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.
Author, performer, facilitator, coach and entrepreneur, Miss Kiane loves all things artsy. She has extensive experience writing, directing, and performing in theatrical productions. Miss Kiane has shared her poetry in several venues including Busboys and Poets, Mayorga Coffee House, Storytellers, Organic Soul and the Synergy Center. As a published poet, she was honored as the Poetry Society’s Who’s Who in Poetry. Miss Kiane also served as the Chief Organizer for the DC Poetry Spot, a DC Meetup Group for writers, poets and creative scribblers for four years.
Miss Kiane is the owner and president of Kiane Ink Healing in the Pen, LLC, a creative arts company that uses poetry and creative expression as a platform for hope, healing and social change. Kiane Ink has expanded to include spoken word performances, reflective writing workshops, individual coaching and charitable open mic events. Miss Kiane is the author of two chapbooks; Think on These Things and Syncopated Hearts. Lastly, Kiane Ink recently established a non-profit called The InkWELL whereby individuals contending with grief, loss and/or trauma may benefit from cathartic writing programs in places like schools, juvenile centers, churches, community centers and more.
As a Licensed Graduate Social Worker, Miss Kiane enjoys melding her profession with her passion by helping others to access levels of personal healing, empowerment and growth through the power of poetry and creative expression. In her own words, “Poetry is my friend, my catharsis…my gift to the world.”
Her chapbook Syncopated Hearts was released in 2016 and will be relaunched on Amazon March 2019!
Her website is: www.kianeink.com
- When and why did you start writing poetry?
Hi Paul! Thanks for promoting poetry and allowing me to be a part of your efforts.
I started writing poetry according to my mother at the tender age of 3…smile. My mother is deceased but I found a hand written scribble in her hand writing that stated Dinahsta’s first poem age 3:
Little flea had wings but never learned to fly.
Pretty deep huh?
My personal first recollection of writing was in the 2nd grade. I attended elementary school in the Midwest in the early seventies and during that time the arts were highly encouraged and infused into the regular curriculum. My teacher asked us to write something about a topic that we liked. I wrote about love and used my mother as my inspiration. I did not know all of the in’s and out’s of metaphors and inspiration, but it seemed quite natural to me. My ppe. Was entitled, What is the Meaning of Love? The city had a city-wide school magazine whereby teachers would submit their student’s writings, paintings even musical scores to this magazine for publication. My first published poem was when I was in the 2nd grade i. The city-wide Totem magazine.
Later, however, I wrote quite often. Specifically after the passing of my mother when I was 12. Poetry became my therapy. ….literally. I used it as a place to emote and express all of the painful feelings that I felt no one else could understand.
I continue to use poetry as a therapeutic measure. I also help others use it as such. But now it is not only an outlet for my painful feelings but a wherewithall to express joy, faith and give voice to stories both mine and others .
2. How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?
In school we did study traditional poets and to be quite honest poetry was never really presented in an exciting way to me until much later in my life. I remember the first time I heard Maya Angelou’s poem Phenomenal Woman someone recited it and the words on the page came alive to me. At that point I became interested in not only reading poetry but also hearing it or experiencing it. So writers such as Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Maya Angelou and Gwendolyn Brooks were the Genesis of my awareness to established poets and writers. If I were to reflect on poets that may have in their own way influenced my writing I would probably have a very eclectic list. For example, Shel Silverstein- my favorite poetic story teller. He is clever, humorous and deep. I may not be as clever and many may not chuckle at my humor, but I took away from him the intentionality of telling what seemed to be a simple story while weaving in weighty truths. Edgar Allen Poe. He was a very dark writer; however, there was this prophetc rhythm he excelled at conveying. He did not shy away from the darkness. Sometimes I try to capture Poe’s spirit by Painting the picture as it is even the darkness so that others can see it, sense it and definitely not ignore it. Gwendolyn Brooks. A legend in her own right….known for poetically speaking to the black experience. I can say without much reservation that many of my pieces are intentional in painting a visual of circumstances, situations, people, or stories that have been silenced or that need to be placed on the front row of our minds even if it be for just the length of the poem.
3. What is your daily writing routine?
I think a weekly writing routine is probably more accurate…smile. I have a weekly writing challenge called Words on Wednesdays whereby a random word is chosen from words collected from followers on social media. The challenge is to write something with the word in it, write something about that word or use that word to inspire something you write. This exercise is extremely helpful in ensuring that I write something regularly. In addition, my personal process includes journaling and building on one liners or refrains that I hear in my head and think…I think this is a poem or This is a performance peace. When I have a special project (writing a customized piece for a customer or for an occasion), I write more methodically, researching, reading and analyzing.
4. What motivates you to write?
Motivation for me is fluid. I am motivated by various things. As I mentioned before….pain, loss or injustice may motivate me to write. Of late, I’ve probably written more about injustices or societal issues that really bother me more often than not. I am also motivated by my faith in God. To encourage others poetically to have hope, believe, trust the process etc. is very much a part of my poetic purpose.
5. What is your work ethic?
Miss Kiane: May you elaborate or specify?
The idea that the work you do is virtuous in itself. So, for example trying to get as much done in an hour as possible. Or, it is important to achieve deadlines. Other writers may not be so diligent, preferring to wait for inspiration, and feel that once it becomes a chore it is not worth doing.
Miss Kiane: Hmmmmm…..As it pertains to my writing, I never want it to become a chore….it is often a challenge but once it becomes laborious or obligatory, the quality or the authenticity of what I produce suffers. Deadlines are necessary for projects and assignments but even within that period, I work through inspiration and meditation. So for example, if I have an assignment to write a poem for a screenplay and I have 45 days to do so, I appreciate and NEED that deadline to give me boundaries; however, how i work within those boundaries, I prefer to be given autonomy. I am not likely to hold myself to things like ‘write an hour each day’. My process involves deep contemplation, internal reflection (what message do I want or that needs to be conveyed, what emotion do I want to evoke, is it rhythmic or melodic etc.) This mental rumination may go on several days before I even write anything down. I prefer to work through inspiration, authenticity vs. the rigidity of a hardcore writing schedule. As far as ‘waiting’ for inspiration…I used to depend solely on such and at the time inspiration was unhampered by work, mortgages, dogs that need walking and life’s responsibilities..smile. So now that adulting is my fulltime job, I’ve learned how to employ a balance for my style of writing – when inspiration hits, write it down go with it, but don’t be too proud to come back rearrange, tweak or often in my case finish. Engaging in writing workshops and/or clubs that utilize prompts to help stir creativity outside of inspiration has been extremely helpful to me as I now can exercise the creative muscle without the initiation of external inspiration.
6. Whom of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
Wow..after thinking hard about this, I realized that most of my highly admired poets have passed…even recently. For example, Delores Kendrick, DC’s Poet Laureate, passed 2017 but is one that I admire not just for her poetry but also for advocacy for poetry programs for emerging young writers. I had the privilege of taking a workshop with her and her dissection and instruction of how to wield the poetic pen was eye opening. Her work is powerful and concise. Poignant…. Adjectives I would like to be ascribed to my work one day.
7. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
Miss Kiane: Professionally?
Miss Kiane: I would 1st ask them to do an internal assessment of why they want to write, what message do they feel they are the conduit for, what’s their personal motivation…is it money, fame or passion, enjoyment, higher purpose etc. (Both are fine but the approach may differ). Secondly, write…then write some more. Seek the professional guidance to perfect your craft, find your niche, voice and audience. One thing that I have not done as frequently as perhaps I should is submit my work to journals and things of that nature. My dislike of competition as a relates to my writing has often inhibited my submission but submitting your work particularly where there may be Room for constructive criticism can only improve your work as well as help you to network to move forward in the professional realm of writing. Lastly, I would say educate yourself on the industry. This is to include classes, workshops, retreats, reading materials…in other words INVEST in you.. We cannot expect others like publishers to invest in us if we are unable or unwilling to do so for ourselves.
8. Final question: Tell me about a writing project you are involved in at the moment.
I am currently a part of a writing collective that was summoned together by a poet and author friend because of our different styles and poetic voices. Those differences make us no less talented but the intersection of our gifts make for a dynamic team to say the least. We are embarking on a poetry collection publication whereby I have contributed several poems. This collection has several purposes but one of the main purposes I think is to showcase what great things can manifest when diversity is embraced and used as a unifying factor versus a separating one. We are hoping to release the book no later than April 2019.