I think I tend to fall more on the side of “confessional poet,” but I also like to write about other people and focus on their stories—even if they’re really small, subtle moments. I prefer free verse, but I sometimes wonder if that’s because my mentors wrote mostly free verse, or because I overused rhyme when I “wrote” in high school. I wish I could be a bit more political, but I always feel like it sounds false/trite when I try to write something. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying.
Thanks to Matt Bryden for tagging me.
What am I working on?
Poetry-wise I feel like there are two “themes” I’ve been focusing on lately. I’m fascinated by people who have no interest in making genuine connections with others, but really want to look good or be envied by others, so they focus on the outer aspect of themselves. It’s the perfect pair of expensive shoes; the boyfriend who looks good on paper, but has no real interest in life or their partner. It’s the vacation to an exotic local with “friends” who will forget about you once you get back home, but wanted something to brag about on their fb/instagram.
I’ve written a few poems that have an element of Americana to them. I’m interested in kitsch, and the open road. Maybe it has to do with growing up along Route 66, and seeing all of the abandoned motels and roadside curiosity shops.
I’ve also been trying to write a piece about my first year abroad, and the people I encountered. It started out as set of poems, but I’m trying to make it into something a bit lengthier and more cohesive.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Why do I write what I do?
My interest in poetry began when I was 11, and my language arts teacher read e.e. cummings’ “in Just-” something clicked. We’d occasionally write poems in high school, and there were certain phrases and images from my classmates’ poems that stayed with me. It took me a long time to really find a “home” though. It wasn’t until I was a freshman at UNM where I had some guidance, and found the kind of poems I wanted to write. I had an instructor who would read poems from Sandra Cisneros, and Belle Waring—and even my instructor’s own poems were pieces I really connected with. They were exploring elements of culture, and relationships–and I couldn’t stop reading.
When I write, there’s something that gets stuck in my mind or there’s something I have to say. I need to solve an element of someone or a situation. I think I’ve always used it as a way to try to figure things out—even back in high school when I was writing those horrible teen poems (I think most of us have those hidden somewhere).
How does my writing process work?
There isn’t a specific time or place where I write (which I kind of miss since I’ve been back in the states). It usually starts with an image or phrase stuck in my mind. I have a notebook with me the majority of the time so I can make notes. I have had to stop myself from thinking about poems when I’m going to bed or driving or in the shower because “I’ll write it down later” never seems to happen.
Once I get the phrase/image down, I’ll start writing ideas that connect to it; occasionally the majority of the poem will follow, but most of the time I have to let it marinate for a while. I try to make minor changes as I go along. I generally won’t share a poem until I’m happy with where it is. Sometimes it’s a very rough piece, and other times it’s closer to being “finished.” I have two writer friends (Lisa Phillips and Athena Copenhaver) look it over. They are extremely helpful, and provide excellent feedback.