Time to meet our final blogger for this summer and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce you to Laura @ Berry Her with Poems!
Let’s start with an introduction: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Well, I published my first poetry book, Bright Pink Ink, last year. It contains works that pertain to falling in love, rugby, and growing up. Right now, I am preparing to move from Texas to Twentynine Palms, California where I hope to spend the next six months focusing on my own poetry collection as well as reviewing poetry books.
That is amazing! Can you tell us where we can buy copies of Bright Pink Ink? Congrats on the move, that’s very exciting. I hope it all goes smoothly!
What made you want to start blogging and how long have you been doing it?
I’ve been blogging more seriously for the past eight months though I have played around with blogs since college.
I knuckled down on it once I started my project Berry’s Poetry Book Reviews. I provide modern poets with free book reviews and donate 10% of the earnings from my publishing site and donations to a different non-profit organization every year. This year Lambda Literary will be the beneficiary!
My blog could be described as a 50/50 split between documenting my own story as a writer and sharing my poetry book reviews!
That is really wonderful Laura! If a poet wanted a book review, what would they need to do?
I’m glad you think so! All I ask is that poets shoot me a quick introduction and are able to send me a hard copy of their book. Once I have reviewed it, the book is then donated to a local library.
My reviews are my honest opinion so I don’t ask for any payment from the poets, but donations and even just sharing the content itself helps power these book reviews and raise money for the non-profits.
I am genuinely blown away by how awesome that system is. I will definitely make sure that I let people know about that!
Outside of writing/blogging, what do you like to do in your free time?
Outside of writing, I play rugby and love attempting to knit. I’m learning some new patterns so my poor nephews and nieces will have to be my models.
Nice! My university didn’t have a football team so rugby was a big deal. It’s pretty fun to watch!
As a poet, where do you get inspiration from?
Inspiration comes from a lot of different sources for me. My poem “The Crab,” for example, was inspired by research I did for a writing prompt. I have also found that trying to work with newly discovered poetry forms helps me immensely as well.
In those instances I utilize subject matter I am familiar with so I can focus on working within the parameter of the form’s structure. I typically hate puzzles but I have to admit I love the challenge of a poetry puzzle.
Funny that you say you hate puzzles. I love puzzles but as a child hated poetry because they were always used for reading comprehension and we had to study them for symbolism and themes. As my introduction to poetry it was a real turn off, so how did you get into writing poetry?
Oh that’s funny! I’ve gotten a bit more patient with puzzles recently – that’s probably because I’ve had to force myself to slow down mentally while mulling over a poem.
I think I had my first poem ever published when I was in 3rd or 4th grade. It was a silly poem about my wanting to sleep in bed all day.
I always loved reading and writing but the pillar that poetry is in my life didn’t solidify until I was about thirteen. Hormones had a lot to do with it – hah! Once high school hit, I was primarily writing poems and some short stories. I used to design comics, but the realization that I could create something with so little resources – meaning I just needed a pen and a piece of paper – and still make an artistic impact was very appealing to me.
Haha, I can totally see that. 13 can be such an interesting time in life.
If you weren’t a poet, what would be your dream job?!
Six year old me would have said cowgirl but now I would love to open my own bookstore.
Owning a bookstore would be awesome!
Are there any poets/authors that you draw inspiration from and would like to meet?
I would love to meet W. R. Rodriquez and Lauren Scharhag. I was first introduced to their work (Concrete Pastures from the Beautiful Bronx and West Side Girl & Other Poems respectively) when they sent me their books for review. Both are very different writers, but both are fascinating to read.
Inspiration comes from all the poets who submit their work for review actually. By allowing poets to send me their work, I am opening myself to so many different perspectives and narratives I would most likely have missed on my own!
With all of the reviews that you do, you obviously read a lot of poetry. Do you read any genres outside of poetry?
I used to read mainly fantasy until high school, but then I realized how bizarre reality can be so now I have found myself attracted to memoirs, biographies and more informative texts. There is so much I don’t know about the world I live in and, while I do still enjoy fantasies from time to time, I used to employ that genre as an escape method. Now, I want to partake more fully in reality.
I recently got into memoirs as well! Particularly on audiobooks, I love hearing the authors narrate their own stories!
Do you have any advice, words of wisdom, or insight for aspiring poets?
Oh audiobooks are great!
I would advise poets to do their research and to find themselves editors they trust and respect who will actually provide helpful critiques!
That is solid advice!
Thank you again, Laura for letting me interview you.
I highly recommend that you check out Laura’s blog. I love her content, I love how she is helping others. If you know any poets make sure that you send them her way!