Alex Geana, Harlem resident, blogger, and author of Side Step Me, recently sat down for a coffee date at the Hungarian Pastry Shop with NYC The Blog. Side Step Me draws on Alex's personal experience with "pill popping culture; a never-ending need for one night stands, conspicuous consumption, intoxication...encouraging the sensation of happiness through the lonely intimacy and sometimes fever of New York."
Having already done a question and answer session on Gawker with their commenters, and with a blurb appearing in Allure magazine about his book, NYC The Blog is putting Alex and his book in front of our huge audience. He handed me a copy of his book, and in return, I read it and sent him some questions via email.
NYCTB: Where do you live? And what do you like and dislike your current nabe? Do you have a favorite establishment in the neighborhood?
Alex: I live on 137th and Broadway, but moving shortly to 148th and Broadway, I really like the spacious apts in this area and the diversity. I love Fairway, I'm a huge grocery store buff and love cooking as often as I possibly can. Artists can't afford the East Village anymore, so it seems as though everyone moved uptown and I can't deal with the Brooklyn commute.
NYCTB: Why a book of poetry, as opposed to a fictional narrative for instance? Though a narrative does seem to run through the book, one of loneliness, glimmers of hope, anecdotes about chemically/substance altered states, and of acceptance of life on life terms. Is that accurate? In that respect, how is your life still the same/different from the times the poems reflect?
Alex: You're totally right. The narrative and through line came later, as I was editing and piecing the work together, I thought long and hard, about shared and common themes and how to tell a story using a poetry book. So in this way, it's unique. If you got the connectivity that holds the book together, then I feel confident other people will. All books should tell a story, to captivate. I wanted to put my poetry and short stories out there, with a sprinkling of photos. So this is was a great start. I wanted to do something different and I think I succeeded.
What I write is always written in the moment. I'm an observer above all else. Yet making the work come alive was important. Each poem at times, becomes it's own character. (i don't know if I'm making sense here). That was my primary goal. To tell a tale in a unique way, about the times we live in, the pills that are supposed to cure us, yet just contribute to the apathy that permeates our world.
NYCTB: Any parting shots?
Alex: Thanks for taking the time to review the book. I really hope people connect with it. It's been a work that's near and dear to my heart. I love hearing feedback.
NYCTB: Where can people buy your book?
Alex: They can buy the book through www.sidestepme.com, at Amazon and even at Target.com. It''ll be available in independent and gay book stores shortly.
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