Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Kiley Lee

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.

Kiley Lee

Kiley Lee

is an artist and writer from Almost Heaven, West Virginia. Her poems have appeared in Anti-Heroin Chic, Ghost City Review, Marias at Sampaguitas, Mojave Heart Review, Animal Heart Press, and Dancing Girl Press among others, and she is currently working on her first chapbook. Her drawings and paintings have been showcased on various online platforms and shown in multiple exhibitions at the Monongalia Arts Center in Morgantown, WV. She lives with her husband, Toby, and her cat and dogs, Charlie, Jupiter, and Sadie, near the majestic Ohio River.



Social Media:

Twitter – @KBogart10

Instagram – @kileylee.writing & @kileylee.art

The Interview

1. What inspired you to write poetry?

I first started writing poetry as a child. My mother had a library in her bedroom that I used to look through, and when she read me “The Lady of Shalott” by Tennyson for the first time, I was completely enamored. I enjoyed reading, but this new form of writing was fantastical to my young mind. Now, I write poetry because it’s my favorite form of writing. I use it to process the world around me.

1.1 What “enamoured” you in Tennyson?

I guess the musical quality of the words was what captured me initially. The precise images, the rhyming. It was so fun to read aloud. The story is lovely in its own right as well, but realizing that words could sing without music was what really attracted me to poetry. It’s something I’m still conscious of to this day.

2. How aware are and were you of the dominating presence of older poets traditional and contemporary?

Vaguely. I know parts of the Western canon, but I don’t consider them a standard. I’m a college drop-out, so I never had to experience any particular era or school of thought being forced on me. I follow wherever my curiosity leads. As far as contemporary poetry is concerned, I rarely know the names or faces of academically prestigious poets, but the exclusivity of class is something I’m VERY aware of. And unfortunately, I think that’s something that is, even if ignorantly, perpetuated by some dominating literary circles.

3. What is your daily writing routine?

I’m always absorbing. Feelings. Light. Sound. Not everyday is a day of output for me. Sometimes my entire day is just observing and reacting. So even if I’m not actively creating every day, some part of me is engaging and remembering for later access. Routine is not something I’m very familiar with unfortunately.

4. What motivates you to write?

Hmm, I think I just want to see more beautiful things in the world. I guess that sounds kind of vain, but I do hope that someone finds comfort or solace from something I’ve created. I also think art is just another means of communication, and like Donald Winnicott wrote, “Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide.”
5.  How do the writers/artists you read and saw when you were young influence you today?

I think the artists around me as a kid really ingrained the idea of story in me, in whatever capacity they could, and I think I take that idea now and just try to translate something out of it. I try to be specific about my experiences in a way that’s not totally revealing, or controlling. I would rather leave the conversation between the art and the viewer.

6.  Who of today’s writers/artists do you admire the most and why?

I admire the writers who give. Generosity seems so rare now, and those writers who give their time and resources to lift others up, those are the ones who shine in my eyes. I appreciate and cherish the support I’ve found in the Legend City Collective specifically. They are a group of passionate people who are speaking beautiful things into this world. And if I must actually name a single writer, then I’d have to choose Marie Howe. I found her poetry during a very important period of my life, and I would absolutely fan girl if I saw her in real life.

7. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer/artist?”

Write this down and hang it up where you’ll see it often:

Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you’re willing to practice, you can do.” – Bob Ross

And also, to pay attention. It’s very easy to be lulled to sleep and miss the magnificent.

8. Tell me about the writing/art projects you have on at the moment.

No specific projects at the moment. I’ve been putting together a chapbook for a while now, so hopefully I’ll have that completed soon.

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