WELCOME, AND HAPPY ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER HERITAGE MONTH

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Billy Chapata

5 Questions with ‘Flowers on the Moon’ Poet Billy Chapata

Billy Chapata is a Zimbabwean writer based in Atlanta, Georgia and the author of two insightful and thought-provoking collections of poetry: Chameleon Aura and Flowers on the Moon. To commemorate Black History Month, Billy shares his book recommendations, reveals what’s on his to-be-read list, and offers an important reminder that Black history can—and should—be celebrated every day.

 

Billy’s Favorite Bookstores

 

Billy Chapata (BC): I have so many bookstores around the world that I love and adore, but one of my favorites would have to be a nice little spot here in Georgia called Phoenix And Dragon located in Sandy Springs. The store is driven by energy and spirituality, so most of the books in the store centralize themselves around those themes, but the charm is not necessarily just in the books but in the atmosphere: calm, relaxing, soothing, and healing, which is my kinda’ vibe, especially when I’m reading.

 

Recommended Reading

 

BC: There are so many recommendations I could make! Both modern and past, but if I was to nudge anyone in any direction it would be towards salt. and Nejma from Nayyirah Waheed—she writes so beautifully and poignantly. Helium by Rudy Fransisco is a really beautiful read and one I would recommend too. The Alchemist from Paulo Coelho and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe if you’re more into novels, and any poetry collection from Langston Hughes or Audre Lorde is a good pick-up as well!

 

Billy’s TBR List

 

BC: The list could go on and on. But one I’m patiently waiting on is Clarity & Connection written by my good friend Diego Perez (Yung Pueblo) dropping sometime in April. It should be a beautiful and enlightening read.

 

On the Meaning of Black History Month

 

BC: A month isn’t enough to quantify the impact of Black history, so that has always been such a difficult question for me to answer. Black history should be celebrated every day because it’s not celebrated enough, appreciated enough, or nearly understood enough. But what Black History Month does allow for me to do is to breathe, step back, and appreciate all the strong, resilient, and beautiful people of color who have paved the way for me and many others before me. It allows me to reemphasize my blackness in spaces that want to shrink it. It allows me to remember who I am, my magic, and to remember that it goes beyond the color of my skin.

 

Looking Forward

 

BC: [This year, I’m looking forward to] growth. A lot of seeds were sown in 2020, and I’m looking forward to seeing those things come to fruition. For myself, for my family, for my friends. I’m looking forward to seeing myself and everyone around me grow more into their purpose.