INTERVIEWS

  • I'm going to go wherever and be out and about, but the way that I've heard and have experienced POC in Portland has felt really anti-Black to me. Even when people of color come to my shows, the way they talk about my work erases its specific Blackness.

    What I'm starting to learn about myself is that I'm going to build community outside of my art. Non-artists don't hold me as an artist—they hold me as a person. Some artists can and that's great and I have some of that, but a lot of my real friends are not artists. I also believe we all get community wrong and expect too much of others and too little of ourselves.

    From Portland In Color

  • Especially for poetry, I don’t understand the call for reaching outside of yourself or your experiences as an entry point. I think there has to be an unpacking of why “identity” feels like parameters for some & not an expanse

    From VIDA Lit with Sarah Clarke

  • And thinking about offering … By writing about the black body in English, I’m always offering it up to someone who has more control over it than I do. The conceit of me being a poet in this way — in this format, giving interviews; all of that — is that I know I’m offering up my body. I’m up for judgment. I’m up for debate.

    From Los Angeles Review of Books with Claire Schwartz

  • I sort of internalized some of the millennial shame put on us about needing to work more and then I realized, no, I’ve had a job since I was fourteen. I worked while I was in school. I know how to be a hard worker. Yes, I’m mad depressed and live with anxiety. I’m also trying to transition, and that’s why I can’t leave my house. It’s hard for me to work, but I do have skills that make me worthy of pay. I realized that I’m not a charity case, I am owed. I’m owed so much.

    From Void Academy with Siena Oristaglio and Winter Mendelson

  • I see patterns in forms and approaches, and there are a lot of people writing after people in the canon of poetry, but I feel like some people want to reapply someone’s form to their own experience, which can sometimes work if the form is really strict, but if you’re just dropping in your personal drops to what they already did, that’s not work in my opinion.

    From FIELDS with Sunny Leal

  • the body i present in my work, is a body (sometimes literally my own, other times a body i need to hold dear, like my own) that i want to create an archive of possibility. i believe documentation of the body (one’s own & kin) is urgent to survival & sustenance. i believe creating new languages & allowances for the body is urgent.

    i consider my own body, how i have seen it has changed since the beginning of this process. i’ve begun transitioning from male-identified to non-binary, & i’m working on physical & professional shifts with that transition. so one of the bodies that is most present in the text is a Black boy body i have begun to kill quietly. many boy bodies die & hurt in my work, not always mine but i’m putting these bodies to a kind of rest with this work. but like tongues i know the body is never truly far from me.

    From Entropy with Devin Kelly