Today we’re joined by Leah Wise, a fabulous poet whose work is in issue 1!
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
I make my money managing a thrift shop, but I spend most of my free time writing. I got interested in poetry in middle school, took a few poetry courses in college, and still write occasionally. I’m most inspired by change, and the anxious anticipation of the future. I rely heavily on metaphors and themes that present themselves in daily life.
When you create, what inspires you?
I most often write poetry when I’m afraid or wistful, or melancholy. Quiet moments that crystallize into memories ask for commemorative words.
Tell us about the specific inspiration behind one or each of your accepted pieces.
Cemetery Wedding: I used to walk to the old cemetery in downtown Tallahassee, FL and sit on a bench in the quiet. The place was enchanting and the graves held so many mysteries. I think there’s something really meaningful and important about recognizing the circle of life, too, so the idea of having a wedding among the graves with these long deceased people as guests felt like a way to honor their lives by including them in my own. I appreciate the juxtaposition of a moment like a wedding that is just buzzing with life and anticipation and the silence of the graves. Both are part of living. And I believe that coming to terms with our mortality brings greater meaning to life. It’s the key to leading a full, fearless life.
What is your medium of choice? Why?
Scrap paper and a pen. They say Emily Dickinson wrote poems on everything: scrap sheets of paper, book margins. I do a bit of that, too.
How did you first discover your love for writing?
I don’t really remember. I was a really quiet, introspective child so I was always observing my surroundings in detail. I think that naturally led to an interest in commenting on what I saw.
What advice would you give to an aspiring poet?
Read other poets! Also, experiment with formal structures and see what you like. Try to break out of what you think is expected of you. Use the senses to tell us what you’re feeling instead of merely describing how you’re feeling.
If you weren’t writing about love, what would be your topic of choice?
Death. End of life.
fēlan is old English for feel. What makes you feel love?
Friends who pay attention to the little things or surprise me at work. I sometimes get postcards from friends abroad and I love to get a little piece of their trip. Thoughtfulness.