Reyna N. A. is currently a Psychology / English student in California. She is the author of independently published "Hand Made Ghosts" and "All Summer Longing". Californian to the bone, she is interested in how things burn, how they heal, and how much coffee is "too much coffee." More of her work can be found at PORCHBIRDS.TUMBLR.COM
WHAT INSPIRED ONE OF YOUR POEMS?
I actually wrote “Portend” while on my fall Halloween movie kick. I had just finished watching West Craven’s New Nightmare. It’s the Nightmare on Elm Street sequel when the franchise decided to get meta with it- the Freddy character comes into the “real world” to harass the lead actress in her real life. It’s obviously pretty cheesy- your classic campy horror flick. But there’s this moment in the movie when the lead’s son, haunted by Freddy Krueger, climbs to the top of the tallest slide at the playground and just sort of reaches upward. Of course he falls off, and when his mom catches, he looks up at her and says “God wouldn’t take me.” That line really struck me, and “Portend” was sort of born out of that, among other things.
TELL US AN OBSCURE THING YOU FIND INTERESTING ABOUT THE WORLD?
I love the paranormal, the supernatural, and the unexplainable things. My mother’s birthday is Halloween so the eerie was a big part of my growing up. I love learning about things we can’t quite explain, and how different cultures and peoples have tried to explain them anyway. Especially when it comes to tragedy. This is probably my west-coast upbringing, but I think it’s equally interesting as sad, how we create myths and lore to cope with tragedy.
WHAT ODD, FUNNY OR INTERESTING FACT CAN YOU SHARE ABOUT YOUR WRITING HABITS OR PROCESS?
I guess a funny thing about how I write is- well, it’s not that unique, but I am terrible at naming things. That’s the thing that always comes last for me, and often as not I’ll just leave things unnamed. It bothers my professors to no end, but I just have so much trouble with it! If I do end up naming things, they’re usually just one word titles so I can call the poem something, or they’re overly long and kind of sarcastic. I think titles are the last step to saying “This is a poem and it is finished,” and I really struggling with taking myself seriously enough for that.
HOW MUCH RESEARCH DO YOU DO WHEN WRITING?
I’d love to be the kind of person who does a lot of research for poems. I love poems that are really rich with obscure facts and knowledge that I don’t have. I think they’re really smart on multiple levels and it adds a really genuine depth, but I am not that person. Maybe some time in the future I will be- I want to be, but as it is, all my poetry comes from what I already know. Luckily I am the kind of person that loves to accrue strange facts, so I suppose there is a kind of research involved in that. But it’s probably why I end up feeling a lot of my writing is sort of old-hat even when other people don’t. I’m like “I already know all of this,” because that’s where it comes from- what I already know.
LASTLY, WHAT COMES TO MIND WHEN YOU THINK KINGDOMS IN THE WILD?
“Kingdoms in the Wild” always reminds me of Aracelis Girmay’s “Kingdom Animalia” simply because of the similarity in their names. That poem is earth-shattering, though, so it’s quite a compliment. I also, funnily enough, think of the lion from The Wizard of Oz. I couldn’t tell you why, but I like what you can make of it: a character looking for bravery in a wild place. I think that works well for what we’re all doing here.
ABOUT IN CONVERSATION
What makes a writer write? what resides behind the impulse to create a work of art? We have always been interested in these questions here at KITW. Incredibly, we’ve received such varied responses to the same four questions from each of our published writers, that we thought we’d share.
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