TJ Armand Will Release Poetry Collection 'Self-Imposed Exile – Poems of Queer Beginnings'

The book is available now on Amazon in 3 formats: Print, E-Book and audiobook on Audible.

By: May. 23, 2024
TJ Armand Will Release Poetry Collection 'Self-Imposed Exile – Poems of Queer Beginnings'
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Award-winning Turkish-American writer, composer, and producer T.J. Armand - who recently produced the critically acclaimed albums for Tony award nominee Mary Bridget Davies and Windsor Castle’s resident sextet The Queen’s Six - will release his debut poetry collection, "Self-Imposed Exile – Poems of Queer Beginnings." This evocative collection of 56 selected poems offers a candid exploration of Armand's formative years, capturing the raw essence of his journey as an immigrant and a young queer artist.

Armand, whose diverse artistic portfolio spans three decades, was mentored by the late Grammy-winning producer Arif Mardin. He is a full-scholarship recipient from Berklee College of Music. Armand's multifaceted career includes notable concert productions with Chaka Khan, The Manhattan Transfer, and Tony nominee (for her role as Janis Joplin) Mary Bridget Davies. As a co-founder and Executive Director of Armand and Paiva LLC, he has invested in Tony-nominated shows such as "The Great Comet" starring Josh Groban, Stephen Sondheim’s "Merrily We Roll Along," and the currently in-development production of Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own." 

"Self-Imposed Exile – Poems of Queer Beginnings" delves into the politics of immigration, sexual identity, and the struggles of a young artist. Readers will find a deeply personal reflection of Armand's experiences—from the heartbreak of losing a beloved partner in 1994 to the challenges of mandatory military service, and the naïveté of his college years to the struggles of coming out in America. These poems present an unfiltered look at a young man's fight to carve out his identity. Compiled during the reflective period of the COVID-19 lockdown in New York City, the collection revisits the tumultuous and often humorous false starts of Armand's early life. 

 "Self-Imposed Exile – Poems of Queer Beginnings" is available now on Amazon in 3 formats: Print, E-Book and audiobook on Audible. Or please visit TJArmand.com.

The Poems: 

Reflecting on the creation of this collection during the pandemic, Armand shared, "It was an opportunity I had during the pandemic, and a reflection was possible because all my other works had been suspended because of the lockdown. It gave me the opportunity to reflect on a lot of things, including being a young gay immigrant, coming out, a period of time especially in the 1990s that I wanted to go back to and scrutinize further."

**Self-Imposed Exile** 

In "Self-Imposed Exile", the poem, Armand reflects on the challenges of his immigrant experience both in his homeland and here in the U.S . "There's a double challenge. I mean, you're essentially coming out and coming from a very heteronormative background in a patriarchal society, not to mention adapting to a new culture with very little life experience ," he explains. 

**He Said, He Said**

"He Said, He Said" blends humor and tension to depict a complex relationship. Armand emphasizes, "Humor is an amazing defense mechanism, and I think for LGBTQ culture it is and has been especially important, and I certainly use it in my poetry." The dialogue-driven format of the poem captures the cultural clash and personal misunderstandings in a relationship between two immigrants, highlighting the balance between affection and frustration.

**A Velvet Requiem**

"A Velvet Requiem" is a haunting reflection on loss, grief, and unresolved emotions, shaped by the suicide of Armand's partner in 1994. "It was the first tragic experience in my life. It was such a shock that I think I finally, after so many years, had a calmer, more mature way of looking at it and also accepting what I can't accept of it," Armand reveals. The poem's somber tone and introspective depth create a narrative of enduring sorrow and the complexities of forgiveness.

**Police Raids Gay Bar (Again)**

"Police Raids Gay Bar (Again)" vividly portrays the oppressive reality of queer spaces under siege. Reflecting on his experiences in both Istanbul and Boston, Armand notes, "The more things change, the more they stay the same. Unfortunately, that is still the reality we face today." The poem captures the vulnerability and resilience of the LGBTQ community, with humor as a tool for coping with trauma and asserting defiance.

T.J. Armand is an award-winning Turkish-American writer, composer, and producer with a career spanning over thirty years. He began his journey in the arts under the mentorship of Grammy-winning producer Arif Mardin, which led to a full scholarship at Berklee College of Music in 1990. Throughout his career, Armand has worked as a producer and concert promoter in the U.S., working with renowned artists such as Chaka Khan, The Manhattan Transfer, The Queen’s Six, and Tony nominee Mary Bridget Davies.

Armand’s theatrical contributions include four plays with music, showcasing his versatility and commitment to LGBTQ stories through multiple mediums. As the co-founder and Executive Director of Armand and Paiva LLC, a company he has formed with his partner Carl H. Paiva, he was among the team of producers bringing Tony-nominated shows like "The Great Comet" starring Josh Groban, Stephen Sondheim’s "Merrily We Roll Along," and currently under development, Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own" to the stage. 

In addition to his theatrical work, Armand is also the producer for Tony nominee Mary Bridget Davies, who earned acclaim for her role as Janis Joplin on Broadway. Davies is set to reprise her role in her West End debut in Fall 2024 in A Night With Janis Joplin. Armand has also produced three albums for Davies, including the latest compilation double album entitled "Don’t Compromise Yourself." (Set to be released June 14th, 2024) 

A staunch advocate for LGBTQ and climate justice causes, Armand's ongoing projects include his first short story collection, "Overnight," and his debut solo album, "Resist," accompanied by a limited-edition lyric and photograph collection. He lives in New York City. 

Stay connected with T.J. Armand by visiting TJArmand.com  and  https://linktr.ee/tjarmand




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