Q&A with Narinda Heng

Tuyen Kim Than August 17, 2012 0

Do you sit and think through every word of every stanza or do you just write freely and allowing the words to flow?

There are certainly times when I agonize over finding the word or phrase that captures the idea or feeling that I’m trying to express, but the process is different for every piece. Sometimes the words do just come, in a torrent, and I just have to catch them before they pass me by, and there are also times when I really have to consider what and how I want to say something. And of course there are also moments when I have to just jot a few words down, take a deep breath, and leave the idea alone for a while so that my subconscious can chew on it a little longer.

Who is your favorite writer/poet?

This is probably one of the most agonizing questions you can ask anyone with any love of reading. Pablo Neruda and Ray Bradbury instantly come to mind as writers whose exuberance has given me permission for my own. Adrienne Rich’s poetry is at once simple and complicated, and consuming. For living, breathing poetry, I go to traci kato-kiriyama and The Burning of Paper.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

The writers I mentioned above. Being alive. My family. The way this bird (I think it was a dove) flew above my head today at the park. Love, in theory and in practice. Everything.

What were your goals you wanted to achieve by writing?

Goals. Hm. They’ve evolved over the years. I started writing both because my schooling compelled me to, and because I read so much growing up. The more words you take in, the more words you end up needing to push out, I think. I used to want to make a living through writing. The way I experience life includes writing; I think this is true for a lot of people, but not everyone thinks of it that way. My goal for writing is, simply, to connect. To connect ideas, stories, locations, memories, dreams, myself, to other people.

What do you do when you have writer’s block?

If I’m working at a computer, I’ll step away from it, pull out paper and pen, and do some stream-of-consciousness writing. That usually helps me articulate some of what I want to say. When I put a lot of pressure on myself to write about a certain thing, that can create a block, and I have to diffuse that pressure before I can write.
I might take a walk, read something, or meander around the internet for a while. Writing involves a lot of not-writing.

What advice would you give to the aspiring poet?

If you write poetry, you are already a poet. Let yourself write what you need to write (no one has to see any of it). Share what you wish, when you wish, and take chances. Don’t forget that before you are a poet, you are a human being. Note: I am not a professional poet. For those who wish to be published or performing poets, there are many much better resources than I.

Do you sit and think through every word of every stanza or do you just write freely and allowing the words to flow?

During a first draft, there are certainly times when I agonize over finding the word or phrase that captures the idea or feeling that I’m trying to express, but the process is different for every piece. Sometimes the words do just come, in a torrent, and I just have to catch them before they pass me by, and there are also times when I really have to consider what and how I want to say something. And of course there are also moments when I have to just jot a few words down, take a deep breath, and leave the idea alone for a while so that my subconscious can chew on it a little longer.

The editing process is where things get a bit harder, but you have to have something to edit first!

Recent news: I released a new chapbook last month called ‘of cities and lovers’ which is available here: http://transitionalzone.blogspot.com/p/i-write-things-and-sometimes-i-print.html

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