MEET THE ARTBURST WRITERS: NEIL DE LA FLOR
Neil de la Flor’s creative spirit has always been present, from his fashion design days in the late 2000s to his recent segue way into the writing world, it’s something that’s impossible to bottle up.
The Broward County native now considers himself a “native” Miamian after coming back to South Florida 22 years ago and settling here. “I returned to South Florida from the miserably cold Washington, D.C., where I was enrolled at George Washington University and although I loved the school and living in D.C., I hate cold weather,” he says.
He settled in South Beach in 1992, moved to the mainland in 2004 and is here to stay, saying he’ll never leave Miami.
He considers poet Maureen Seaton, his graduate thesis advisor and friend, as his biggest inspiration for his current career path. Although he’s always been creative, it wasn’t until after 2008 that he fully switched gears. “It wasn’t until I closed my fashion design business in 2008 — where I ran the business and not the creative end — that I decided to focus on making a living based on the creative energy in me, rather than expend it counting inventory,” he says.
Never considering himself an artist, although he is a writer, photographer, and teacher, everything he’s involved in directly or indirectly involves the arts and creative process in some way.
He received a Knight Arts Challenge grant award that allowed him to establish Reading Queer, an organization that empowers the gay community through the act and art of creative writing, and of which he is executive director. He is also a performing arts writer for KnightArts along with being a regular contributor to Artburst.
His list of published books is impressive. They include An Elephant’s Memory of Blizzards (Marsh Hawk Press, 2013); Sinead O’Connor and Her Coat of a Thousand Bluebirds (Firewheel Editions, 2011), co-authored with Maureen Seaton and winner of the Sentence Book Award; Almost Dorothy (Marsh Hawk Press, 2010), winner of the Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize; Two Thieves and a Liar (Jackleg Press, 2013) and the chapbook Facial Geometry (NeoPepper Press, 2006), both co-authored with Maureen Seaton and Kristine Snodgrass.
As for writing for Artburst, “it’s incredible and there should be more of these types of outlets,” he says.
Click here to read Neil de la Flor’s coverage of the dance troupe Diavolo.