Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Kyla Houbolt

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.

kyla 2


Kyla Houbolt

writes mostly poetry. She has been writing since she was able to form words on a page; though her life has not been devoted to poetry, poetry has never let her leave it aside for long. She only began seeking publication in 2019, and most of her currently published work can be found on her Linktree. She is on Twitter @luaz_poet. She is a Best of the Net nominee, and a fuller biographical statement will be available soon on her author page at IceFloe Press.

The Interview

1. What inspired you to write poetry?

As I consider this question I send my memory back to my childhood which was immersed in music and I believe it must have been a wish to try to make music with words that got me started.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

My mother read to us, lots of Longfellow, Edgar Guest, various collections of children’s verse. As well, we were a singing family. Hymns, folk songs, anthems in church (my parents were both trained in sacred music) — all imbued my awareness with pattern in language. I soaked in it. While I rebelled at an early age from the strictures of religious limitations, I retained the love of the sounds and of those patterns in the word field.

3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older poets?

I don’t think I experienced it that way. It was more like, these are the people who knew and know “how to do this thing” and what exactly IS it that they are doing? At this stage I am very conscious of the predomination of white male western culture in the so-called canon, but even as a child I understood  the power of chant and song, of spoken word

4. What is your daily writing routine?

I don’t really have a routine. At times I will adopt one but they don’t survive long. For a while in the early months of this year I was writing ekphrastic micro poems every morning and that yielded some nice work, but generally what I do now is as soon as I feel the “poetry voice” start up inside, I start writing. Not all of that goes anywhere, lots of stillborn drafts! But that is the process that generates almost all of my poems.

5. What motivates you to write?

Oh, gee. I guess most basically it is that this is the way I feel I can offer something of value into this world.

6. What is your work ethic?

Hmm. I really don’t even like that concept to be honest; the notion of “work ethic” seems to have squelched a lot of creativity in recent decades. My ethic is to follow my inner heart voice and to be responsible and kind toward those around me as best I can.

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

I honestly don’t know! I have taken in a great deal of poetry and verse in my life and it has all become a kind of large stew! Well, more a field, an ecosystem even…. I am influenced by what speaks to my heart and to my sense of dance and play, to my sense of justice…

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

Gary Snyder is always on top of this list. There is no list, however. There are too many whose writing I adore.

9. Why do you write, as opposed to doing anything else?

Oh! It’s the cheapest form of art. One only needs language to perform it.  Although these days it seems a computer comes in pretty handy.

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

I would say, keep questioning your desire! But if writing seems to keep calling you, then write. Put words together. Read what inspires and moves you. Talk to other writers about writing and reading. Those are the basics, I think. Find people who will read, or listen to, what you write. Pay attention to what communicates and what does not. Feel into whether you even care about that! Explore. Investigate. Pay attention.

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

Oh, fun! Well, IceFloe Press is about to release a small collection of mine, titled Dawn’s Fool, which I am very excited about. Robert Kenter, the publisher, is a poet, a brilliant editor,  and also a visual artist and has done a glorious cover which reminds me of Kenneth Patchen. I am in love with that cover.

I also have a longer collection called Once in a Blue Earth that is being considered by a few presses and which I hope will find its publisher soon.

I have been taking poems and sticking them onto trees in a local walking park, a Greenway.  I have written some poems from that place and intend to weave those and some of the others together into a collection at some point. This is probably going to be the main project next year.

I also have just written a small suite — title poem is [options] and a subsequent six poems unpack and expand on it. It’s a bit odd! But I love it and hope eventually to pull it together into a pamphlet, illustrated, possibly even illustrated by me. Though my skills in that area are quite rusty. I also hope to place this suite  in a journal; it’s being considered right now.

And I very much want to find opportunities to read, and a way to record readings (I currently have no equipment that lets me record my voice.)  I used to greatly enjoy reading to groups but it’s been a while and currently I am not close to any venues for that. I intend to somehow build on the little local following  I have because of my Greenway poems in hope of creating some kind of reading venue. I always want to place poetry among those who don’t routinely encounter it, are not in the academic world for instance.  This Greenway Poetry Project seems to be accomplishing that nicely!

I would like to close by thanking the journals who have published my work this year or with whom it is forthcoming soon. They are, in no particular order:
The Hellebore, Neologism Poetry, Black Bough Poetry, Barren Magazine, Juke Joint Magazine, Kissing Dynamite, Burning House Press/The Arsonista, Mojave He[art] Journal, Parentheses, Crepe and Penn, Muskeg, Headline Poetry, Dovecote,
Nightingale & Sparrow, Back Patio Press, Silk & Smoke, Picaroon, goodbaad poetry,
Claw & Blossom, Cabinet of Heed, Detritus Online, Taco Bell Quarterly, Ghost City Review, Diametric, Re-Side, Broken Spine, Fictional Cafe.

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