with Angel Rosen:
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Angel: I began writing at 8 years old and at that time, I suppose my greatest influence had been Dr. Seuss. When I was younger, my mom used to read three books to me every night, sometimes as many as ten in a day, mostly Dr. Seuss and similar. I started writing cute, funny rhyming poems about animals or made up characters the same way Dr. Seuss did. Then, as a teenager, I felt more inspired by Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe and tried to focus on more serious, dark themes.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Angel: My biggest influences are Sylvia Plath and Amanda Palmer. I look to Sylvia’s work for inspiration, and guidance when I feel as though I am feeling something that cannot be articulated. Amanda Palmer has really influenced who I am as a person, and as a poet, because her music is a core part of who I am and has been since I first discovered it at age 15.
Q3: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Angel: When I was seven years old, I felt really angry because I knew I couldn’t draw well. I had wanted to be able to draw and to be good at art. I remember that I had an ugly blue journal with cherubs on it that had been gifted to me, and one night, I wrote “Maybe I’m a poet instead” on one of the pages, feeling defeated about my artistic pursuits. Less than a year later, I began to write all the time.
Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?
Angel: My English teachers in high school encouraged me even though I didn’t share what I wrote with them that much. The English professors at the community college that I attended really pushed me to want to grow as a writer and be serious, and taken seriously. There were two that really encouraged me and often reviewed my work and gave feedback, and they also helped me while participating in the college’s Writer’s Club where we would share our work and give each other feedback or at least, an audience. Other than that, those who have helped me the most, are the 10-15 friends who have been reading my work off and on for years and giving me emotional feedback, encouragement, and sometimes criticism. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the friends who have made space for my art.
Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing & did any travels away from home influence your work?
Angel: I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania where I still live. I feel like small town life is a big influence in my writing, since I write so much about taking up space and not fitting into places. I have never felt particularly inspired by traveling or even the idea of it. Most of my inspiration comes from people, not environments. There are interesting, beautiful and horrible people everywhere, you don’t have to travel to find them. Sometimes, you just have to invent them.
Q6: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?
Angel: My book, Aurelia, is the most meaningful project that I have done. A few of my very best, most beloved poems are contained in it. It also is meaningful because my best friend, Megan Hightower, worked as my editor, and another best friend, Victor Carlesi illustrated its perfect cover.
Q7: Favorite activities to relax?
Angel: To relax, I typically watch RuPaul’s Drag Race with my dogs and eat good food.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem/writing of yours or others?
Angel: Two of my favorite lines are: “My homecoming is always in the basement.” and “I am made of hills, flaws and coyote jaws, / with a haunting and a hover, I am / slobbering from the wound of / yesterday’s wake.”
Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Angel: My second book, Blake, will be out later this year! Please follow me on social media for updates and event information.
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