Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Interview with Poet Petula Caesar

1. What was the first poem that inspired you?

My dad used to recite poetry to me when I was a baby and a young girl, so the first poem I ever remember hearing inspired me. It is called "The Face On The Barroom Floor" by Hugh Antoine D'Arcy. It's a story poem about a dirty, ragged drunk in a bar who is a famous talented artist who has been driven to drink by the woman he loves who has left him. He tells his story to the bar patrons there laughing at him and draws her face there on the floor. Then he drops dead on top of the picture. Now that I think about it I wonder why my dad was reciting this kind of poem to me…LOL! The other poem I was inspired by Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken". I also love ee cummings "i carry my heart with you".

2. Who is your favorite poet/s? Why?

I'm pretty "old school" in my poetic tastes. I love Emily Dickinson, ee cummings, Poe, Rumi. There are more modern poets that I love as well, but I have always gravitated towards the classics. I love the way they use language; it is really artful and seems so effortless.

3. If you could have a conversation with a poet, who would it be? What 2 questions would you like to ask them?

I'm not sure what I would ask but I would love to have a conversation with Ntozake Shange, the woman who wrote "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf". Mainly because that work in particular is one that I think really embodies so much of what I ultimately want my work to be…I love the way she combines the beautiful and artful and creative and vulgar and raw and real all at the same time.

4. What does poetry mean to you?

It means writing that can exist just for its own sake. It doesn't have to have a purpose, or a meaning that you get, or make sense, or even have order. It exists primarily just to exist, and anything else it accomplishes is just extra beauty.

5. What type of poetry do you write?

I think because I write short stories, my poems tend to be story poems. I have a very peculiar rhyme scheme and meter that exists in my head that I write to and because I love music I think my poems tend to have a certain musical rhythm to them. I write very lyrical poetry, I put a lot of work into making sure I write with a certain amount of grace, no matter what the topic.

6. What do you think are the basic ingredients of a poem?

The basic ingredients for me are truthful emotion and great phrasing. One of the things I love about poetry is what makes it beautiful is its honesty. And it doesn't matter what you're being honest about. In poetry, you can be honest about some really ugly things, and if your truth shines through, the poem is beautiful.

7. What is your creative process like, atmosphere, etc?

I'm still trying to figure that out. It's very random. Often the first line of my poems, or the ideas for them come from some unrelated comment I'll hear someone make that just connects to something inside me. Then it just latches on to something in my brain, and it starts to grow from there, and I'll start writing. As far as atmosphere goes, I like to write late at night. As long as it's dark outside I'm good.

8. What is your definition of creativity?

Creativity is when you find interesting, unique, special ways to do something. Creativity is something that you can apply, and should apply to everything you do. The most mundane tasks can be fun if you find creative ways to do them.

9. On a typical day, how do you record your thoughts?

I'm not really that deep…LOL! I don't really record my thoughts formally on a regular basis. I have always been told I should, and I am trying to get in the habit of blogging and journaling regularly, but honestly, my thoughts often aren't really worth recording. They are really weird and are only significant to my close circle of friends. But when I do record my thoughts, it is usually by doing very random essay writing.

10. What inspired you to publish your poetry?

Money! I had no real interest in publishing my poetry, plus you get told very early when you become a professional writer that there is no market for poetry, especially on the page. But I was actually approached by a literary journal about publishing two of my works about ten years ago, and I did. They paid me $50 per poem, which is a LOT for a poem! So for a while I was pretty good at getting my work in online and print journals. My next published work will probably be some kind of poetry collection.

11. You're not only a poet but a spoken word/performance artist, what influenced you to perform?

Well, mainly because I got tired of not seeing me onstage. I got tired of not hearing my voice from the poets. It still irks me at how often people with "ordinary" voices don't get onstage, and its primarily because they feel they have to be like the other poets they see onstage, and when they aren't, they don't even try. I got up there because I wasn't like any of the others. One thing I hate most about spoken word is that while more often than not there are more women in the audience than men, there are mostly men onstage. And when I see women onstage, they generally tend to follow one of a few "formulas" that female performances poets tend to follow – "super green hippies", "mother Earth types", the "militant revolutionaries", the "angry man bashers", "the super philosophers", the "hyper-feminists", the "weird eclectics", etc. And the women who didn't fall into these categories always seemed to have such overly apologetic voices. They don't write strong. Whenever they wrote about things they consider bad, they always seem to be explaining and justifying. They seem to be so concerned with what people will think of them, so their writing and poetry never lets go, never flies. They never want to just be bad and wrong and dirty. I got tired of not hearing the voice of the woman who thinks bad things, says wrong things, who gets angry and is hateful and hurtful at times, who cusses and fucks and drinks and talks shit who still manages to have the sensitivity to feel and love and hurt and heal. Women feel so much pressure to be perfect, and it's killing us in so many ways. I want women to be powerfully flawed and unashamed of it, because that is the only way growth happens. That is what I hope to bring to performing – a powerfully flawed woman who is still blessed in her mess and will let you witness her evolution so you can appreciate your own.

12. In addition to performing you added recording your poetry to music to your resume. How did this come about?

By accident. I had just started working on my second collection of erotic poetry and short stories, and I was thinking of recording a few of the pieces to go with the book as a promotional CD. I wasn't planning to sell it. So I went to Mo-Rece of Stinkiface Music, who is one of the best producers around, especially when it comes to spoken word. I told him I wanted to do this promo CD thing of a couple of poems and a story or two, and he said "well, why don't you just record a CD and sell it?" At the time I thought it was just crazy. But we got to looking at my poems and we talked about it and in February 2008 I started working on my very first recordings, which eventually became my first CD, "The Eargasm".

13. The genre of poetry that you write is sometimes looked at in a negative light, some may even relate it to pornography or smut. How do you address these types of views?

Believe it or not, I am more sensitive than most to the fact that many people have issues with what I do. For example, when someone wants to book me for a performance, I make sure they are extremely clear about what I do, and that for the most part I don't censor my performances. I have been invited to perform at events and I get there and there are minors there, and I don't perform in front of minors, ever. But as far as addressing those views goes, I mean, honestly, I can't. I really don't try to convince people that what I do isn't as bad as they think. Because for some people it is. I don't have a problem with that, as long as in return they respect the fact that others feel differently. I have found respect for other people's feelings about my erotica has done more to address their issues with it than anything – the fact that I'm not trying to push it down their throat or make them accept it.

14. With a resume that includes being an accomplished journalist how do you maintain the balance of your two very different writing careers?

Well, in many respects there aren't any differences. Whether its journalism or poetry, it's all about telling a story, sharing with your reader a set of feelings, emotions, and circumstances. The difference is that in journalism you convey those things by presenting and framing facts, information, details. You attempt to make things clear. In poetry, you often do those same things by NOT presenting details. You often don't make things clear, you make them fuzzy. But writing is writing for me. I can pretty much write anything.

15. What words of wisdom would you give an aspiring poet/writer?


Well, first of all I would say that if you are planning a career as a writer, you are going to have to spend some time writing FOR FREE. That's just the nature of this business. There are a million writers out there, and at least some of them are better writers than you, more experienced than you, better trained and better prepared than you. So you have to be prepared to be so committed to writing that you'll do it for nothing for a time. For the poets, I would say that you should not get so caught up in your personal agenda that you aren't effective artistically. Way too many poets see themselves as these super-deep, highly reflective individuals with all these important things to say that people just MUST listen to, and something in wrong with people if they don't want to listen. Keep it simple. Share yourself, your thoughts, your words, your way of writing and being, and then stretch all those things as much as you can. If you do that, you'll be okay.

16. If you had to suggest one book that you have read in your life that was a vital tool, what would it be?

I don't know if there is any one book I would suggest. I have gotten different things out of different books at different times. Mostly I would suggest people try to read a book that is something that they wouldn't normally read, that broadens their horizons. For example, I'm not a huge science fiction fan, but I've made it a point to start reading some Octavia Butler books. And I have to say I love them, even though normally you couldn't pay me to go near sci-fi. But I am all about a person stretching themselves, so I'd say read that book that you've always said you'd never read.

Interesting tidbits about Petula….

17. If your life had a theme song what would it be?

Wow! Only one song? That theme song would change from day to day but overall I'd go with "I Did It My Way".

18. What is currently in heavy rotation in your ipod/mp3 player/cd player?

I'm getting into Erykah Badu's CD real heavy right now. Other than that I'm in the process of recording my next project and I'm collaborating with some other artists as well, so those tracks are what I'm listening to a lot now also. The two tracks in heaviest rotation are "Wordz", which is going to be the first track on my next recorded project, and "The Last Time", which is a duet with Janice B., another artist on the music label I am on. I do some serious poetry on that track, can't wait for people to hear it!

19. What is one of life simple pleasures that you find to very sensual/erotic?

Cooking and eating. I love sharing meals with people I care about – friends, lovers, my significant other, or whoever. The whole process brings a really great energy that I love. I love to go out to a restaurant, sit across from someone and just eat and talk and smile. I love to watch people chew, to watch their jaws move up and down as they eat. EI love the whole process of sharing sustenance.

20. What is one item that you never leave the house without that makes you feel sexy/sensual?

I make sure I smell good and carry my perfume or body oils or whatever with me. And I always make sure its not overpowering, but when he's close to me he can smell it.

21. Share with our readers an item that you suggest every woman have in there adult toy chest.

You know, the funny thing is that I'm really not that into toys! I mean I have a few, but I hardly ever use them. I like to save my sexual energy for my significant other for the most part, and the toys I have I more often use with him than alone. I do think a vibrating bullet is indispensible. In my opinion, bigger isn't better in my opinion when it comes to those things. I once brought a little tiny vibrating bullet that you're actually supposed to use on your tongue for oral stimulation, and that little thing worked on me better than the bigger ones. I think because it really could…focus…on the spot I wanted it to!

Are there any encouraging words of wisdom or favorite quote you would like to leave with our readers?

"Don't f*** it up." --RuPaul

Interview with Chris Hicks- Author of Think Volume 1: The Young Adults Guide to a Successful Relationship

1. How long have you been writing? When and why did it all begin?


I have been writing for two years now. I first started to write back in 2008, during that time I knew that I wanted to write but I couldn't decide on a topic. I didn't want to write about the streets and selling drugs or anything negative like that, but I really  wanted to write something that we all could relate to because not everyone gets exposed to the street life so I decided to write about relationships that's a touchy subject that almost all of us can relate to.  


2. What inspired your first project?


I wanted to write a book showing guys that its ok to treat women good, I wanted to paint a picture for the younger guys mostly letting them know that the "player" mentality is unacceptable, guys don't realize that women respond to the way we treat them, that's why I set a high standard for men so that they understand this message.


3.  Your first series of books are relationship based. Are there any other genre's you may consider?


I thought about doing a book about a message from a father to a daughter, and a teenager book talking about peer pressure and gang violence topics like that, so that's what's in store in the late future


4. What has been the most rewarding part of becoming an author?


The most rewarding part of becoming an author is knowing that my book actually helped someone, if you read the book I stress a lot about how this book is suppose to "wake you up" not just in relationships but life, so when someone comes to me and says "your book was great and it really opened my eyes" then that's rewarding to me because that's all I wanted to do from the beginning was help.


5. What is the most important lesson you've learned in your writing experience?


Take your time, read every contract, fine print, just take your time and do your research.


6. You're not only an author but you have established your own publishing company. What influence your decision to not only publish but create your own publishing entity?


I started my own publishing company because I wanted to have most of the control with this project, I had a vision that I wanted to get across and I knew I was the only one who could see the vision and bring it to the readers.


7. As a publishing company, what type of authors are you interested in working with?


The type of authors that I want to work with ideally would have to be like me, meaning someone who is very serious and passionate about their work, motivated ,hungry, someone who isn't scared to sacrifice, not willing to quite when things are not going their way, spiritual, honest and last someone I can trust.


8. If you could have one author as a mentor, who would it be? Why?


Hill Harper, because he gives back to the younger community and he talks about the positive issues as far as what it takes to make it in society today.


9. What words of wisdom would you give to an aspiring author?


Write what you feel, whatever comes to your mind write it down, don't be so easily discouraged, people are always going to tell you what u cant do or even try to bring your spirits down but don't let it get to you and understand that not everyone is going to like your work but that doesn't mean it isn't good enough.


10. What is normal day like for you? What do you do daily to stay motivated and keep your creativity flowing in your craft?


A normal day for me is my daughter and work. I'm constantly thinking and thinking, what can I do that another author isn't doing, I'm always trying to be fresh, relevant and different, but my daughter and her future is what keeps me motivated and ambitious.


11. What book is currently on your night stand?


Rich dad Poor dad by Robert Kiyosaki, I like to read books about business, real estate, investing things like that


12. If you had to suggest one book that you have read in your life that was a vital tool, what would it be?


I'm going to name two, Letter to a Young Brother by Hill Harper and Rich Pad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki


13. Your bio tells us that you are involved in volunteering. Tell our readers what volunteering means to you and why they should involve themselves in their communities?


It's so important to give back because a lot of kids and adults need help, they need motivation, hope and they need a reason to continue to live. That's what volunteering represents, lifting up peoples spirits and to let them know that they are not alone or forgotten. You should get involved with your community because that's what keeps our children safe and in school, if kids see hope they won't drop out of school or turn to crime because of the good they see. Kids try to become us, so if they see positive people helping that's what they will strive to become, that's why we need more role models in the community so kids have someone positive to look up to instead of the local drug dealer.  


Interesting/fun things about Chris…


14. What is currently heavy in rotation in your ipod/mp3 player/CD player?


The two cd's that I'm listening to now are Usher's new album Raymond vs Raymond and Trey Songs (ready) I'm in a romance mood right now.


15. If your life had a theme song what would it be?


If my life had a theme song right now, it would Drake "Over"


16. If you could visit any place in the world tomorrow without concern with expenses etc where would you go? Why?


If I could visit any place in the world it would be Egypt because its in Africa, this is where civilization began and I think Egypt has the best sites to see.


17. Studies have shown that color evokes emotion as well as tells you a lot about a person. If you were a crayon in the box of 120 crayola crayons, what color would you be?


Red meaning my passion and love...


**Since the topic of your book is relationships, I couldn't end this interview with asking a couple of questions about dating.


What are you thoughts on meeting people on the internet vs the traditional methods?


I don't see anything wrong with meeting people online, you just have to be extra careful because a lot of times you might not be talking to who you think you are talking to, there are scams and stalker online so you should be careful but I'm not against dating online


What would be your ideal first date?


My ideal first date would be something simple, we would have to go some place where we could have a meaningful conversation not so serious but have fun at the same time, so dinner first and depending on how much time is left in the night we could do another activity, it all depends on what kind of person she is and what she's wearing, if she is dressed up with a pretty dress and heels bowling or skating is out, but if she is dressed relaxed, a pair of jeans and sneakers then those two ideas are possibilities unless she's not into the both of them, but like I said it all depends, and that's what I call a simple date, just enough so we can get a feel for each other.


Are there any encouraging words of wisdom you would like to leave with our readers?


I want all my readers to know that if you have any goals or dreams keep working and pushing for them because you can reach each and every one of them. I'm here to tell you, I believe God puts certain people in our life for a reason and if you are reading this, then

you really are blessed because I know me being put in this position to tell you this isn't a mistake or accident. So to all my readers I'm proof that hard work really pays off.