In honor of Black History Month, we invited issue 12 contributor Laurin DeChae to talk about her poetry in an email interview. Check out the q&a below as well as Laurin’s recording of Audre Lorde’s “A Woman Speaks.”
Pretty Owl Poetry: In the piece published in Issue 12 of Pretty Owl Poetry, “That Black Light So Cliché,” you indicate the poem is after Mos Def & Talib Kweli. Can you talk about how music plays a role in your writing? In general, are you musically inclined or play any instruments?
Laurin: I am always listening to music. In this case, I wanted to create a framework/set of rules for my poetry month writing challenge. I decided to work through my ideas and genealogy of afrofuturism. I played the flute from fourth grade all the way into college, about 13 years total. Rhythm and sound in general are important to me and I enjoy finding new ways to interact with the traditions of jazz, funk, hip-hop and R&B.
POP: What are your three favorite books (not limited to poetry)?
L: Douglas Kearney’s Black Automaton
Margaret Atwood’s Oryx & Crake
Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves
POP: What is your guilty pleasure TV show?
L: RuPaul’s Drag Race
POP: What food item are you currently obsessed with?
L: Cheese. Always cheese.
POP: How did your childhood influence your writing? If it didn’t, what does motivate your words?
L: In many ways ideas about the shift from childhood to adulthood appear in my poetry, but it something I both confront head-on while simultaneously avoiding it. It’s something I’m still working through and many of my newer poems meditate on this. In general, identity is important to my work in that it seems a common notion that we must constantly struggle to achieve a singular definition of selfhood that, to my mind, doesn’t exist.
POP: Metaphorically speaking, how would you describe your connection to your laptop?