This interview is part 2 of 2, Yiou can read part 1 here.
Q: My Identity as a Stereotypical Side Character is deeply personal in nature. Talk a little about that.
I agree that My Identity as a Stereotypical Side Character has a personal edge. While forming my first collection I realized that readers, publishers, and other poets didn’t know me from Adam. I then decided that It’d be best to use my first collection to introduce myself, my themes, and my tone to the world outside my journals. Additionally, the poems and stories from the text were written during a tumultuous time in my life where mental health, family, racial identity, and masculinity started to from the cornerstones of my identity.
Q: You have a very interesting story about how you came to poetry. Share that.
Poetry came into my life through songwriting as a child. Although my grade school emo band never formed and my fledgling rap career is in shambles, I kept my love of the word close. In college, I began writing again at a community newspaper. With poetry soon to follow, I began taking screenwriting classes and reinvestigating my love for writing. It all solidified for me when a friend shared his favorite collection of poems. The poems and the lively discussion surrounding them is what pushed me to become a poet after other forms had failed me.
Q: Without spoilers, the book features a unique design aesthetic, talk about how you came to settle on that.
Actually, the design is one that was rejected by a previous employer! Once I saw the themes of duality starting to present themselves in the book, I had to pull the old idea out of the dust bin.
Q: Give us some insight into the illustrations for the book, they have a unique story to them.
The art is something I’ve settled on over time. I am not an artist (as the drawings will show). To me, the drawings represent something missing in modern poetry experimentation, play, and something I like to call aesthetic resonance. Additionally, they each contain their own themes and symbols.
Q: Talk about some of the poetry or authors that influences and informed your style during the process of writing the works in My Identity as a Stereotypical Side Character.
There are a lot of authors that have influenced my work but the most impactful are Danez Smith, Natalie Diaz, Ginsberg, and Francois Villon. Villon is a muse, Ginsberg is a guide, Diaz is a teacher, and Smith is a mine.
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