Wombwell Rainbow Interviews
I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.
is a poet located in Orlando, FL. He runs weekly poetry workshops at his university and is the literary editor for Tongue Tied Mag. Sean’s work is forthcoming or featured in Rising Phoenix Press, Ghost City Review, Bombus Press, L’Ephemere Review, and 8Poems. He has an obsession with the surreal, the uncanny, and the vaguely familiar. You can find him on twitter @seanyglatch.
He can also be found at 7-weeks.tumblr.com, though it isn’t a place devoted to his work so much as a place where he keeps store of inspiration and sometimes posts poems.
Late Night Drives was self-published and is completely free to download. He doesn’t know if the writing is reflective of who he is now, but it can be downloaded here: https://payhip.com/b/0mrq
- What inspired you to write poetry?
I think I was 14 at the time I started writing, it was the year when Instagram and Tumblr poetry became a big community and was largely run by teenagers and young adults looking for healthier ways to express themselves online, and I was inspired to be a part of that community because I also liked writing and was looking for safe spaces to express myself. Looking back, I can hardly recognize myself in those poems I wrote – they were largely written for social media and not for myself – but it was that search for a safe space I could express myself in that motivated me to start writing.
- Who introduced you to poetry?
I think it was the internet, to be quite honest, and the exposure poetry started getting on social media. I wish I could name someone, a teacher or even just another poet, but my start to poetry definitely wasn’t conventional, and it took a long time for me to get exposed to the right poets and start taking myself seriously as a writer.
- How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?
When I first started very little, since the community I was in was mostly teenagers. But as I’ve gotten older and more serious as a writer, and as I’ve become more involved in creative writing through lit journals and academia and such, I’ve definitely become a lot more aware of older poets and the general establishment that quietly rules the poetry world.
- What is your daily writing routine?
It involves simply sitting in front of a blank page and reflecting. Some days I’ll write on that blank page, some days I’ll simply sit in front of it and let my thoughts wander where they go, but those days I don’t write anything are equally important – perhaps more – because I’m not pressured to put down thoughts I don’t have the words for yet. For myself, anyway, I think experiencing the world and who I am quietly is more important, otherwise I’ll never express myself the way I want to.
- What motivates you to write?
I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but I think the whole world inspires me to write. There are so many aspects of the human experience and so many beautiful things in the world I have yet to discover, and I want to write about as much of it as I can.
- What is your work ethic?
I think my work ethic is kind of dependent on whether or not I’m inspired by something. Right now I’m writing a lot because I’ve been doing the December Challenge where you write a poem every day, and I had a really good professor last semester who helped me grow a lot in my writing, so I’m definitely riding that wave of growth for as long as I can, but when I’m in dry periods where I’m not particularly inspired by anything I spend a lot of time thinking instead of writing, and a lot more time distracting myself instead of thinking.
- How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
When I was young I was obsessed with magical realism. Harry Potter, Narnia, The Percy Jackson Series – those books defined a lot of my childhood, and I think a lot of those elements creep into my writing today, from Greek mythology to poems where I’m shapeshifting or a doppelganger or creating something out of nothing.
- Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
Oh man, that could turn into a laundry list very quickly, so I’ll try to keep it short. I have endless admiration for Danez Smith, Hanif Abdurraqib, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, Franny Choi, etc. – poets who continue to break boundaries and are finally receiving the recognition they deserve. I’ve gotten to know Lyd Havens a lot better this year and find them to be both a friend and inspiration. Also always inspired by Richard Siken, Margaret Atwood, Tracy K. Smith, sam sax… I’ll quit name dropping and end the list there, but you get the point.
- Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?
What else would I do? Literature has always been necessary, but now we live in a news cycle that’s so heavy that it’s beginning to break the Earth. If I ever become a doctor or engineer or actor or mathematician or sculptor or whatnot, I will still always be a writer first.
- What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
There’s no one way to be a writer, so if you call yourself a writer, you’re a writer. Not a “soon-to-be” writer, not a “not-yet-established” writer, not an “in-progress” writer, you’re a writer, even if you haven’t yet written a word.
- Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
That’s kind of hard for me to answer – my process is to write first, then go back and look at themes/motifs/ideas and kind of go from there. Once December is over, I’ll go through the 31 poems I wrote and try to get a sense of what is going through my head, put ideas together, and maybe I’ll write additional poems and make it a manuscript or put it out as a chapbook or do something else entirely. But right now, I just want to write – no manuscripts in mind, no journals I’m writing for, no competitions I’m entering, that way I know that I’m the writer behind each poem.