Willie Perdomo

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Willie Perdomo is a Puerto Rican poet and children's book author.


  • How is one to reconstruct a memory of a place that doesn’t exist anymore? I mean the buildings are still there, but the faces are no longer the same. Gentrified NYC has pretty much eviscerated the nuances of particular neighborhoods, like El Barrio…
  • I use vignettes and dialogue as a way of relaying a moment. Storytelling is not a monotonic medium. Rule breaking is a conscious decision and, yes, it comes with consequences. I think the nostalgia is really a specific memory made of the right words that are more celebratory, elegiac, than nostalgic.
  • Corners. It’s always been corners. Corners help me see angles. All of Where a Nickel Costs a Dime was written on the corners of 123rd Street and Lexington Avenue in East Harlem. After hanging out for a day, an evening, or breaking night, I would retreat to my Olympia electric typewriter that was usually sitting on my desk, in the corner of the bedroom where I looked out of the window as a kid, and would get to work on a poem…
  • I tried to capture the recollection of that experience. As if to say, you have these war-like, traumatic experiences and you retell them and retell them and each time you add something that wasn’t there the first time. The truth effect of that is that it just becomes larger and larger because your memory details are at work. The question then becomes: how many of those little embellishments—how many of those little nuances—can you add up before they tell a larger truth about the time that you were living in? That’s really the effect of writing a book, I think…
  • I think the joy of reading any book is that you enter where you can, like reading a poem. Sometimes we start off with a title or we enjoy a piece for its sonic effect, an image, or innovation. Reading a book is more or less the same process. At the start, you might be outside the experience, but the language is specific enough that it will draw you in, first with its music and then with its attempt at recollection…
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