, I want that take-away to be my gift to them.


Please tell us about any current or upcoming projects you are working on that we can look forward to. 


Over the summer, I will be attending a Callalloo writing workshop at Oxford in the UK. I will be attending The College of New Rochelle in the Fall to receive my second Masters. There, I will be getting my MFA in Creative Writing. I am currently organizing my poems for my second collection of poetry. I can be found on FB, IG as mercy_lapoeta, and mercytullisbukhari.com. Until my next collection comes out, I am going to continue to promote my first collection of poetry, SMOKE.


Mercy L. Tullis-Bukhari will be on the panel A Conversation: Women, Arts Activism, Creativity and Social Responsibility on May 7, 2016 at 3:40 pm.

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