Q: When did you start writing?
A: I started writing when I was a little kid. I’m sure a lot of people say this, but I genuinely don’t remember not being in love with writing. Even before I could actually read/write, I loved books a lot, and I would make these little picture books and then instead of writing words I would just write lines of scribbles, like a cartoon character, and make up the story as I was reading it to people. Poetry didn’t come until later though. I was probably in middle school before I realized poets even still existed.
Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favorite writers?
A: Speaking as someone who went to college for poetry and then only recently has gotten into indie lit, the list is kind of a mixed bag. On the Mainstream White Dudes side, I really love Stephen Dunn and Richard Siken. They both have this understated sort of discipline to their work but still manage to gut-punch me. And then there’s this whole crowd of people in the indie lit scene who have shown me that you can truly do whatever you want. Sam Pink and Noah Cicero most easily come to mind, but it’s everybody, really. A lot of the time it feels like I just rolled up to this entirely new continent. I also started reading Dorothea Lasky’s Milk the other day, and wow.
Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?
A: I work a 9-5 office job, and I do a lot of writing throughout the day at my desk. I keep a pad of paper with me and jot down weird lines and bits of things that run through my mind, and then whenever I have more time, I flesh it out and try to see if I have a real poem somewhere in there. But that’s less of a conscious practice and more a result of being really good at focusing on anything but the thing I’m supposed to be doing.
(Unless you’re my boss reading this. Then I only write in the evenings after a solid eight hours of being passionately engaged in my number-one priority, which is of course my office job.)
Q: Why do you write?
A: For me, it’s always just been a thing I naturally gravitate towards. I don’t go more than a few days without writing most of the time. I had a bit of a mental breakdown at the end of last year and didn’t write for a few weeks, and it felt like a major disruption of my identity; that’s how unusual it is. There are dry spells, but I don’t consciously think about needing to sit down and produce some poems. Writing is often just the first thing that occurs to me when I have an interesting thought or feeling. It’s the only way I know how to process anything.
Q: Do you have any favorite quotes from writers?
A: “I’ve tried to become someone else for a while, / only to discover that he, too, was me.” -Stephen Dunn
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?
A: There’s no path and, for most of us, no “making it.” But that’s not cynical. It’s freeing. It means there’s no single person or opportunity that can make or break you, so you can do what you like. I still consider myself a “new writer” and probably always will forever, but I remember a time not that long ago that I was still keeping a really tight grip around this idea of a “writing career,” constantly anxious and concerned about making specific “moves.” Serial predators and harassers are entirely to blame for their behavior, but I will say that thinking of myself as being on some specific path made it really easy for me to fall into the hands of someone who emotionally extorted me in exchange for “opportunities.” Later, I learned that I was already putting in the right kind of work and already very much a Writer before receiving those “opportunities,” and I didn’t need to make concessions to some scummy dude in order to feel valid as one.
You’re already valid. You’re behind the wheel. Write things that move you, hold up those things when you read them, and be genuine. Everything else is sort of pointless.
Q: Do you have any upcoming books or projects you’d like to talk about?
A: My debut poetry collection The Poet Confronts Bukowski’s Ghost is coming out in June 30th under Philosophical Idiot. It’ll be available on Amazon and also through me. 🙂
Kat Giordano is a poet and massive crybaby in Pittsburgh, PA. Her poems have appeared in Maudlin House, OCCULUM, Indigent Press, The Cincinnati Review, and others. They have also been known to show up trembling on people’s doorsteps in the middle of the night, too traumatized to explain what they’ve seen. She is one of two editors of Philosophical Idiot and can usually be found overindulging in her shoddy mental health on Twitter at @giordkat or occasionally at katgiordano.com. Her debut full-length collection, The Poet Confronts Bukowski’s Ghost, is due out in June 2018.