with Elizabeth Harper:
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Elizabeth: I started writing poetry when I was 11. My older brother started teaching me everything poetry before he passed away from suicide a few months afterwards. Since then, I have been writing poetry in a way to honor him, cope through life and express my emotions and thoughts. My first influences were S.E. Hinton, Edgar Allan Poe, and Ellen Hopkins.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Elizabeth: My biggest influences today are Lang Leav, Nikita Gill, and Christopher Poindexter. All of these poets have dramatically opened my heart and mind to what I know I can and will achieve throughout my career in poetry and writing.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing?
Elizabeth: I was born and raised in the heart of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1995—only 8 months after the Oklahoma City Bombing. Growing up in the heart of a city where such a gruesome terrorist attack occurred, it showed me early on about respect, community and the evils that lay within the shadows and within the light. Of course growing up in the working class in the city was hard. However, it has slowly molded me into the person and poet I am today. I am grateful for my life and its many lessons.
Q4: Have any travels away from home influence your work?
Elizabeth: Absolutely! I think a new surrounding sparks the most inspiration and imagination in any kind of artist. After being vaccinated and traveling to Iowa this year (a community I absolutely cherish and adore), my eyes and mind sink into the trees and hills. When I think of the forests, mountains and hills there, and in any place, my mind is set on fire with that passion that lives within poetry. It is a place I believe will always influence my work.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Elizabeth: It’s not just one moment, per say. It’s the moment every time I see my name printed in ink. Each moment I order an anthology I have been accepted and published into: seeing my name, my words and my work in my own hands each time is a pivotal moment of “This is who and what I was always supposed to be.”
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Elizabeth: Spending time outside is definitely my other love. Just taking a breath of fresh air can clear my racing mind, ache my broken heart and heal the scars that life left behind.
Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Elizabeth: I’ve been currently posting poems and other pieces on twitter (@eharperpoetry) Now that I’ve been published through Poetryin13 a couple times, I am hoping to find more anthologies to submit my work to or to work on! Being published has shown me that the opportunities are out there—you just have to find them.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?
Elizabeth: One of my favorite lines from my work overall is actually a haiku: “Holy is my soul, Hallow of hope now horror, Holy is torture.” My poetry is writing about feelings of darkness to let them heal and grow into balls of light.
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Elizabeth: My writing mentor and friend, Tony, and my partner, Jack, have both helped me the most by their continuous words of encouragement and reminding me of my abilities and power.