Photos by Nyarko Photography
Queens resident Atiba Rogers

Far Rockaway resident Atiba Rogers has realized her dream of publishing her first book.

“When I say I’m going to do something, I actually do it,” she said. “I finished writing earlier this year.”

The 28-year-old writer self-published “colossal heart” on Aug. 26. She began work for the book in 2014, an especially significant year in her life. It was then she learned that her late father had cancer.

“I was in denial for a very long time about how much time my father had left on this earth, but I finally came to the realization that that time can come whenever it wants,” Rogers said. “After thinking about all of the things I want to accomplish before I die, I decided that there is no better time than now to start.”


“colossal heart” was written mainly on the Long Island Rail Road while commuting to and from classes at Stony Brook University, Rogers said. The deeply personal book of poems and prose is broken into four sections: bemoan, expressionist, exhibitionist and lion. Organized by theme, each part speaks to a different area of Rogers’ life.

Born on the island of Trinidad and Tobago, Rogers moved to Queens as a child. She grew up in Jamaica and has since moved to Far Rockaway.

The Queens writer’s love of poetry began as a young student. She credits Ms. Louissaint, a sixth-grade teacher at Jamaica’s I.S. 8, for introducing her to the genre with Langston Hughes’ “Mother to Son.”

Rogers — reading the poem at a time when she was still growing accustomed to American English — remembers being struck most by the American novelist and poet’s use of vernacular and vivid metaphor.

“I never read poetry in my life before that, and I just loved it,” Rogers said. “The way he spoke in the poem: it was like he was talking in his normal voice.”

The road to self-publishing was not an easy one, Rogers explained. She and her team went through months of edits, adjustments and back and forth with publishing platform, CreateSpace. However, in the end, the struggle was worth it.

“You never know who is looking to you for inspiration, so just be brave and don’t be afraid to let your voice be heard — even if it can only scream loudly through the lines on a piece of paper,” she said.

Rogers held a book launch on Aug. 26 at Brooklyn Commons and hopes to schedule more promotions and book signings in the coming months. Keep up with the latest on her website.

“colossal heart” can be purchased now on Amazon.


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