Poet Rudwaan talks about pop culture icons, books and meditation

Trinidad and Tobago native Rudwaan transplanted to American in the early 1970s and started his career as a writer to express himself and free his mind of the dark images of his new home. “After moving to Atlanta in the early 1990s, I was introduced to the performance of the spoken word. This is when my writing took on a new purpose. Now, I would write, not only to unburden myself, but to share with others in a collaborative atmosphere. Instead of writing and discarding, I write and save. What you will read in my first published work is some of those works I wrote and saved,” shares the author of Endangered Speeches and THIS 2 IS LOVE.

Here, he shares his journey as a spoken word artist and an author.

How did you arrive at this career choice? Was it a deliberate decision or a gradual and natural evolution? To me, composing poetry and critiquing entertainment is more than a career choice, it’s an ambition, the evolution to embrace this art form was indeed gradual and natural.

What separates you from others in your field? What is unique to the experience that you create? I think we are all unique in our own way. Listening to my inner voice allows me to experience and interpret life from a unique angle. Accepting that uniqueness allows me to create from it.

For those considering entering this arena, what skill sets do you recommend mastering? What traits are most conducive to success? Mastering the skills necessary for effective communication, both written and verbal, is indeed crucial. Knowing who you are is the key that unlocks the door of success. When you know who you are at the core you know that you and success are one.

How do you stay at the leading edge of your craft? I know where I am relevant to the world around me at all times. I stay abreast of current events and how they affect society at large. I think, therefore I am.

How do you map out your goals? How do you measure your success? I keep my goals simple. I am always in remembrance of what is truly important in life. I maintain a division between ‘the world’ and ‘life’. I measure success by how well I am able to navigate between the two.

Name two of your top role models: one from your industry and one from outside of it. I am very careful not to erect role models as you can never completely know another person inside out. With that being said, the life of Patrice Lumumba relative to his stance for the people of the Congo against imperialism, when it was not popular to do so, inspire me.

Name three books, works, performances or exhibits that changed how you view life and/or yourself. These books I would say enhanced and confirmed my worldview, (1) The Isis Papers by Frances Cress Welsing, (2) Yurugu by Marimba Ani, (3) Two Thousand Seasons by Ayi Kwei Armah.

Why do you consider continued learning important? There are 360 degrees that spiral on infinitely. There is always another way to view a thing. Learning is essential.

What affirmations do you repeat to yourself that contribute to your success? I am a divine being having a human experience in this temporary realm. In the math of life, the sum of my experiences equates to this temporary existence.

What role does technology play in your day-to-day life? How do you utilize it? Technology is the chief communication means of the day. I don’t allow it to replace inter-personal communication. I use it with moderation.

Please define your personal brand. Creative spontaneity is the spark of life generated by electrical impulses cloaked as thoughts. Deep and regular meditation allows me to access those thoughts that are emanating from my higher mind and allow them to become. I am that I am.

What is your favorite vacation destination and why? Home, Tobago, it is truly paradise and reminds me of my humble yet happy beginnings on this journey.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be? Relevant to the African struggle in the Diaspora and to a larger extent the continent, I would rewind time to the era of emancipation and choose as an African people to do for self rather than struggle for integration. Instead we would demand reparations for the crimes of enslavement and build a bridge to our Motherland Africa. We would be in a far far better place today, no Ferguson on a regular basis, the stats of a black persons killed by police or extra-judicial persons every 28 hours would not exist.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Take my gift for creative writing much more seriously at an earlier age.

What does it take to be iconic? In your estimation, who has achieved that status? I think this Western society nurtures people to be needy and self-depreciative. A culture that thrives on people living their lives through others has flourished unabated, reality shows are but distractions from reality. Icons are constantly being produced as a result. For me, personally, while I may admire the way you present your gift to the world, I do not erect icons before the God in me.

What keeps you inspired? I marvel at the simplicity of the breath. Life inspires me. The interdependence between the trees and human life on this planet inspires me, that is sheer poetry.

What’s on your playlist? I love music that vibrates the soul, whether its from Earth Wind and Fire, Marvin Gaye to Black Coffee, Peven Everett, Goapele to sweet calypso by The Mighty Sparrow, Singing Sandra to reggae from Peter Tosh, Bob Marley and Beres Hammond, not to mention meditative sounds.