Hometown: Austin, Texas
Favorite Poets: Brendan Constantine, Elaina M. Ellis, Adrienne Rich, Sierra DeMulder, Meggie Royer, Louise Gluck... the list could go on for days!
Proudest accomplishment: Publishing my first book this past year!
Unusual hobbies: I'm an extreme pacifist who has been training as a boxer since I was 12 years old, if that counts! I also craft like nobody's business.
If you could be any animal, what would it be and why? I would like to say I would be a fox, but realistically speaking I would probably be one of those pandas that likes to sleep a lot.
I've been writing since I was very young but only began to engage in it consistently at the age of about 16. As an abuse survivor, a woman recovering from an eating disorder, and someone who has dealt extensively with mental illness, the most important thing to me when I began writing was attempting to bring the people reading my work a sense of value and love, even if I could not be there in person to express that to them. As human beings, I think we are obligated to put some good back into the world, and if I could make even one person feel like they belonged here, and that they were appreciated and fought for, through my work, that would be enough. I think I started writing because it was what I needed to do to survive, but I believe I have continued to write in hopes that it may help others feel like they deserve it too, because no one is told that enough.
2. Where do you gather your inspiration? Any favorite poets that continuously inspire you?
I gain a lot of my inspiration from the brilliant women I've had the privilege to be surrounded by, the space between the experiences we share, and those we can only tell one another about. My mother is one of the most kind, fiercely protective, intelligent women I have ever met, and people like her really fuel my writing in a way that nothing else has been able to. On a similar note, I've been pretty heavily and consistently impacted, as a poet, by the works of Louise Gluck, Meggie Royer, and Anne Germanacos.
3. We see that you have a new book out, Here's Hoping You Never See This. Congratulations! Is there anything you would like your audience to know prior to or upon purchasing it?
I do! It includes a lot of my earlier work alongside some of my more recent stuff, so it's kind of a mini-history. It contains three parts, is a little under 100 poems, and is a picture, of sorts, of the way growing up in and really getting to know the world has been for me these past few years. My friends and I like to say on one another's birthdays each year: "I can't wait to see you continue to become yourself." For me, the book is the best reference point as to what becoming myself has meant, and how that has intertwined itself with the other people and experiences in my life.
4. What does the process of writing a poem look like to you?
For me, it's always been a really wonderfully personal experience. I often start with only an idea, or even just a few words that make me feel something, and then I write for as long as I can about that thing, often going in a bunch of different directions. Writing poems has always been this cathartic experience which allows me to let myself really talk about things in a way that helps me understand the world, compassion, and emotion better. So when I write a poem, I try to begin unrestricted and then go back later to shave off the edges, so to speak.
5. Do you have any creative patterns, routines, or rituals when it comes to writing a new poem?
I definitely like to write and walk. I find that being on my feet is energizing, and that often helps me clear my head so that I can really focus on putting something down on paper. I also find that writing something small right when I wake up, and right before I fall asleep is good for me. Starting and ending the day with a small thought that stuck out to me has been important because it gives me a sense of what's been on my mind lately. And when something sticks out to me, I try to give it a little more attention in my writing.
6. If you could choose one main objective that you would like your poetry to convey, what would it be?
Everyone deserves to value themselves. Sometimes the path to that isn't easy, but it is worth it. Some of the most simple things have poetry all throughout them, and sometimes the words to describe the world aren't easy. Essentially, the human experience is different for each person, but it is also something great that we each have in common. Life is different for everyone, and everyone deserves the right to hold onto themselves and to know they should be allowed to place value on their experiences through all the chaos.
7. Do you feel like posting your poetry on Tumblr has shaped your work in any way? Why did you decide to use Tumblr as a platform? Anything else you want to share about being a poet on Tumblr?
The cross-over between Tumblr and poetry, or really writing in general, is a pretty wonderful thing, I think. In my experience, it began as this avenue for expression, and transformed into an entirely new medium for growth. By being exposed to a really wide range of writing and poets, and being able to talk so easily to those poets about their work, I learned so much more than I feel I would have if I had begun my process with poetry without that ability to connect. It's this really incredible form of open access that makes it possible to dissolve the barriers that can sometimes exist between artist or creator and the audience that is taking in their work. I would also say it encouraged me to write more, and to try different things. While I'm now studying English for my undergraduate degree, I would say that the community of writers I was exposed to through Tumblr was one of the first real "classes" in writing that I got to experience.
8. What advice would you give a new, aspiring poet?
Write, write, write! It may sound simple, but continuing to write is not only the best way to improve but also the best way to get to know yourself as a poet and a writer. I would also say: submit to as many literature magazines as you can and don't be discouraged if your material isn't accepted. There is no shame in putting yourself out there, in letting others see your hard work, and in reading your heart. Ultimately, don't stop. Write hard and put everything into giving your writing a sense of you. Challenge yourself. Write so that, at the end of the day, you can look at your work and be proud, whatever that may mean for you.