Hi Deenah, what are you up to lately?
Hi! I’ve been trying to understand my role on earth existentially (always), but recently on a political level too. Fortunately, it's starting to take shape with two things that I’m naturally prone towards: write stuff and organize events. In addition to that, my job as the editor of a culture-sharing site called Milq keeps me in New York, my spiritual homeland, some of the time. I dunno, I’m taking a watercolor painting class. I like to play chess. I enjoy being in pretty much any kind of body of water. And on mountains.
What is moving you at this moment?
The poetry of Anne Carson, those Elena Ferrante books, the music of Diane Cluck and Rebecca Schiffman, and most every dog that I encounter.
What is your relationship to poetry?
I love poetry! I’m new to poetry. I used to be in bands and write songs, but then I moved to LA and had no one to play music with so I tried stand up comedy, but I didn’t pursue it because people here are so ambitious about comedy, so poetry made more sense because there’s no money in it, you know?
Can you remember the first words you fell in love with?
Oh, probably parts of “The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll, specifically that classic list stanza. I love lists, and this is a great one!
The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax—
Of cabbages--and kings—
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings.
First of all, cabbage! Hilarious! More poems should include cabbage! Second, is the sea boiling hot? What kind of world is this? That part makes me afraid. And third, as a kid I always thought it was “ceiling wax” and not “sealing wax.” Do you think it’s a coincidence that the song "Puff the Magic Dragon” also mentions sealing wax? What is sealing wax anyway? I should google it. I just did and it’s not at all what I thought it was! Gee!
What is your earliest memory of writing?
I kept a journal in 4th grade. I’m sure it was required. Anyway, I glue-sticked an extremely angelic picture of my younger brother who was probably four at the time with these perfect blond curls. I think he was wearing overalls too. I mean, really the cutest picture. Underneath it I wrote “This is my brother, Asher. I hat him.” I didn’t know how to spell the world “hate.” Hahaha. So dark. I love him by the way.
Can you describe your current writing process?
I usually start by writing ideas down in my phone. So when you think I’m texting, I am probably, but sometimes I’m simply inspired! A few weeks ago I was hungover on the subway and the line “I get hungover so I can be more present” came into my mind since I was surprised by how this bad physical feeling really kept my mind focused on one thing at a time (very rare for me!). Eventually, themes emerge because brains are amazing, like themes of being present or the idea of the question “how are you?”
Do you have a favorite space to write in?
I love being out of the house...me at home is kind of a disaster, so I prefer writing when I’m out in the world somewhere, like at a cafe or on a train. I’m best at writing when I’m waiting for something like a bus or for a friend to show up.
Where do your poems come from?
My brain, my unconscious, therapy. I’m pretty into psychoanalysis so I think all the secrets are in our unconscious. It’s like a skeleton key to religion, politics, love — all of life’s greatest mysteries! And I love the relationship between thoughts and feelings. Holy moly. Just like debating New York and LA, I will never ever grow tired of talking about the brain!
How does poetry connect us as human beings?
They make us feel less lonely. The human struggle! If we’re lucky we find the things that help - like poetry!
What is your biggest question for the world? If you have one..
Why me???? Just kidding, I know why.
Who would you like to see interviewed on We The Tender Hearted?
Emily Liebowitz and Diane Cluck!
Photos by Dani Fine :)