Jukebox Time recently got a chance to interview Kaitlan C. Farrior. We got insights into her new poetry book, her creative process, and much more!
Q. Welcome to Jukebox Time. It’s good to have you on our platform! Your new collection of poetry seems to resonate with a sense of questioning and exploring boundaries, as reflected in the line “Since I’m restricted, I’ll just ask you what I’m allowed to do. Am I at least allowed to do that?” Could you share some insight into the central themes of this collection?
So, for this new book, I wanted to really expound upon the choices we make and how sometimes they aren’t our own. You will see through the book that on numerous occasions, while the narrator asks for permission, I’m also asking for the reader or the person who is restricting the narrator to understand the overall intentions. If I had to choose 3 themes, I would say: identity, courage, and redemption. The narrator is trying to build up the courage to redeem themselves and find their identity with a hint of validation.
Q. As an author of poetry, what does your creative process look like? How does a poem typically evolve from the initial spark to the finished piece?
Usually, for me, it’s the lack of something that gives me motivation. The absence of love, care, and goodness sparks my creative process. When something happens not to my liking, I’ll write about it. Call me the black Taylor Swift of poetry. Once I have an idea, I don’t let it go, I am very stubborn. I used to walk around asking “Am I Not good enough”, “Am I Not supposed to care?”, “Am I Not Supposed to be Human” and I turned it into a poetry book. I finally got my answer and for those who read it, I hope you find your answer as well.
Q. The art of poetry often involves conveying deep emotions and thoughts with a certain economy of words. How do you approach this challenge, and how does it shape your work?
In order for me to approach this challenge, I have to be vulnerable and honest with myself. I’m not about to write down some made-up words and sell them to the world. I want the audience to know that I am human, imperfect, and full of questions. I put on my specific music playlist for the collection that I’ll be writing, and I have a few crying sessions. My work has no shape, I give it something that most can’t obtain… freedom.
Q. Many poets draw inspiration from their personal lives and the world around them. Can you share a few key influences or experiences that have contributed to your latest collection?
Oh gosh, that’s a question that’s hard to answer. Without saying too much about my business, I will say that growing into an adult woman has influenced me a lot. I have a lot of intersectionality in me. From being a black woman to being a college student, the child of a military vet, a part of Gen Z, etc. It’s endless categories that I fit into and with those comes its own forms of advantages and disadvantages. With every loss, I choose to either have an even bigger win or lose more. But like I said before, it’s always the losses that influence me the most and for the next chapter in my life, I want to flip the script.Q. As a follow-up to your previous work, “Like I Don’t Exist”, how does this new collection build upon or diverge from themes and styles you’ve explored in the past?
Now this is the question I was waiting for. Now, within “Am I Not”, I am questioning the “what’s next?”. We’ve already established visibility but now I’m in your face, I’m testing you, I’m making my purpose known, loud and clear. I am taking a step forward and clearing the ground so I can walk in my truth. I can’t walk with the questions just clouding my judgement. I’m asking, and whatever answer I receive will help me make my next moves. I spent a lot of time in my other books waiting for something to just happen without initiating but now I’m coming for everything and everyone. The themes may be similar, but the tone makes them completely different. Before I was nervous, I was scared to step on toes. Now I’m being assertive.
Q. Finally, in an era where prose often seems to dominate the literary world, what do you see as the unique power of poetry, both for you as a writer and for your readers?
The key to success relies on the 4 C’s. Communication, comprehension, compassion, and compromise. Poetry allows me the space to communicate. Through my experiences, I am writing to show others that they aren’t alone, and I understand what they are going through… that’s being compassionate. For my readers or any reader of poetry, all I ask is they find their right fit. If you set aside the time and compromise… it’ll change your life. Also, the way the reader comprehends will always vary but since poetry is so versatile, it’s impossible to not find something you like. Poetry can save your life, whether you are writing it or reading it. Which side are you on?
About the author: Native to North Carolina, Kaitlan C. Farrior, is an emerging literary sensation and independent author. She created and self-published her debut poetry collection, “Poems By The Overthinker.” in 2021 with ‘Even Flowers Don’t Like Being Stepped On’, its artistic follow-up, followed less than a year later in 2022. Since then, these collections have grown, bringing Farrior’s total number of books to 12. Farrior is a poet, but she has also started to create historical fiction, romantic novels, short stories, and even a cookbook. Her book “Like I Don’t Exist” was also adapted into a live-action play, which can be watched on her website (thelettilady.com)
The book is now available on Amazon: Am I Not?