Can you walk me through your writing process?
I’m inspired by a lot of different things: life experiences, music, movies, politics, conversations with friends, things I see online or ads that I hear, nature, showers, books, comics, anime. The first word always starts with an idea or spark of an idea that pops into my head and then I let the words flow. I try to edit afterwards just so I can get out all that I need said without losing the plot of the entire threading to begin with.
But there’s a part of me that cringes at every mistake and wants to stop and fix it and edit as I go. Sometimes I cannot ignore that itch, but I do try my best.
Can you discuss your experience with writing poetry?
I have been writing poetry since I was a child. When I first was sending my poetry out to mags, I had no experience and no one to really guide me through the hoops. I was using Google and trying to find my way that way.
I started sending my works to big poetry publishers and received no reply back. It wasn’t until I started sending my work to smaller or indie presses that I began to pick up some traction.
Who are some poets or writers that have influenced your work?
T.S. Eliot, e.e. cummings, Anne Rice, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson
How do you approach capturing the nuances and beauty of queer relationships in your poetry?
By approaching it a delicate, authentic matter. People want raw and real not something twisted and fabricated, and it’s important to emphasis (in my humble opinion) that queer relationships are natural and beautiful in their own right.
It’s not a competition or an agenda. People just want to be themselves, and as long as the love is true, kind, and good for both parties involved; why shouldn’t they be able to express their love?
In what ways do you believe poetry can contribute to broader conversations about LGBTQ+ experiences and love?
I think that sometimes people aren’t always able to see the bigger picture or the smaller one depending on the situation, so poetry is a way to reach an audience in a quick amount of time and say things that perhaps they hadn’t heard before or say it in a way that they can actually hear it.
Sometimes if you use a turn or phrase or words that they hadn’t heard before, even if the concept was introduced before, it makes it easier for someone to digest.
It could be their light bulb moment in realizing that queer people are just like everyone else and want to find a love that is uplifting and kind and not one that is toxic and harmful, and that just existing isn’t a valid reason to hate or harm someone.
How do you use poetry to explore intersections of gender, identity, and power dynamics?
Usually it is inspired by something terrible that happened to me, someone I know, or a famous story in the news.
Then I let the words flow from the original spark or idea that came into my mind to discuss these themes in a way that makes sense both to me and to any potential reader.
These things are constantly on my mind because it is a terrifying world we live in sometimes. Some people will do anything to keep their power even if it means sacrificing a part of themselves to the machine that would consume them so I think it’s important to address this in addition to examining self and identity.
Gender is a social construct and tool used to oppress others in the patriarchy so I think it’s important to address this, as well, because people get so upset over the use of pronouns (which everyone has and everyone uses) and those who don’t fit the two gender system such as non-binary and gender fluid individuals. They’re also quite hateful to trans people simply for existing, and they want to argue with “science” when science actually refutes their claims.
How does the changing of seasons, particularly autumn, contribute to the atmosphere and emotions conveyed in your poetry?
Autumn is my favorite season. To me it is better than spring because there is no mud and muck, and there are still some flowers among the changing leaves of trees. So while both seasons are transitions, I feel that autumn is the one I connect to better.
Because I no longer feel in that stage of my life where things are messy and mucky and unfamiliar. I am finally coming to know myself.
To me, autumn is transforming into one’s true self and stepping into one’s power. To me, autumn is embracing natural beauty and who I truly am and stepping into the fullness of my magic and my worth.
Your poetry touches on multiple themes, including queer love, feminism, and autumn. How do you navigate the intersections of these themes in your creative process?
I usually just start with one idea and then I let the ideas flow together in the poem as I start thinking about what it is I want to express and how I want to say it. I may have an idea of what I want the poem to look like at the beginning, but by the time the poem ends sometimes it takes me in a different direction than what I had first anticipated – but I think that’s a good thing. Sometimes you need to surprise yourself and blow your own mind.
Sometimes the end result of letting the words flow and flower naturally is much better than something you had first thought of.
A lot of my writing process is brainstorming and using the first spark of thought and trying to shape it into the most poignant, meaningful experience for both me and the writer. I heal myself every time I am allowed to be honest about who I am and what I wish to become.
For me queer love is important because when I was younger and I was at church, I was taught that it was unnatural and it made someone an abomination so I decided to hide myself and who I really was not only from the world but myself. This bigotry made me uncomfortable, but I didn’t know how to confront their words or if I even should. It’s a terrible position to be in.
So I want to show people that queer love is not only natural but also beautiful and freeing. In a time where many people want to bury their queers – I want to write about happy queer ever afters because how many happy heteronormative experiences are there? Countless ones. Watching them didn’t make me straight. So I think it’s important for people to witness all sorts of love including love that is different than the way they love so maybe they can be more understanding and compassionate towards those who are different than them.
I remember there was this one openly gay kid who used to ride my bus, and everyone bullied him so badly that he thought the best course of action was to take his own life. It breaks my heart that I didn’t try to stop those other kids from being cruel to him. My friend insisted that I was just a kid, but so was he and he didn’t deserve that. I don’t want anyone else to think the best course of action is to die, I want them to feel free to express their love and know there are other people in the world that are like them. If I can save one person from feeling alone then I’ve done my job.
Feminism should be inclusive to everyone and it’s something that really matters to me, because when I was younger it was not portrayed to me accurately. A teacher had even told me that it was “man-hating” and abusive. But as I grew older I came to learn and realize it’s really just wanting to be seen and treated as equals. It’s not trying to make anyone feel inferior, but we should all be treated the same; and I really agree with that.
I also had someone try to tell me that women have more rights than men these days so I feel like it’s important to emphasis the disparities and there are still some gaps that need to be filled. I would also like to live in a world where anyone is safe to walk down the street wearing anything at any time of any given day.
I think the reason that these intersections are so easy for me to intertwine is because they are all very meaningful to me, and my mind always finds connections to things that are similar or different. I am not just one thing, I am many; and I want to combine these things in a meaningful way which is why I think the intersections of queer love, feminism, and autumn come so naturally to me.
How do personal experiences, cultural influences, or societal changes shape the way you approach writing about these themes?
Sometimes I channel my anger or frustration into these poems because I have experienced a lot of unkindness just for being me, and I want society to know that they’re not always right and they have a lot of room for improvement.
Who wants to live/participate/or be part of a society that doesn’t value them yet wants all of their emotional labor and even physical labor to be used in caretaking for others who are not willing to regulate their own emotions as a collective?
I think it just comes to me naturally to include personal and societal shifts/changes in my writing. I do have friends from all different walks of life and I like to listen and learn about cultures that are not my own, so that is something that comes to me from experiencing life and people who are different from me and using their experiences and their desires in a way so as to benefit others.
Poetry is really about reaching and touching souls, making people realize that they’re not alone. If they cannot understand what you’re saying or don’t care about it then you’re unfortunately not going to reach them. So I try to be accessible and relatable as well as make my own mark with my own experiences and thoughts.
In what ways do you believe poetry serves as a medium for expressing and celebrating diverse voices within the LGBTQ+ and feminist communities?
I think when the right person reads them who doesn’t know much about the community, at large, it can be a beautiful thing. When the mind is curious and wants to learn more, then there is more room for authentic and honest conversations. There is more room for empathy to grow, and for people to recognize that while we may all be different and come from different walks of life; in the end we all want to be respected and appreciated as we are without having to always water ourselves down or shift our energy.
It also helps people who are maybe struggling with their identity or thinking they’re completely alone to understand that there are people out in the world, just like them, who have experienced the same or similar things.
In the end we are always trying to connect with each other. Poetry is a short form that can have a lot of impact so I think it’s important to write every poem to the best of your ability so it can touch the hearts of everyone it’s meant to find.
You may not change everyone’s mind, but you can enrich other minds and maybe make someone learn something or change their opinion as they’re faced with new information or facts they may have never considered before.