with Kaleb Tutt:
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
Kaleb: I first started writing when I was around 14. One of my biggest influences was actually horror movies, specifically the Final Destination series. Those movies were a major influence on my writing during that time.
In high school, I fell in love with Alduous Huxley’s elevated yet relatable language in Brave New World. I also learned of Poe’s horror-themed poetry and added him into my list of inspirations.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
Kaleb: Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, and H. P. Lovecraft
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?
Kaleb: I was born and raised in Louisiana. The influence it had on me had 2 major effects: first, the small-town vibes provided my writing with a more personal, relatable style; second, the political climate (often filled with homophobia, sexism, and racism) led me to creating characters that fill my writing to represent the underrepresented.
My mom, sister, and I had to flee in the middle of the night when I was a kid due to personal life situations and we fled to Alaska. I wrote an entire poem, titled We Were Wolves, in which I described our escape as a leap across a chasm in Antarctic ice.
Q4: What do you consider the most meaningful work that you’ve done creatively so far?
Kaleb: My poem The Process of Deciphering Jabberwocky is by far my most important poem I’ve written yet. I’m on the autistic spectrum and throughout my life, I’ve been made a fool in front of my peers countless times to the point that my trust has been eroded. This poem was my attempt to explain why I had to stop giving people excuses and hopefully showing other neurodivergent people that they don’t have to accept less than they deserve. https://stoneofmadnesspress.com/poetry-issue-10
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
Kaleb: I was sitting in my college cafeteria and I was listening to music, some soft song that I can’t recall the title of, and I just felt so inspired that I pulled up a gDoc and started scribbling down some lines. I ended up with a poem called Kingdom of Mine and it changed my perspective on writing as an artform. I had written small things here and there before then, but didn’t consider that I could actually be a writer myself.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
Kaleb: Playing board games with my family, video games like Detroit: Become Human, playing with my dog, taking care of my rats, and painting.
Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?
Kaleb: I am going to be performing a live reading of some of my work on July 31st at the Bibliophile book store in Dover, Ohio. If you’d like to purchase a copy of my debut chapbook (titled ir / rational), please reach out to me on Twitter at @KalebT96.
Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem of yours or others?
Kaleb: From my poem “The Process of Deciphering Jabberwocky”:
I cannot explain to you the subtleties of the cadence of human voice, the ways in which dancing waves penetrate the hippocampus and uncover your broken shoebox memories, how the waves extract secrets with haunting violin strings.
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
Kaleb: Absolutely my mom and sister. They’ve been instrumental in helping me grow as an author and poet because they’re sincere and honest. They tell me when a poem isn’t quite up to par and when I should take the leap and submit my work. They’re avid supporters of me and my art and I couldn’t do this without them.