Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Venus Davis

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.

Venus_Cover (1)

Venus Davis

is a 21-year-old queer writer from Cleveland, Ohio. She is the editor in chief of the Periwinkle Literary Magazine. She is also a former poetry reader for Random Sample Review and a podcaster for Prismatica Magazine. Her work has been featured in Marias at Sampaguitas, Royal Rose Magazine, Ayaskala, Dream Noir, Crepe and Penn, and many other publications. She is the author of Sensitive Divination, an astrology microchapbook as well as the microchapbooks, Blue and @ngel number(s).

You can find her on social media



The Interview

1. What inspired you  to write poetry?

I was inspired by the works of Maya Angelou, Shel Silverstein, and Edgar Allan Poe. I was also inspired by those around me and frankly, the feelings that came from having many undiagnosed mental illnesses.

2. Who introduced you to poetry?

I was introduced to poetry by Cynthia Larsen, of Lake Erie Ink. She is my best friend’s mother and a teacher in the Cleveland area. When I was in the third grade, she taught my class about poetry. After years of writing fiction, I was intrigued by this new form that I’d never heard of or dabbled in.

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

Very aware. There was a sense of the youth poetry scene blooming in my hometown but at the time there weren’t many opportunities for us younger poets. Lake Erie Ink was pretty much the only resource available and it was amazing, don’t get me wrong. However, I wish that there were more opportunities available for young writers to succeed.

4. What is your daily writing routine?

Usually I work on as much as I can per day. Currently, I’ve been primarily freelancing as I look for a full time job. So, my entire day is dedicated to writing. I wake up at around ten a.m and I start working on editorials and then after I write about 2,000 words, I start working on my WIP, which is a full length of sad poetry.  I’m currently in the editing phase. So, I edit about three poems per day from my WIP.

5. What motivates you to write?

My writing heals me and it’s the only thing that has ever helped me grow as a person. Writing down my thoughts, feelings, and desires has changed the way that I look at the world. It’s almost like everything I write is a diary entry and the only difference between my poetry and my actual journal, is what I will allow others to read. So, writing for me is a chance to grow and a chance for others to relate to my work and grow as well. I also love the research that comes writing. Being able to learn new things while creating something new is a feeling unlike any other. The thought of it motivates me secondarily to growth.

6. What is your work ethic?

I’d say my philosophy behind work is that I try to work as hard as I can and do as much as I can per day. That’s what happens when you’re a capricorn, you just have no off button when it comes to work. I’m a complete workaholic when it comes to writing. Back when I worked first shift at a fast food place, I’d get home around four p.m. and just write and talk to other writers on twitter until around two or three a.m. Though, I definitely do not condone this behavior! A lot of this is also due to my ADHD diagnosis in that doing work immediately enhances the chances of it getting done whereas if I put my work off until later, I am likely to get overwhelmed and procrastinate even more.

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

I find myself wanting to write little bits of humor in my poetry like Shel Silverstein had. I’m often drawn to darker imagery like Edgar Allan Poe. In fact, I had an entire phase where I tried to write gothic lit just to be like him. When I write about my body in my poems, I always channel a bit of Maya Angelou’s energy in Still I Rise – that kind of confident, black girl magic, no fucks given attitude.

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

Franny Choi! Not only is she a woman of color and amazingly talented, a wildly iconic duo. She is queer and she writes like she has no fears. I also love the amount of research that went into her collection, Soft Science. I want to be a writer that is unapologetically me and writes like so. Someone who can implement research in their writing without it being confusing or read like an eighth grade research paper. She also wears many hats which I greatly admire because I know how difficult it can be to work many jobs as a writer. Yet, she just seems fueled by her love for writing and that is so important. I come from a long line of people who hate their jobs and that’s all they say about work. So, to see a writer be so immersed and so in love with her craft, it’s admirable and I can only hope to continue to love my craft as much as Franny Choi does.

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

Writing is literally all I can do. I used to play Violin and Viola as a kid and it never once crossed my mind to be an instrumentalist. I tried to be a singer and I tried to be an actress but they just felt wrong. I absolutely loved performing but there was just something missing for me. I took about a two year break from taking my writing seriously and during that break, I felt like I had broken up with a partner of ten years. Literally because I had been writing since I was about nine, I basically had broken up with a partner of ten years. When I came back to writing, I worked harder than I ever had before. I started to pursue writing as a career other than what i thought it was at the time – a commitment to a quiet life backstage. Working on my first book really brought me back into the writing world in a way that I had never experienced before. It was so necessary for me, like a spiritual awakening but with my writing career. So, in short, I write because it’s what feels right. I write because it’s my calling.

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

I would say that you work hard to find your corner of the community, you write as much as you can, submit to journals, and don’t forget to make friends along the way! Take part in as many opportunities as you feel comfortable with because learning opportunities are the most valuable. Even if you don’t submit your writing anywhere, just continuing to write as often as possible is extremely important. Any opportunity to further your craft is one that you should take.

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

Currently, I am working on a full length book tentatively called, Human Waterfall. It’s a bunch of sad girl poetry about being a twenty something year old navigating the scary adult world. I’m also working on releasing an extended version of my astrology chapbook, Sensitive Divination. In the extended version, I plan to explain the process behind writing each poem and the astrological references/meanings in certain lines. I’m also working on releasing a chapbook of poems about the phases of the moon and gemstones. So, be on the lookout for that!

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