Joseph Vazquez, born and raised in the Bronx. A Nuyorican Poet with the spirit of a Young Lord! Vazquez focuses his writing on the untold narrative of Puerto Rican people, social issues, his own life, and the young people he has worked with. In 2019, Joseph was published in an anthology titled “The BX Writers Anthology.” Joseph is also an advocate for the youth, he has dedicated over 15 years of his life to working with young people from all over NYC, especially the Bronx, and now in Central Florida. Vazquez is currently a Juvenile Probation Officer where he works with delinquent youth in helping them change their lives around, and to reduce the recidivism.
- Where did your love for poetry begin?
My love for poetry began when I was in high school. I went to Arturo Schomburg Satellite Academy in the South Bronx. One of the classes I was in, the teacher gave us an assignment to write a few poems. The poems were, What is Peace? What is War? And What does it mean to be a man? Initially I thought it was stupid, but I quickly fell in love with it and it helped change my life and opened many doors of opportunity. At the time when I started writing, I was living kind of a reckless life running the streets, but that school, poetry, and the faith in God I found, saved my life.
2. Where do you envision taking your writing?
I actually just got back in to writing poetry at the end of 2018. I had stopped for many years as I was distracted with life and also I was more focused on working with young people, helping them realize their potential and finding their voice. With all the years of working with young people, and looking back at my life and seeing my story, I just started feeling like I need to share it. This the second time I’m being published in an anthology since I started writing again. I’ve also been performing at venues as much as I can and was even blessed to be able to perform at a venue with my oldest daughter, who is ten years old, and just started writing poetry herself. I couldn’t have even dreamt that. I would love to publish my own poetry book, but I’m not putting any pressure or limit on myself.
3. If you could change the world through your poetry, what would be your message to heal the world?
The poetry I write is inspired by the impact that high school Arturo Schomburg Satellite Academy had on me, the many years of working with youth, and my own personal story and the stories I’ve come to learn. Since changing my life at 17 years of age, I have been working to help change the world by empowering the youth, helping them to find their voice, and for fighting for social causes I’m passionate about. From being an “at risk” youth to working with them, working with people of color, the message is: We matter, we have purpose, our story is just as much a part of the American story as any and it is a story of perseverance, resilience, and overcoming.
4. What brings you to Alegria?
What brings me to Alegria is what Alegria is about! My heart, desire, and what I feel is part of my purpose is to tell the story of LatinX people. I’m committed to that vision, I’m committed to the community of Alegria, I’m grateful to be a part of this project and I’m hoping I can give back and be of service to Alegria, Davina, and all the artists involved.
The LatinX Poetry Project is a poetic anthology with over 45 new LatinX Poets from diverse backgrounds. Purchase your book here.