1. When did you begin writing poetry?
My love affair with writing poetry began in 2003. Fiction had always been my first love, and still is, but poetry found me. I surely didn’t go out looking for it. But when we I sat to pen my first piece, “In A Way”, I felt a flow that was so organic, poetry became a part of my literary life.
2. How would you describe your new book?
now that I’m here; lyrics from the mud to the sun is my lyrical autobiography. It tells the story of my life from conception up to the point of becoming the poet I am today.
3. Who has been the biggest influence on your work?
I would definitely have to say it is a combination of my mother, my Love. My mother never hid the truth of who I was and how I came to be from me. She felt it was important for me to know. And in that, I never felt a shame as if it was a secret or that I was to ever live behind a secret. In my writing, this is what I vie to express, the power of the Truth…both knowing it as well as sharing it to help others with their struggles.
4. Is there a message in your work? If yes, what would you say it is?
There are many messages in my work. There is the message of triumph in survival and healing. There is the message of hope for a better day. There is a message of awareness and conscious living. Those are the messages I write with intention. I’m sure there are even more messages that the readers themselves pull from the work based on their interpretation coupled with their life experiences.
5. Do you consider yourself a certain type of poet? (i.e. women, African-American, etc.)
Well. I’m a woman. I’m an activist. I’m African-American. I fall into a many categories, but I don’t let them lock me into a box. Poetry, the art, just doesn’t work that way for me. I think even though an artist has written a certain type of work, they should never be labeled as that specific and sole type of artist. Poetry, and writing in general, are fluid.
10. Which kind (of poetry) do you prefer?
I’m a fan of poetry across the board and outside of the genres within. I do believe every poem should be released in its natural and organic form. Then, if the poet chooses, placed into the poetry format of their choosing. It’s the poetry that happens before that placement that is most appealing to me. I do have a great appreciation for both lyrical verse, free form, and haikus.
11. Did reading a poem first spark the desire to write poetry or was it an experience?
Though I read lots of poetry before I became a poet, it was definitely an experience that moved me to writing it. After a therapy session years ago, I went home and felt so full of emotion and needed to release it. At that time, I only wrote fiction and had never written poetry, nor did I have a desire to. But on this particular day, I had no interest or time to develop characters and settings, etc. I needed to get what I felt out. Right then and there. That night I penned my first poem.
12. What is different about this book compared to your others?
This book is my poetic autobiography. In it, I’ve revealed even more raw emotion about my personal life than I have in the preceding books. It is very focused and has a traveling movement from my dark conception to the brighter days of the life I currently live.
13. What goal do you seek through your poetry; to discover, to influence, to re-vision history?
My goal in poetry is to bring awareness to the secrets that are buried deep within people’s lives. There are so many people who are being eaten alive by the secrets and pains they carry. Those same secrets hinder relationships, growth, and inner peace. Through my poetry, I aim to inspire people to bring a voice to what they’ve been holding so they can deal with it, face the fears that have kept them silent for so long, and begin to live a whole and complete life.
14. Would you say life-experience is more important than any sort of theory or familiarity with genre when it comes to writing poetry?
It is my belief that life-experience and the soul’s reaction to it all is the true source of poetry. To write with the guidelines of a particular poetic genre in mind is learned. What makes the essence of the work is the ‘life’ transmitted into that structure from the poet to the poem.
15. Is poetry a redemptive force?
Indeed, it is. Poetry can truly save the world. That’s not just some line you can find on a t-shirt. The power of poetry can encourage, heal, inspire, call to action, and empower one person or one nation at a time. If we get enough poets to use poetry as their activism, we really can become the greatness we desire for our world.