Tiny Talks with David Martin

Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with David Martin, the Founding Editor of Middle Creek Publishing & Audio from our ninth issue, Cut/Copy/Paste: The Remix!

Tiny Spoon: What was your process for engaging with the Cut/Copy/Paste Remix? How did you choose what to keep or what to omit?

David: Noting a few poems with lines that resonated with me and seeing within the collection of lines another alternate narrative. I tried to mostly cut up the entire original poem by lines and use them all, trying not to omit anything, but at times clipping words or fragments and moving them around in the space of the poem.

Tiny Spoon: What kindles your creativity?

David: Observation and being open to seeing variation. Transformation and experimentation.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any natural entities that move your work?

David: The flora and fauna of the wild in my region often inspire me to consider processes and experience differently than I might without encountering and observing them. Observing them reveals aspects of their nature or behavior that I often find is mirrored in the behaviors or processes or transformative aspects of myself.

Tiny Spoon: We’d love insight into your creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general?

David: Often I write out lines as they come to me observed in the world or heard in my mind, at times I repeat phrases and play with word substitution to find attractive alliteration or rhythms that feel right syllabically or in the efficient flowing of the movement of tongue and breath, I can feel a good poem with my mouth, hear a good poem in my mind.

Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current or future projects that you are working on that you would like to share?

David: As the Founding Editor of Middle Creek Publishing, I am swamped with work on other people’s manuscripts, but I do write my own poetry daily and have a few manuscripts for poetic collections in the process as well as a couple of novels that are taking their ever-so-sweet time in their final stages of refinement.

Tiny Spoon: What book, artwork, music, etc., would you recommend to others?

David: I would be remiss to not recommend a few choice books that Middle Creek Publishing has put out, namely, Hush by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, In Beauty We Are Made Visible by Christine Morro, Hawk Land by Sandra Noel, Our Mother, The Mountain by Alexander Shalom Joseph, Exhalations by Aaron M. Moe and a couple soon to be released: the highly anticipated Breath on a Coal by Anne Haven McDonnell and Seeking the Button Rock Hermit by Tony Burfield.

All of these works are a blend of eco-poetry and heart-based, inspirational, almost devotional works. I also enjoy poets being published by Longbarrow Press, Corbel Stone Press, and most things from Copper Canyon (as usual).

Middle Creek’s catalog, pulled from https://www.middlecreekpublishing.com/books

Tiny Spoon: Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond?

David: I have been a lifelong outdoorsman who has coupled a meditative, mindfulness and observational investigative approach to my relationship with myself and the natural world I inhabit. This pairing has led me to deepen the map of my journey in a most personally satisfying way. It is in my interaction with nature and the other-than-human beings I encounter that have enriched both my life, my cognitive map, my philosophy, my sense of meaning of life and work and action in the world, as well as my writing and poetic practice.

Tiny Spoon: Where can people learn more about what you do? (Website, social media, etc., if you wish to share it)

David: My work with and aside from Middle Creek Publishing can be found on Facebook, Instagram and with some of the aspects of the Nature & Wildlife Discovery Center where I am a caretaker and environmental educator.

ART AT THE INTERSECTIONS: Translation Between Mediums, an interview with workshop lead Safiyya “Saff” Bintali

Tiny Spoon: What inspired you to host this particular workshop?

Safiyya Bintali: I have always been very interested in how work is “translated” from one medium to another, especially as someone who works in different art forms (comics, illustration, and writing). What really sparked my inspiration for hosting this, though, was during a graphic novels seminar I was taking; as a part of our Persepolis unit, we watched and discussed the comic/movie adaptations.

Tiny Spoon: What does translation mean to you?

Safiyya Bintali: It’s a way of exploring a concept in all the ways it can be expressed. It’s a way of seeing how each medium impacts the telling and how each medium needs to tell something in a certain way with its own unique characteristics and concepts. It’s a way of not only learning about a concept on a deeper level, but all the ways different artistic disciplines can intertwine in its telling.

Tiny Spoon: Does translation appear in your own creative practice? Can you describe it?

Safiyya Bintali: As an illustrator, I translate the words of writers to images; this is especially interesting in my practice, as I illustrate on contract and not my own personal work. Getting the opportunity to work with authors and see how they interpret the ideal translation of passages/stories and how these translations can differ from my own put into perspective how “thinking in different mediums” works.
Recently, though, I’ve taken to translating my own shorter pieces into comics. Doing my own work in this
sense allowed me more creative freedom, but also allowed me to see what needs to be taken into
consideration when translating from one medium to another, and how important it is to consider them in
the optimal telling of the story.

Tiny Spoon: What are you most excited about, regarding the workshop?

Safiyya Bintali: Getting to teach it and hear the ideas flow during discussion! As a huge Bradbury fan, I am especially excited about the discussion surrounding “There Will Come Soft Rains.”

Tiny Spoon: What do you hope fellow workshop attendees gain from it?

Safiyya Bintali: I hope attendees get a chance to better understand the concept of “inter-medium translation”, as well as what to consider when translating their own work. I hope they also gain an inspiration to begin translating some of their work as an exploratory process!


Join us for Safiyya’s workshop Art at the Intersections: Translating Between Mediums!

One piece of art can be “translated” into many mediums–from plays to poems, novel excerpts to comics, story to dance. By translating our work, we can more deeply connect with the intersections of our creative self and explore new ways to adapt our work into new forms. This 2-day workshop series will be both informative and a creative practice. We will absorb and discuss other “translations” in media, such as the poem-short story-mini film translations of “There Will Come Soft Rains” (Bradbury/Teasdale) or comic-animated film translation of “Persepolis” (Satrapi), and later explore the ways we can adapt our own work. Participants can bring pre-existing work to “translate”, or bring a fresh new script/painting/anything they wish to the table to begin their journey into inter-medium translation.

Register now at https://tinyspoon.org/art-at-the-intersections-translating-between-mediums/!

ART AT THE INTERSECTIONS: Spotlight on Fall Resident Safiyya “Saff” Bintali

Tiny Spoon: We love insight into the creative process. Could you share what it is like for you? Do you follow any rituals or creative exercises to spark your writing process?

Safiyya Bintali: It’s hard to define a “clear process” for me, personally. Rather, I have a couple of practices that help me create various types of work. Among these is keeping a commonplace book, where I note down passages, poems, quotes, dialogue, whatever sparks something—it’s especially helpful during writer’s block. Going back to my favorite authors/artists and doing my own studies on their work also help me better ground myself in the work and, in turn, inspire me to continue my own.

One more thing: considering a theatre concept defined in Richard Schechner’s book Performance Theory, “event time”, which is defined as “…[an] activity … [that] has a set sequence and all the steps of that sequence must be completed no matter how long (or short) the elapsed clock time” (6). I’m not anti-outline or anti-structure when it comes to constructing a story, but sometimes what really works is putting saying what needs to be said at the forefront of the process rather than length, chapters, or other logistics. It’s completing the whole “steps of the sequence” (story), no matter the way you present it in the end.

Tiny Spoon: What inspired you to begin and maintain these practices?

Safiyya Bintali: Two words: they worked!

Tiny Spoon: Does your writing intersect with other creative practices?


Safiyya Bintali: I like to adapt my work or portions thereof in other mediums, usually visual art. I adapted one of my short stories into a comic before to explore the process.

Tiny Spoon: If your work was a song, what would it be?

Safiyya Bintali: Tough question! I’m not sure cumulatively, but I remember writing a story in middle school that never saw the light of day with characters based off some lyrics in Greg Laswell’s Comes and Goes. I always liked that song a lot.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any artists/ heroines/ idols/ friends who have been influential to your work?

Safiyya Bintali: So many! I’ve had some excellent creative mentors who have greatly influenced and helped me improve upon my work, for which I am grateful. My thesis chair, Dr. Chapman; my art mentor, Professor Jean Munson; my graphic novels professor, Dr. Gauthier; and my English mentor, Professor Brokaw have especially been supportive and I appreciate them so much. Throughout my high school years and still now, I was also very inspired by the animator/artist @memedokies.

Tiny Spoon: What is on your reading list this season?

Safiyya Bintali: Mainly some graphic works:
– Stretch Marks: A Psychologic Autobiography by Jean Munson
– Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth by Grant Morrison/Dave McKean
– My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Vol. 2 (hopefully!) by Emil Ferris

And some texts I want to reread or explore:
– Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
– Octavia Butler’s Patternist series
– and reread P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves stories—always a great time!

Tiny Spoon: Can you share your philosophy on sustaining creative communities?

Safiyya Bintali: Successful creative communities work together to ensure communication and support that builds one another up and helps one another improve. It is also not built on competition or outdoing one another, but working towards individual goals together, and encouraging one another to do so.

Tiny Spoon: What advice would you give to emerging writers?

Safiyya Bintali: Don’t throw out or delete your old work—it is a part of the journey, and honestly, it’s kind of fun reading it later, even if you question what you were thinking at the time. Oh, and take chances! It’s not easy putting your work out there, but by building up the confidence and continuing to create, you will find a way to share your work in the best way possible.

Safiyya Bintali: Also, don’t feel as if those who are already established/practicing an art are unapproachable. You will find some of the most inspiring and incredible mentors, friends, and fellow artists by reaching out. Connections like that can carry you.

Tiny Spoon: Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond?

Safiyya Bintali: Maybe a fun fact. One of the more recent additions to my commonplace book is the poem “Chess” by Rosario Castellanos. It’s very fun to imagine, but also a very thought-provoking read. Definitely worth a read!

Tiny Spoon: What projects are you working on? Can we find you at any upcoming events, etc.?

Safiyya Bintali: My YA novel, One Last Month! This is a part of my thesis, so I am excited to finish it, especially as I have been working on it for quite some time and the characters are very close to me at this point.

Safiyya Bintali: Whenever I have more time, I was thinking of adapting a short story collection I did into small comics. They surround three decades in American history, centering in on a car definitive of the decade, with the car acting as somewhat of a symbol of the “ideal” of the times and the way things really are. Writing it was fun. Now, drawing those cars…that’s another story. So, that’s on the backburner for now.

Tiny Spoon: Where can people learn more about what you do? (website, social media, etc., if you wish to share it) 

Safiyya Bintali: My work can be found on my website, safiyyabintali.com


Join us for Safiyya’s workshop Art at the Intersections: Translating Between Mediums!

One piece of art can be “translated” into many mediums–from plays to poems, novel excerpts to comics, story to dance. By translating our work, we can more deeply connect with the intersections of our creative self and explore new ways to adapt our work into new forms. This 2-day workshop series will be both informative and a creative practice. We will absorb and discuss other “translations” in media, such as the poem-short story-mini film translations of “There Will Come Soft Rains” (Bradbury/Teasdale) or comic-animated film translation of “Persepolis” (Satrapi), and later explore the ways we can adapt our own work. Participants can bring pre-existing work to “translate”, or bring a fresh new script/painting/anything they wish to the table to begin their journey into inter-medium translation.

Register now at https://tinyspoon.org/art-at-the-intersections-translating-between-mediums/!

Tiny Talks with Dre Levant

Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with Dre Levant from Issue 9, Cut/Copy/Paste: The Remix!

Tiny Spoon: What was your process for engaging with the Cut/Copy/Paste Remix? How did you choose what to keep or what to omit?

Dre: Whenever I sit down to craft a cut-up poem, I usually start by cutting out the phrases/words that stand out the most to me, then once I have a sizeable pile I just start arranging and rearranging the words until I find what feels right or fits best! The process is very intuitive. Sometimes words just don’t end up fitting or flowing and I omit them. I always try to take the essence of what the original piece is saying, but refracted another way to reveal another meaning – and of course I imbue my pieces with my own perspective too!

Tiny Spoon: What kindles your creativity?

Dre: The list is pretty endless! Almost anything can give me a spark of creativity – it could be a crack in the sidewalk, two strangers walking ahead of me, or a rusted vase in a stream.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any artists, heroines, idols & friends that you look up to?

Dre: I admire e.e. cummings and William Burroughs as writers – their experimental style has definitely influenced my own work! I admire Sean William McLoughlin (Jacksepticeye) for his incredible passion and the way he spreads so much joy.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any natural entities that move your work?

Dre: I often find myself writing about rain or dusk – I love the refreshing nature of rain and the way that dusk is the in-between time of day, where everything slows down for a moment.

Tiny Spoon: We’d love insight into your creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general?

Dre: Sometimes my creative process is writing nonstop for several hours when inspiration takes hold, other times it’s writing down sporadic notes over the course of several weeks before a piece finally takes shape.

Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current or future projects that you are working on that you would like to share?

Dre: Yes! I’m working on two poetry chapbooks (I actually just submitted one yesterday to a publisher, so here’s hoping!) and a YA novel that (hopefully) will be done in the next year!

Tiny Spoon: What book, artwork, music, etc., would you recommend to others?

Dre: I’d recommend reading the poetry book “Today Means Amen” by Sierra DeMulder and listening to “480” by blackwinterwells!

Tiny Spoon: Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond?

Dre: Mmm I also do pen and ink art! I draw mostly animal skulls and flowers – I say it’s my current muse but it’s been my muse for about 3 years so maybe it’s just what I do. My Writing Instagram & Twitter are both @drethepiper Art instgram is @jupiter.bloom_art if you want to find more of my work!

TINY TALKS WITH SHLOKA SHANKAR

Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with Shloka Shankar from Issue 9, Cut/Copy/Paste: The Remix! Find their poem, “what to say” in our ninth issue!

Tiny Spoon: What was your process for engaging with the Cut/Copy/Paste Remix? How did you choose what to keep or what to omit?

Shloka: I read through the entire issue and opened a notepad to the side. As I was reading, I copied phrases, words, and lines into the notepad. Then, I remixed my selection into a poem by adding and deleting, sometimes altering the tense, et cetera. It’s an intuitive process, really, and I stop when the poem speaks to me and begins to “sound” like something I would have written. Found poetry works only if the individual sources are elevated/altered to create something new, exciting, and different.

Tiny Spoon: What kindles your creativity?

Shloka: I love making abstract collages and creating visual poems from there. A single word or phrase I read in another poem can also spark something in my own head. It’s about paying attention and noting down the most innocuous things that might trigger the muse later on. Being playful and experimental alleviates the pressure to “get something done.”

Tiny Spoon: Are there any natural entities that move your work?

Shloka: We’d love insight into your creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general?

Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current or future projects that you are working on that you would like to share?

Shloka: I am the Founding Editor of Yavanika Press, an indie publisher of eBooks, and we have a whole bunch of new titles coming out in September.

Tiny Spoon: Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond?

Shloka: My debut full-length haiku collection, The Field of Why, came out earlier this year, and you can purchase a copy here if you’re interested: https://yavanikapress.wixsite.com/home/the-field-of-why

Tiny Spoon: Where can people learn more about what you do?

Shloka: Website: http://www.shlokashankar.com / Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/shloks23 /

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shloks89 / Society6 shop: http://www.society6.com/shloks23

TINY TALKS WITH NAT RAUM

Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with nat raum from Issue 9, Cut/Copy/Paste: The Remix! Find their poem “cytotopography” in our ninth issue!

Tiny Spoon: What was your process for engaging with the Cut/Copy/Paste Remix? How did you choose what to keep or what to omit?

nat: Having worked in the past with erasure fragments, I found a lot to draw from in the issue. I started by reading the issue and marking pieces I found interesting. Traditional erasure isn’t all about having interesting words; it’s also about having enough connective tissue to make them work. But since I was reconstructing fragments from multiple pieces into one piece, interest definitely played a large part in my selections, as did euphony.

Tiny Spoon: What kindles your creativity?

nat: I consider myself an artist before I consider myself a writer in that most of my writing practices don’t differ much from my art practice. I took a class in early undergrad about using “any medium necessary” to accomplish something creatively, and treat my poetry as a medium within that practice. So my creativity comes out in many ways, and is mostly kindled by my lived experience. Most of my work starts with something I observed, often woven into a memory.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any artists, heroines, idols & friends that you look up to?

nat: My photographic idol is absolutely Nan Goldin. I’ve always really related to her practice of documenting the people and places around her every day and find myself emulating her in some way or other basically always. I definitely look up to many of my fellow editors and artists as well, considering many people who started as collaborators to be close friends now. To name just a few wonderful creatives and friends, check out the artwork of Sarah Eckstine, Hyacinth Schukis, and Nick Norman, and the writing of Rachael Crosbie, Charlie D’Aniello Trigueros, Clementine Williams, and Andrew Daugherty. I also want to give a special shoutout to Kelsey Sucena, who’s both an artist and a writer, and someone whose work I recently published that I admire.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any natural entities that move your work?

nat: I would say not in any specific way, beyond experiencing nature through visiting my parents’ house in the forests of Baltimore County and my extended family in Appalachia. The other thing I would say is that often, my imagery begins with (or touches) the way light is behaving, and I think that comes naturally to me as someone who studied photography for my undergraduate degree.

Tiny Spoon: We’d love insight into your creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general?

nat: I’m somewhat of an obsessive maker. I typically have an idea for something and go right for it, stopping very little along the way. It’s definitely how I’ve been able to maintain such a consistent practice over time, but it does lead to a lot of things being tabled for later and never returned to. That being said, a lot of my recent work has involved explorations of the past that allowed me to return to those abandoned WIPs—childhood religious trauma in my chapbook ‘preparatory school for the end of the world’ (2021), substance use and femininity in my early 20s in my hybrid memoir ‘you stupid slut’ (2022), and objects as agents for memory in my chapbook ‘specter dust’ (2022). A professor of mine told me the past is unbelievably rich for inspiration through memory, and I definitely agree.

Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current or future projects that you are working on that you would like to share?

nat: I tend to have a lot going at once, but the project I’m working on most actively right now is a full deep dive into the idea of the digital archive. I’m searching my old social media posts and backup-drive documents and pictures from as far back as 2009, as well as working on erasures of novels I read as a teen. The final result of each work is a hybrid piece that combines a piece of writing with a digital collage. My work tends to be personal, but this is a very different kind of personal for me and it’s really exciting.

Tiny Spoon: What book, artwork, music, etc., would you recommend to others?

nat: Though I read a lot of great work and consume a lot of incredible art as an editor, I consequently rarely get to talk about how much I love music. I love ambient music—and really beyond just lo-fi, though I love lo-fi too. I’m constantly discovering new ambient artists, but my favorites consistently come from Jonny Nash, Suzanne Kraft, Virginia Aveline, and Suso Saiz. I’m also a huge fan of Glass Animals and Fall Out boy for their lyrics.

Tiny Spoon: Where can people learn more about what you do?

nat: My website is viewable at natraum.com, and I’m on Twitter and Instagram (@gr8earlofhell).

TINY TALKS WITH RAY FROST

Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with Ray Frost from Issue 9, Cut/Copy/Paste: The Remix! Find their collage comic, “The Intimacies We Have Shared” in our ninth issue!

Tiny Spoon: What was your process for engaging with the Cut/Copy/Paste Remix? How did you choose what to keep or what to omit?

Ray: I read through the whole issue once just to experience it. Then I reread it a few days later and cut out all of the words, phrases, and images that jumped out at me. The next day I looked at everything I cut out and played with arranging them until I found a poem that I felt told a story.

Tiny Spoon: What kindles your creativity?

Ray: Nature, music, and things I see out riding my bike.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any artists, heroines, idols & friends that you look up to?

Ray: I look up to a lot of the other artists who also work out of the Reno Generator. It’s an amazing community with so much talent. I also look up to Ashley Anderson (@hiddenstash.art), Pine Bones, and Hyena Hell.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any natural entities that move your work?

Ray: The moon is a huge symbol in both my life and my work. My work is also heavily influenced by the landscape of the Nevada high desert.

Tiny Spoon: We’d love insight into your creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general?

Ray: Most of my work starts with a note in my phone and a bunch of reference photos on my laptop. I make sketches until I find an image that speaks to me and go from there.

Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current or future projects that you are working on that you would like to share?

Ray: I’m currently working on finishing up issue 10 of my zine series How Did This Happen??? which follows the adventures of a reanimated roadkill coyote

Tiny Spoon: What book, artwork, music, etc., would you recommend to others?

Ray: Coyote Doggirl by Lisa Hanawalt.


Tiny Spoon: Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond?

Ray: My art is a huge part of how I cope with my depression and I hope my work is a bright spot for other people as well.

Tiny Spoon: Where can people learn more about what you do?

Ray: @indoorcoyote on Instagram.

TINY TALKS WITH CRYSTAL BOWDEN

Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with Crystal Bowden from Issue 8, Cut/Copy/Paste: The Original! Read her poem, “Dream State” in our eighth issue!

Tiny Spoon: What kindles your creativity?

Crystal: Giving myself the space and time to sit with ideas is essential for my creative practice. Also, reading is a constant source for me. Books live inside me, changing how I think and what I know. That inevitably bleeds its way into my work.

Poetry and collage are how I express myself and draw on my relationship with others in the most collective sense. In this way, each poem or collage I create tells a different story through interiority. I hope people find their own stories buried within the layers.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any artists/ heroines/ idols/ friends that you look up to?

Crystal: Too many to list for sure! Honestly, I find women ridiculously inspirational. Every time I see another woman doing something amazing, whether it’s a creative endeavor or not, I feel uplifted. I feel stronger. We all have so much potential within us that at any given time is being suppressed, both externally and internally; all I can think is BRAVO. Get it. We’ve got this.

Time

Tiny Spoon: Are there any natural entities that move your work?

Crystal: As humans, everything we are is rooted in the natural world, so I find that connectedness essential to my work. I love to make a study of nature. I’m an avid bird watcher – my yard is full of feeders! Peterson Field Guides and the App Seek are great for identifying things I cannot put a name to.

Tiny Spoon: We love insight into the creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general?

Crystal: I’m a pen and paper person when it comes to writing. And I rarely write poems at the start, even though poems are all I write. Instead, I like to get my ideas and thoughts down loosely on the page before I ever try to turn them into something more structured and coherent. These usually look like lists more than anything else. Then I’ll take those ideas and start arranging and structuring them into a poem. Only after that will I move the poem from my writer’s notebook into a digital document for revisions. It’s best if I take some time between the original writing and revisions, so I lose some of my sentimental attachment to the original and view it more objectively.

When I create visual arts, I hardly ever go into a piece knowing my overarching goals or what will happen in the artwork. Instead, the process is intuitive and generally driven by mood and whatever is currently sitting heavily in my brain. Those inform my decisions, whether the color palette, imagery, or composition. I try not to overthink these things and let myself flow.

Simple Rhythm

Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current or future projects that you are working on that you would like to share?

Crystal: Currently, I’m working on a manuscript for my first poetry chapbook titled, Before the Exhale. The title comes from a line in my poem, Middle Spaces, about all the ways we live in between one thing and the next. These show up in my work in numbered and varied ways, and you’ll see this throughout Before the Exhale.

Tiny Spoon: What book, artwork, music, etc., would you recommend to others?

Crystal: For other poets, I highly recommend the book, Glitter in the Blood: A Poet’s Manifesto for Better, Braver Writing, by Mindi Nettifee. For those who love reading poetry, read Lord of the Butterflies, by Andrea Gibson.

Mood

Tiny Spoon: Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond?

Crystal: I regularly publish in magazines! You can keep up with new  individual publications by following me on social media. You’ll find my work included in upcoming issues from The Spring City Journal and Pile Press.

Tiny Spoon: Where can people learn more about what you do?

Crystal: My website | Instagram | Twitter

Interview with Aerik Francis, Spring Tiny Resident

We love insight into the creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general? Do you follow any rituals or creative exercises to spark your writing process?

I had two poems appear in the Memory issue of Tiny Spoon, and both of those poems were inspired by thinking whimsically about everyday life. One poem was inspired by a moody portrait of my cousin, and the other was inspired by thinking about how sensory experiences contain the living memories of my family/ancestors. I ask myself questions, like what would it look like and mean to place all those sensations together. For “Remembering: Redux” what if I placed my passed on family members in the same poem– what sensory elements introduce them to the poem? At the end of that poem, there is a nod to a Frantz Fanon quote I’ve always admired, the final lines of Black Skin, White Masks. So another part of my inspiration is reading and being inspired into a kind of conversation with the authors. 

What inspired you to begin and maintain these practices?

Towards a former career path, I read a lot of political theory and critical theory. I would find that they inspired thoughts and words, but that it rarely came out as neat and clean prose. When I leaned into those ideas as poetry instead of just as messy prose, it opened up how I could interact with what I was reading and thinking. It also made it easier to apply those ideas back to my everyday life. So it’s the same boring but true advice most writers have: read more and use the reading to get inspired to write. It’s never consistent, but I try my best to maintain a regular reading schedule, which in turn maintains a regular writing schedule.

Does your writing intersect with other creative practices?

Absolutely! As a poet, I try my best to operate as a musician. I am very interested in multi-media work and it is another reason why I love poetry: it is very amenable to many formats. My extended play project SYZYGY started out as poems and became music and short films. Also I have plans for my chapbook BODYELECTRONIC to have an experimental audio component to it as well. Even my paintings and visual art has found its way back into my poetry, with a few of my paintings now as cover art for poetry projects.

If your work was a song, what would it be?

Such a hard question, just one song!? I feel like my answer would change everyday. So today, my answer is Jupiter by Kelela. There is such a feeling, such a gravity to that song for some reason, that eclipses even the lyrics in sentiment. But the lyrics too– simultaneously, it feels like I’m eavesdropping on an intimate phone call and also being comforted by a close friend. I hope my work can evoke those kinds of feelings, regardless of what the words are. And that the words can maintain an air of mystery and intrigue, while also being comforting and familiar.

Are there any artists/ heroines/  idols/ friends who have been influential to your work?

So many! I gotta name my favorite musicians, of course, so Kelela, FKA twigs, Sevdaliza, Kllo, Jamie Woon, Purity Ring. Too many wonderful poets to name also, but poets like Liza Sparks, Beca Baca, Ashia Ajani, Hakeem Furious, C. Louise Williams – all of them friends but also talented poets who have impacted my craft and poetics greatly! Also, importantly, shoutout to my sister Alisha who was the first to teach me that creativity breeds more creativity. 

Are there any natural entities that move your work?

I don’t explicitly consider myself an eco-poet; however, nature, and especially a dire concern for the human damage upon nature, is always entering my poetry in one way or another. I focus on the body as an entry way into these discussions, as conversations about the body tend towards the environmental conditions and elements. So all kinds of natural entities move my work, always!

What is on your reading list this season?

There are always so many good books coming out, again too many to name. So I’ll share my current library book haul (I’ve started all of the books but am still working through each one): The Renunciations by Donika Kelly; Voyage of the Sable Venus by Robin Coste Lewis; Gumbo Ya Ya by Aurielle Marie; Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers by Jake Skeets; Heed the Hollow by Malcolm Tariq; and Exiles of Eden by Ladan Osman 

Can you share your philosophy on sustaining creative communities?

Probably the most important thing is to show up! Show up for your friends, attend their events and pay for their merch. Try to show up to events and meetings as often as you feel capable– and get involved, take on roles and positions. We have more power than we think we do– we can start our own open mics, our own publications, our own organizations. But also, there are always so many people already doing the work we want to do– partner up with other artists and organizations and work together to achieve those shared goals. The ultimate philosophy is simple: You shine, I shine, we all shine. 

What advice would you give to emerging writers?

Similar to the last answer. Just show up. Start now. There is always more to improve and more to learn, but the reality is that you truly are enough now. Start where you are and build up with the folks around you, build upward with your friends.

Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond?

Not to be a walking comercial, but just check out my work! There is a growing archive on my website phaentompoet.com . I write all sorts of poems, so if one isn’t for you, perhaps another might be! I have a chapbook out as well as a few music projects and single poems. Let me know what you think!

What projects are you working on? Can we find you at any upcoming events, etc.?

For folks in Denver, after the Sunday workshop in the evening, I am a featured performer in a fantastic lineup of a wonderful poetry and music show. Listen to Your Skin is teaming up with Jazzetry for their first in-person event on April 24th at 7pm at RIVER. I have full-length poetry collection manuscripts I’m working on. One is titled BODYPOLITIC and the other is titled ubiquities . Most pressingly, for my chapbook BODYELECTRONIC (which is out now!) I’m trying to put together an experimental audio experience as well as a set of events to celebrate its release. Stay posted on my social media for more info about that. 

Where can people learn more about what you do?

You can find me everywhere @phaentompoet or via my website phaentompoet.com

More about Aerik Francis and our Tiny Residency can be found at https://tinyspoon.org/2022-tiny-residents/.

TINY TALKS WITH OORMILA VIJAYAKRISHNAN PRAHLAD

Tiny Talks is an interview series with Tiny Spoon’s talented contributors. This week we spoke with Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad from Issue 8, Cut/Copy/Paste: The Original! Read her poem, “Death Dream in Purple” in our eighth issue!

Tiny Spoon: What kindles your creativity?

Oormila: Everyday things! I believe there is magic in the commonplace. I see my art and poetry as documentations of my daily experiences — conversations I have with my children, the people I meet, sights and scenes I encounter on my walks, photos I take.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any artists/ heroines/ idols/ friends that you look up to?

Oormila: I can think of so many! Off the top of my head, I look up to Carolynn Kingyens for her luminous poetry that brims with tenderness and humanity, Zaina Ghani for her wonderfully imagistic works, Nina Bennett, Beate Sigriddaughter, Alexis Rhone Fancher, Sneha Subramanium Kanta, and Mandira Pattnaik’s for her lyrical flash fiction. Idols I admire — my friend Sandhya Devanathan. She is my role model.

Tiny Spoon: Are there any natural entities that move your work?

Oormila: I live in a green and leafy suburb of Sydney. I get visits from all kinds of lovely wild spirits:  bunnies, possums, magpies, bush turkeys, cockatoos, and lorikeets to name a few. I have published several series of mixed-media artworks and poems inspired by these beautiful creatures. My studio overlooks a lovely garden and during the lockdown, the wildlife was pretty much my social life. They figure prominently in a lot of my work.

Tiny Spoon: We love insight into the creative process. Could you share what it is like for you, either with your work that appears in Tiny Spoon or in general?

Oormila: I have several projects going on at any given point in time, and I keep switching among them. I like to work in an organized space which is easy when I am writing poetry. It’s the painting that gets messy and I find myself getting distracted and cleaning up in the middle of work very often! I always carry a sketch book and a notepad. In the pre-Covid days, a lot of my poetry drafts were written either on train commutes or while waiting to pick my kids up from school.

Tiny Spoon: Do you have any current or future projects that you are working on that you would like to share?

Oormila: I am working on two micro-chapbooks. Both my parents have milestone birthdays coming up this year. My mum turns 70 and dad turns 75 and I want to surprise them with two collections of poems dedicated to both! I also have plans to put together a full-length poetry manuscript at some point.

Tiny Spoon: What book, artwork, music, etc., would you recommend to others?

Oormila: Carolynn Kingyens’ books Before the Big Bang Makes a Sound, and Coupling. I am a huge fan of Gaia Rajan’s writing, and I loved her chapbook Moth Funerals. I would also recommend Phillip Hall’s brilliant collection of poems, Cactus, which is a heart-breaking exploration of depression and what it is like to live with it. I also recommend all Shankari Chandran’s books: Song of the Sun God, The Barrier, and her latest novel, Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens.

Tiny Spoon: Is there anything else you would like others to know about you, your creations, or beyond?

Oormila: Besides writing poetry and painting, I play improv piano — some Metallica, Pink Floyd, Guns and Roses. I have a huge collection of odds and ends in my studio, and I use some crazy materials in my mixed media works sometimes. Recently, I made “cat wool” from the hair from my cat’s brush. It made for the most delicate silver wool, and I added it as accents to a few winter-themed mixed media landscapes. It looked great!

Tiny Spoon: Where can people learn more about what you do?

Oormila: I’m on Instagram and on Twitter.