Interview with Editor in Chief, Janell Ward and the Poet of the Month for November 2016, Zuri Zephyrus.
Q: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
A: I don't think there was ever a time of realization. I believe the need or the love to create is something you carry in your soul. As I can recall, I always had the instinct. It didn't matter what it was or the medium I used, I always had an insatiable hunger to create.
Q: What are you working on at the minute?
A: As of right now, I am working to get more of my poems published. I think it's important to use every outlet possible to get your voice out there.
Q: How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
A: I have been writing since I was 14. Like my poetry, I, too, have evolved as a woman. I think the beauty of creativity is that it is never stagnant. When I was younger, my poetry reflected a more self-centered point of view. As I grew older that narrow subject matter changed to a more universal sense of awareness.
Q: What is the hardest thing about writing for you?
A: Submissions! I never know what to write in the cover letters. I am a humble person and I, honestly, believe that your work should speak for itself.
Q: Any tips on what to do and what not to do when writing?
A: When an idea or line comes to mind, write it immediately. It doesn't matter on what you write it, napkin, receipt, etc. Just write it because as easily as it came to you, it can leave.
Q: Answer this question in two words: How do you get published?
A: Literary Magazines
Q: Do you have an interesting writing quirk?
A: I have to write in black gel ink, never blue.
Q: What advice would you give to yourself as a younger writer?
A: Never stop writing because of criticism. There is always room to grow.
Q: What is your favorite piece you have written? And Why?
A: My poem, "My Sunrise." I love it, because in the time of completion I realized how much I had changed as a writer and, finally, grew into my voice.
Q: Do you ever experience writer's block?
A: Absolutely. Sometimes month's at a time. But you can't force inspiration; sometimes you need to walk away from your work and start anew.
Q: What do you think makes a good story?
A: Two things make a good story: the message and characters you can relate with.
Q: What cultural value do you see in writing/reading/storytelling/etc.?
A: I believe individuality is a cultural value well immersed in the arts. It allows for us to nurture our souls and beckons self-awareness.
Q: What do you think most characterizes your writing?
A: I believe sincerity characterized my writing. I always strive for my pieces to be a reflection of what I am feeling in that exact moment. No matter how raw or emotional.
Q: What did you enjoy most about writing?
A: The editing process. You can start out with one specific idea and result with a completely different poem with the same message. The possibilities are endless.
Q: Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
A: My favorite writers who have influenced me a great deal are John Keats and Shakespeare, as cliché as it is. Their work has such a noble and elegant voice. As a writer, I always ask myself if what I am writing has a sincere and noble message and, if so, does the word usage embody that message.
Q: What do your plans for future projects include?
A: My future plans include my first chapbook and, of course, more writing.
Zuri Zephyrus is an American poet currently living in New York. Both her art and poetry have been featured in literary magazines such as Driftwood and the Promethean. In 2015, she was Reward Publishing's featured poet for her poem "Full Moon." Her poem "Awake" touches on the theme of thankfulness during the month of November. "Awake" portrays the gratitude of being alive.
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