I have a “Four Questions With…” interview up on Kate Lewington’s blog! You can read it here.
I’m a Californian city girl transplant living in North Carolina suburbia with my dog, Clementine. I’m a poet, editor, and bartender, and I love iced coffee, tattoos, The 1975, particle physics and my four younger brothers. As far as my writing, most of it focuses on recovering from trauma and mental illness. Those things have been a big part of my life for the last four years and so my writing has centered around that as I have worked through my healing. In this vein, most of my biggest influences are collections/writers exploring the same things in their work: “Crush” by Richard Siken, “So Sad Today” by Melissa Broder, “My Body is a Book of Rules” by Elissa Washuta, “blud” by Rachel McKibbens, “Night Sky With Exit Wounds” by Ocean Vuong. This process of recovery through writing is something that has appealed to me over the past couple of years and both reading and writing has helped me cope with and come to terms with my own trauma.
As someone who has a lot of social anxiety, I don’t get out to readings and events very often. I mostly promote my work through social media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, et cetera. It’s easier for me to self-advocate for my work this way than talking with strangers face-to-face. That tends to cause me a lot of stress. Social media has also allowed me to interact and become friends with people I wouldn’t have met at local events. It provides me the opportunity to have a bigger community than I may have had otherwise. It is pretty time-consuming to have to post to so many places every time I have a new publication, but I wouldn’t say it eats into my writing time; it’s inherently part of my writing time, the same way reading is. I wouldn’t say my writing time is purely about coming up with new material. Writing is a process that has several stages and self-promotion is part of that.
Well, my first poetry book, “GRIEF, AND WHAT COMES AFTER,” is due out this December from Rhythm and Bones Lit. Pre-orders are set to go live next month, so I’ve been gearing up for that. Even though the manuscript has been complete for weeks, there is still a lot of work to be done. We’re soliciting people for reviews, making final decisions about design, scheduling readings, completing interviews. It’s been a whirlwind but it’s also been a dream come true. I’m also a contributing writer for Vessel Press and Pussy Magic Press so I’ve been giving a lot of time to that, as well as my editing jobs. I feel so blessed to be so involved in the writing community. I’ve been considering starting my own zine lately and I’ve been toying with a manuscript about toxic family dynamics, childhood trauma, and how those experiences play out across a lifetime.
Poetry is catharsis to me. I’ve often told people I don’t write about something unless it makes me feel so deeply that those emotions echo in my bones. Sometimes, this manifests as writing about trauma and pain, but sometimes it’s simpler than that; sometimes, it’s about the way the exposed root system of trees along Jordan Lake makes me thing of my own turbulent inheritance. I still hold to the sentiment that I only write about things that make me feel, but I think that definition is growing and evolving into something more all-encompassing.
Pre-order GRIEF, AND WHAT COMES AFTER at this link here You can pledge different amounts for e-books, and physical copies, as well as things like broadsides, and annotated, and signed copies.
You’re going to have to read this book, Ailey has created something special. You can read poems (some from the book, some not) at The Rising Phoenix Review