Five Questions with Poet K (a poetry finalist)

1. How has your spirituality influenced your creative process?

Spirituality has, though perhaps not in an obvious form, influenced some aspects of my writing. Poems sometimes come as what I perceive God to be saying, or focus on Him and the aspects attributed to Him. I suppose, overall, spiritually opens a door for me that allows me more themes or purposes than I would otherwise have. These “additional” themes include thankfulness, belonging, intimate questions, and unconditional love…themes that are sometimes at odds with other aspects of my life (see the next question).

2. Do you feel your love of mathematics/physics is at odds with your writing? Why or why not?

At times, my mathematical and physical thinking does put me at odds with my emotions, and it is usually my emotions that I wish to express through writing. As such, math and physics often get in the way. I think that they get in the way just because they seem to want to suppress emotion- after all, don’t people just get hurt when they live an emotion-based life (please note, this is a rhetorical question)? Fortunately, I have discovered that it is possible to put this suppression aside, so that the words may flow. And, once in a while, math and physics concepts break through the emotions not as an enemy, but as a flower that grows from the emotions and actually contributes to the poem’s growth. Almost a beauty from ashes situation, if you ask me.

3. How did you begin writing poetry and why?

My earliest recollections of writing poetry were in fourth grade when we had to create “raps” to perform in front of class for speech. I remember writing many more than was necessary, and thoroughly enjoyed finding just the right word to make sure that I had a consistent rhyme scheme or meter. After that, I discovered that my grandfather also had a knack for writing poetry, so I continued to write. Unfortunately, most of those early poems have been lost, though a few remain from middle school and early high school. In high school, most of my writing became academic and for a while the creative writing stalled. When I reached college, it became easier to write because I had a close friend who wrote stories and because I was experiencing a plethora of new emotions. I experienced a “revival” of poetry that continues today. This type of personal, creative writing provides a great escape from the demand of homework.

4. What advice do you have for other writers?

Though it seems to be cliché, I offer the advice of perseverance, even if it is what I call “delayed perseverance”. It isn’t necessary that everything is completed soon after it is started- I have scraps of paper that have been waiting for years to become a poem or short story. Definitely keep your ideas, but don’t feel you have to use them right away.

Also, don’t be afraid to write for yourself. Sometimes what you write doesn’t have to be marketable. Write what you want, for it is a good way to get to know yourself better. And, more personal writing provides and often-needed release from the stresses of everyday life.

5. Do you write with theme in mind? If so, how do you keep true to it?

Sometimes I write with a theme in mind, and sometimes not. Keeping true to a theme tends to be work for me; this is where delayed perseverance is applied most often. Bits and pieces may come, but they do not often come in the desired time frame, so I have to let my writing simmer on the back burner until the continuity continues. Though that may not seem to answer the question, it’s really what I have to do: just wait, play with the lines for a while, and see what happens. Or, I suppose, I ask my unsuspecting roommate a question about the theme and take his ideas and twist them for my own purposes (insert maniacal laugh)!

Want to ask "Poet K" something related to craft I didn't? Go ahead!

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