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Q&A with poet Moriah Brown, writer of 'Sing Me' and 'Postcard to the Night'



In our ongoing series of publishing work from our first call for submissions, we recently featured two poems by American poet Moriah Brown, titled 'Sing Me' and 'Postcard to the Night'.


Moriah Brown is a poet, novelist, and full-time student at Syracuse University working towards a degree in creative writing. Her poetry has been published in Creation Magazine, The Woolf, and The Passionfruit Review, among others, and has also been featured in Alchemy and Miracles Anthology and Bimbo Feminist Anthology. She is from Fort Worth, Texas, and loves writing, birds, and her cat Nala.


One of our poetry editors Claire Beaver had the pleasure of speaking with Moriah about how the poems came to be and about her work as a whole.


Claire Beaver: When did you get started writing poetry and – a question I love asking poets, because I’m also a poet – is when did you start feeling like you could call yourself that?


Moriah Brown: Poetry is something I got into more recently, because I’ve been writing fiction for a lot longer. Maybe two or three years ago. in my notes app I started writing poems. In college, I’m busy, and it’s something I can complete, so it’s a way for me to f eellike I’m writing without needing a ton of time. 


As for when I could call myself a poet…honestly, this year, probably. In the past year I've been getting things published, and not that that makes me a poet or doesn’t, but then I was more motivated to keep writing, so yeah, I can say now that I’m a poet, but that is a recent thing.


CB: Imposter syndrome, I get that. When I was reading through your poems, it struck me that they’re similar in tone though they’re not about the same thing. I’m curious how you get your ideas and if you feel like all your poetry takes a similar tone?


MB: I’d say it has a similar tone just because I’m writing it, and because I go back to the same themes over and over again. Nature features heavily in most of my poetry and also I typically write from a first-person point of view. 


My ideas, for my poetry, they just come from very strong emotions and feelings, or boredom. ‘Sing Me’ came because I was in a boing class - it was a mythologies class - and I did not like the professor, and she was droning on, and instead of taking notes I started writing this poem. I was feeling very dead, the whole space felt dead, and I just wanted to feel something. So, just random moments is where I get my ideas.


CB: You said you write a lot about nature. Do you normally write outside?


MB: I do not. When I’m home for the summer – it’s Texas, so it’s hard to be outside a lot – but when I’m here [in Syracuse, New York], not typically, which is strange.


CB: What’s your process like? Do you still write in your notes app, or are you a sit-down-and-I’m-writing sort of writer, or ‘Here I am in the supermarket and there’s a poem I have to get down’?


MB: For my fiction, yes, I’m a sit-down-and-write. That’s when I feel like it comes out best. I did write poetry before the last few years, on my typewriter, I would sit there for hours doing it.


CB: You have a typewriter?


MB: Yes. 


CB: No way.


MB: I don’t use it much anymore.


CB: I love it.


MB: I know. Part of me wanted to romanticize my life, but now it’s very much in the notes app, and then there’s a document in the computer where every poem in my notes app goes into the document, and then I sift through and find the ones I like.


CB: Do you show you work in progress to anybody?


MB: Yes, I’m a lot more open with that just because it feels more complete, just because of the size of it. Honestly, I don’t do a ton of heavy editing on my poetry, which is weird because I have a book I’ve been working on for six years, but it’s two very different writing styles.


CB: Do you have any favorite poets? Who are you reading now?


MB: My favorite poet of all time has to be Rilke. I’m obsessed with his work, but 'The Book of Hours' is my favorite collection. I like Emily Dickinson too.


One thing I like to explore in my poetry is God, but in a very broad sense. I was raised very evangelical Christian - I’m not religious anymore – but trying to find ways that God and nature intersect, and that’s probably why I like 'The Book of Hours.'


CB: I think a lot of nature poems are filled with…if not God, then something bigger in a way. And I can see that in the line "the pressing my nose against the screen door/just to get a taste of the evening air."


MB: That’s a real moment. Most of my connection to nature comes from my home in Fort Worth. We live on land, and it’s very beautiful and that’s where I grew up and started to figure out who I was. 


And I was here in my apartment, just thinking about that, when I wrote 'Sing Me'.




 

American poet Moriah Brown
Moriah Brown

Moriah Brown is a poet, novelist, and full-time student at Syracuse University working towards a degree in creative writing. Her poetry has been published in Creation Magazine, The Woolf, and The Passionfruit Review, among others, and has also been featured in Alchemy and Miracles Anthology and Bimbo Feminist Anthology. She is from Fort Worth, Texas, and loves writing, birds, and her cat Nala. 



American poet Claire Beaver
Claire Beaver

Claire Beaver is a multidisciplinary writer living and working in New York. Her work has been featured in Last Leaves Magazine, Outspoken, Victory Lapped, and more. Her first chapbook, bones, ashes, fire, was recently released from Bottlecap Press. She is passionate about the power of art and how we interact with it in our daily lives, whether that be conscious or not. She has an M. Phil in Creative Writing from Trinity College Dublin.

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