A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with KB Brookins

with KB Brookins:

Q1: When did you start writing and whom influenced you the most now and currently?

KB: My first writings in general were journal entries, and I started doing that around 7. I started writing creatively in 10th grade, when I participated in an after school program at my highschool called Poetry Society. My early poetic influences were my friends; in poetry society we’d share what we wrote out loud, and I thought their stuff was so cool that it made me go harder on the page. Of course, I was also influenced by the media I was consuming around me – hip hop, R&B, really bad reality TV, etc. My current influences are more-or-less the same: my friends/contemporaries (jason b crawford! joy priest! Kay ulanday barrett!) and other media (Frank Ocean! Janelle Monae! Podcasts, TV, and etc!)

Q2: Any Pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

KB: Probably when I realized that I couldn’t do anything else career-wise comfortably. I’ve tried many paths – social work, student affairs, nonprofit management, k-12 arts teaching, working in a warehouse, waiting tables, bartending, photography, etc – and could have done any of those jobs, but not happily. I exhausted every plan that wasn’t A, and plan A has always been writing. I just stopped running away from it out of fear at the end of 2021. I’d like to think I’ve been fine since then. 

Q3: Who has helped you most with writing and career?

KB: Probably the teachers I’ve had throughout my life. Mrs. B Williams – my 7th grade English teacher, Ms. Duran (RIP) – my spanish teacher/poetry society liaison, Dr. McCormick – my African American studies professor. My mother. My grandmother. I guess a more accurate answer is the Black women that have grew me up over time.

Q4: Where did you grow up and how did that influence you? Have any travels influenced your work?

KB: Fort Worth, Texas. I write a lot about the place I grew up and the place I live now (Austin, Texas), so it influences my work quite a bit on that level. How could the place you lay your head, make your friends, and get your heart broken, not?

Regarding travels, of course. I just workshopped a poem that I started as I was crying at the Seattle Aquarium about whales. When I travel, I try to find what sparks joy in any place for me – bookstores, theater, bodies of water, music, and cultural spaces (like aquariums).  I have to say yes to everything that comes up as I’m writing. What comes up, inevitably, is whatever is on my mind. 

Q5: What do you consider your most meaningful work creatively to you?

KB: Work that does something more than be words on a page. When my poems live in a book, as well as a political arena, as well as someone’s kitchen, etc etc – when they have movement – I am most pleased. I care a lot about rights – the folks on the physical/digital frontlines creating a world where everyone gets to thrive are heroes to me. So if my words can be at all useful to tough conversations, and can be used to help someone somewhere have more empathy, then creatively, I’ve made myself useful. Creatively, I’ve won.

Q6: What are your favorite activities to relax?

KB: Snorkeling, hanging with friends, rollerskating, yoga, swimming, reading (when it’s not an assignment), eating good food, going to a museum/drag show/live music show/art space in general, sleeping.

Q7: What is a favorite line/stanza/lyric from your writing?

KB: Every line in my book, Freedom House (honestly)! 

Q8: What kind of music inspires you the most? What is a song or songs that always come back to you as an inspiration?

KB: Black Women in Music! R&B, Hip Hop, Funk, Reggaeton, Alternative, any of it. Lately it’s been Lizzo, Megan Thee Stallion, Ice Spice, City Girls, SCHUY, Ivy Queen, Beyonce, Coco Jones, SZA, Kehlani, Loners Club, Kelela, Tank and the Bangas, Jill Scott, and Janet Jackson.

Song inspiration for me changes as the days change (my first love before poetry was music). For my forthcoming book, an inspiration was definitely “Freedom Interlude” by Noname.

Q9: Do you have any recent or upcoming books, events, etc that you’d like to promote?

KB: My debut full-length poetry collection, Freedom House, is coming out so soon. You can order it directly from its publisher, Deep Vellum (and receive a free e-book!), or order it on BookshopBarnes and Noble, or anywhere you get books!

Q10: Bonus Question: Any funny memory or strange occurrence that you’d like to share during your creative journey?

KB: The only way I know I’m making a book is if I wake up out of my sleep to go write something down. That’s been the case in all 4 manuscripts I’ve finished. If it’s bothering you, write it down! It may turn into collated pages you feel really proud of. 

Bio & More can be found here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/11AwFb7IJgSZLXi27U5f1urwtVVqgZN7Y?usp=share_link

KB Brookins

2023 Fellow, National Endowment of the Arts

Author, Freedom HousePREORDER NOW!

Poet-in-Residence, Civil Rights Corps

earthtokb.com | Pronouns: they/them    

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1


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