I love the precision of poetry, and playing with line integrity and form adds another element of creation. I spent some time with visual art when I had sworn off of writing, but I think poetry combines words, space, and sound in a way that I really enjoy exploring.
Who are you currently reading?
I’m a terrible reader, but right now I have bookmarks in Addie Tsai’s Unwieldy Creatures, Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider, and Toni Morrison’s Paradise. I keep Pat Parker at my bedside. And I’m always reading friends’ work!
What poets/artists have had the most influence on your work?
Rothko is one of my absolute favorite artists; his work feels like the embodiment of ee cummings’ “since feeling is first.” Emily Dickinson was one of my first poetry loves and is a beloved sapphic predecessor. I’m also like, wow you can just capitalize whatever you want? And add dashes anywhere? I’m in. Writing has been the best access to liberation for me, especially when I feel or have felt so confined and/or defined by others.
What is one area you feel your poems have developed most?
I’m always working on “what can I take out?” My drafts are pretty voluminous and I do a lot of experimenting in a first draft, so the rest of “writing” for me, really, is a matter of subtraction.
Are these part of a bigger collection?
Hopefully, yes! I have a chap out for submission that includes some of these, as well as a full manuscript. Fingers crossed!
What modern poet do I have to read right now, like tonight?
Mandy Moe Pwint Tu (@mandrigall) and Adam Gianforcaro (@xadamg) are two poetry friends who just constantly blow me away with their work.
I hear a lot of the ocean in these, is that a theme in your work?
Great ear! Yes, all zodiac references aside, I’ve always been a water baby. I write a lot about identity and rebirth; to me, the ocean and its adjacent images are boundless and solve metaphysics’ question about the persistence of identity. It really plays with the ideas of change and permanence.
What was the inspiration for “((R)E)Merge”?
I teach Macbeth to my high school students, and I’ve always loved the character of Lady Macbeth. She’s so complex, and there’s an undercurrent of loss in her motivations. I connected this to my own experiences of multifaceted loss. And what takes the places of that hurt? What emerges in its place? What “slouches toward Bethlehem,” and what’s left in the aftermath? This poem considers answers to these questions.