Before I get to the poetry, I’d like to share an assignment I had for my college spring semester: interviewing someone in my field to learn about the field and how to succeed in it. Of course, I had to many people to choose from, so I picked on that I’ve loved for a long time…

“For this assignment, I chose to interview a fellow WordPress blogger and writer friend of mine, Kindra Austin. To start, she introduced herself and talked about her upbringing. I asked her to name some writers that were an influence from a young age, and she named quite a few. Sylvia Plath, Edgar Allen Poe, Virginia Woolf, and Emily Dickinson were some of those that inspired her, and it was Plath who “incited her love affair with confessional poetry”. We then talked about her books, Magpie in August and Constant Muses. Magpie began as a diary about the relationship between her mother and over the course of a year or so expanded to encompass other family members. Her mother died in October of last year, and since she’d been working on a collection of poems and prose since the release of Magpie, she included more writing dedicated to her mother and dedicated Constant Muses to her. In addition to talking about her writing process, which includes her beloved cat and photographs of herself, her sister, her mother, and daughter, we also went over the literary collectives she’s a member of. As writer/managing editor at Sudden Denouement, Blood Into Ink, and Whisper and the Roar, she has come to know “savagely talented individuals who inspire me to challenge myself”. Most importantly, we talked about making it as a writer. She even gave me tips, detailing dedication, experimentation with different forms, building relationships, and sharing knowledge and experience. Finally, she named some of her favorite writers (I happened to be one!).

While some of what Kindra and I discussed was already known to me, I learned a great deal about what it takes to become a published writer. Kindra is extremely informed and a passionate human being, and it’s not hard to see why she’s so successful. I felt extremely honored to hear her views on our profession, and touched by her energy. This interview didn’t necessarily alter my plans; publishing my own poetry collection is still the main goal, but insight from someone who’s actually done it is quite invaluable. I feel encouraged to try different forms of poetry, and continuing to not be deterred by rejection letters.” 

Kindra has always struck me as an incredible writer who combines a warrior’s passion with a mother’s grace. Some of her recent poems reflecting on her childhood inspired me to write this (and no, I don’t do her work justice, but…)

My high school years were short on sweethearts
Just like middle school
None, actually
I was never the romantic soul
I’d console emptiness with full pages
WWW’s leading to poems and paragraphs
She was the only girl (*woman) I actually cared about
Because she wrote about the things I felt
Manipulation, inner strength, being a warrior
In spite of everything that has been done
And would eventually take place
I found consolation in poetry and prose
That stuck with you, despite the woes
Thrown to the wolves, no real father
In and out of your life as the alcohol
Drained from bottles upon bottles
You discovered what drugs were, even touched
Yet you never took part, and found offense
In the things that kept you from sleeping
And kept breakfast short, dinner shorter
And summer’s in hundred degree heat
Taught you to create your own destiny
Be your best self, your only self
I learned that here, first, and it’s because
Of them, that I found words to come to me too
I could write just like her, I could convey
Just like her
I never thought I’d be as accomplished
But if I could find my real self
Then the journey would have been worth it

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