Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Nadia Gerassimenko

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.

atthewatersedge

Nadia Gerassimenko (https://legendcitycollective.wordpress.com/)

is the founding editor of Moonchild Magazine (https://www.moonchildmag.net/) and proofreader at Red Raven Book Design (https://www.redravenbookdesign.com/). She is a freelancer in editorial services by trade (http://www.tepidautumn.net/editorial-services), a poet and writer by choice, a moonchild and nightdreamer by spirit. Nadia self-published her first chapbook Moonchild Dreams (2015) (https://www.amazon.com/Moonchild-Dreams-Nadia-Gerassimenko/dp/1507592205/) at the water’s edge (https://www.rhythmnbone.com/at-the-waters-edge) is her second chapbook (Rhythm & Bones Press (https://www.rhythmnbone.com/), 2019).
Follow Nadia on Twitter @moonmoonmother

The Interview

1. When and why did you start writing poetry?

I honestly don’t remember, but when I used to attend grade school in Kazakhstan and Russian school in Canada afterwards, we would have to memorize poems and recite them in class as our homework. It was part of the curriculum and ingrained in many Russian educational institutions at the time. Then my grandmother would often recite me Pushkin or Lermontov or Mayakovsky and occasionally poetry in German which sounded so musical and fluid even if I didn’t understand anything. I only understood Pushkin because much of his poetry is fable-like and was more relatable to me as a child who liked fairy tales. We would also often sing together Russian ballads and bard songs which in themselves were quite poetic. My mother herself wrote poetry in her youth, very beautiful, lyrical, and contemplative poetry, and that instilled in me even more appreciation for poetry and the desire to write poems myself years later.

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

I’m very much aware of their presence in the past as well as today and the gatekeeping that existed and still endures. It’s changing slowly in the mainstream, but not enough. It’s refreshing to see and witness more inclusiveness and diversity in the indie lit community even though there is unfairness in it too. So many voices are being left out when they only deserve to speak and sing and be recognized and appreciated by others. As writers, editors, publishers, readers, advocates, and community builders, it is our moral duty as literary citizens to publish, to hold space, to promote, to share work, to offer accessibility to brilliant marginalized writers and artists. Especially those who have more privilege, recognition, and followship can do so much good to break the vicious cycle of gatekeeping.

3. What is your daily writing routine?

I don’t have a daily writing routine because I have, unfortunately, a chronic illness and also I’m an editor and freelancer on the side, so much of my time is spent either on healing or editing or online community building or household stuff that I can’t seem to sit down and get to writing! However, some of my poems have been written in my head at the most random times like when I’d be showering or about to go to bed or cooking a meal or watching something evocative, then I would have to hurry and type it all out on my computer before the thoughts are lost completely. I suppose the muse just comes when she pleases. Sometimes I can invoke her when I’m working out a poem or a project through deliberate researching and planning, but I would actually have to sit down and not be interrupted by anything else. I try to make more time for writing these days, but I try not to force it either.

4. What motivates you to write?

As mentioned previously If I don’t have a creative outlet for my emotions, like writing, I internalize my feelings and they burn me from within. Lately I have also been focusing on spreading awareness through my writing about things that I care about that aren’t talked about as much or are made light of in the mainstream, like chronic illness and trauma, especially when it’s something I’ve experienced and lived through and wished I could have read about when I felt the aching, the loneliness, and the isolation myself more intensely than today.

5. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?

I don’t feel that the things I read when I was younger influenced me per se, though they certainly nurtured my love for languages and creative writing. However, I was and am constantly inspired by my fellow writers in the indie lit community–their brilliant and brave words, the impressive ways they’re continuously reinventing and revolutionizing the written word, and their exemplary ethos in community building and healing.

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

I’m endlessly inspired and stimulated by a collective I’m part of, The Legend City Collective, comprising the founder C. Aloysius Mariotti and other members Tianna G. Hansen, Paul S. Rowe, Carla Sofia Ferreira, Danielle Rose, Marisa Silva-Dunbar, Kiley Lee, Kari Flickinger, Holly Pelesky, Stuart Buck. The things they write and create, I have no words! They empower me to always strive to be a better writer, supporter of others, and literary citizen myself. I’m constantly blown away by the writing of Dominique Christina, Sweta Srivastava Vikram, Ana P., Thursday Simpson, Sin Ribbon, Ingrid M. Calderon-Collins, Cathy Ulrich, Lydia A. Cyrus, Ashley Miranda, Elisabeth Horan, Sarah Nichols, E. Kristin Anderson, Rehan Qayoom, Daniel Casey, Christopher Iacono, Tiffany Chaney, Kailey Tedesco, Tiffany Sciacca, Sam Jowett, Hannah Cohen, Iskandar Haggarty, Alexis Bates, Cathleen Allyn Conway, Catherine Garbinsky, Joyce Chng, December Lace, Kathryn McMahon, Craig Rodgers, Maura Lee Bee, Effy Winter, Joanna C. Valente, Yael van der Wouden, Cath Barton, Beth Gordon, Sneha Subramanian Kanta, Magda Knight, Chloe N. Clark, Chad Musick, Samantha Lamph/Len, Kevin Woodall, Teo Mungaray, Kerry E.B. Black, Trista Edwards, Romey Petite, Gabriel Kunst, Jack Bedell, Logan February, Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, Patricia Grisafi, Louis Cennamo, Umang Kalra, K.B. Carle, Mary Sims, Monique Quintana, Christine Sloan Stoddard, Arielle Tipa, Miggy Angel, Wanda Deglane, Prince Bush, Angelo Colavita, J.A. Pak, Tijqua Daiker, Catherine Kyle, Sara Pisak, Travis Chi Wing Lau, Todd Dillard, Gabino Iglesias, Kolleen Carney Hoepfner, Marisa Crane and Alana Saltz and so many more! Like everyone I have ever published in Moonchild Magazine. Even though Kate Bush isn’t considered a writer, to me, she is a poet. Spiritually, she has been my muse and guardian angel since ever and will always be.

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

I would say just start writing and reading and writing and reading and writing and editing and writing and editing and more editing and then more reading and then more writing and editing and repeat, repeat, repeat.

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

At the moment I’m quite busy promoting my upcoming chapbook with Rhythm & Bones Press entitled “at the water’s edge.” It’s currently at the pre-order stage, it will release in September and there will be a book launch on October 5th in A Novel Idea on Passyunk. Afterwards, I would like to get back to working on my two other projects. One is a collection I’m working on about endangered animals and I hope to someday team up with an artist who would illustrate it. Another is a found poetry collection dedicated to Dylan Farrow and will touch upon childhood sexual abuse and trauma as well as how others support (or don’t) survivors and hold others accountable (or don’t). I’m hoping it will end up being not only an educational collection but also an empowering one to survivors. Actually, four found poems from this collection are included in “at the water’s edge” and have also been published by Yes, Poetry.

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