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.
describes himself on the Fisk University site: I am a first generation student and poet at Fisk University. I am grateful to have worked with Arctic Tusk, Rhythm & Bones Lit, Fisk Political Review, and Soft Blow. My lifelong job is one I’m currently living: to write and read poetry. I am fortunate to want a dream job that also supports my favorite activity, conversing with a poem. I want to one day give poetry readings around the world from a book of my own and I would love to win the Pulitzer Prize. At Fisk I feel like I am in conversation with the great poet Nikki Giovanni, a graduate herself.
His website is: https://pbush.com/
1. What inspired you to write poetry?
I had many thoughts and emotions as a child that I didn’t want to tell anyone else. Thus, I wrote them down, and began to enjoy this activity, particularly for its freedom: I could write whatever I wanted, and no one could stop me. I discovered omnipotence, similarly to a superhero making it out of radioactivity.
2. Who introduced you to poetry?
Caroline Randall Williams, a poet and professor, introduced me to contemporary poetry. Before I knew poetry historically, but did not know that people were making poems today.
3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?
I was not aware at all. I was introduced, because Caroline is amazing, to poets young like me. Because of this, I have always felt like I am in good company. I also love that many older people are in poetry, as hopefully I will make it to their age and will be as well.
4. What is your daily writing routine?
My daily writing routine is reading. I want to at least read one poem a day, and oftentimes end up reading many more. I write whenever I feel moved to write, which is pretty often when I’m reading.
5. What motivates you to write?
Other poems motivate me, as well as being alive and feeling, mentally and physically. Any activity I take part in can end up in a poem, even watching Netflix. I am easily motivated to write a poem!
6. What is your work ethic?
My work ethic is the same as any poet who cares about their poem. I do always work towards the poem and not a collection, though, and that may be different from poets who are book-oriented.
7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
I am still reading those poets, as I am only 21! But the poets I’m reading have all helped me navigate everything from the form I like to write in to what I want to write about.
8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
Jericho Brown—he takes form seriously and does a wonderful job with constructing a book. Every poem in his books serve a purpose.
Patricia Smith—she has rewritten her book four times. I strongly admire her commitment to excellent poetry.
Kendra DeColo—she taught me that I can publish poetry about anything, and should do it confidently.
9. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?
Nothing else would satisfy me. I love poetry and decided to commit my life to it. I find every part of the process rewarding.
10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
I would give them one of my favorite quotes: “To begin, begin.” – Wordsworth 1. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
I am working on poems as they come. I’m a senior at Fisk University and will be getting my MFA in Poetry immediately after—that is sure to lead to many more poems!