Pushcart Darlings : Foglifter Press Interview with t. tran le
As part of celebrating Foglifter’s recent Pushcart nominees, we interviewed the writers! First up is t. tran le, published in Volume 5 Issue 2!
What piece of art—literary or otherwise—has uplifted you during this tumultuous year?
I began the year with a beautiful workshop led by Marwa Helal— halfway through the class we shifted to meeting online as the pandemic crisis intensified. Early on in the class, we looked at this piece from Robert Montgomery’s BILLBOARDS project & I’ve revisited/have been reminded of it through the year. The entire piece feels like a call for an abundance of tenderness, offering space to hold vigil for each other & ourselves, ending with the lines:
“THE EMPIRE IS AN ILLUSION AND WILL BE GONE
WITHIN A CENTURY AND WE WILL WIN BECAUSE
WE REMEMBER THE MAGIC INSIDE OF YOU/
THESE COLOURS CRY BUT THEY NEVER RUN”
What writing habits/rituals are close to your heart?
Most grounding to me are morning pages (another shout out to Marwa Helal for introducing me to 3 pages a day!), but I think the practice of community like accountability groups or writers’ salons push my work along, often when I can’t recognize movement myself.
Who (or what) guides your writing?
So many things, so many people, but I am often writing for an inner child who is still learning how to say something.
What do you believe is the role of the poet/writer in this cultural climate?
I’m sorry— I have been looking at this question for a long time & I don’t think I have an answer!
Beyond writing, how have you been finding joy or rest this year? Do you have a favorite quarantine activity?
I’ve had the luck of being a fellow in Kundiman’s Mentorship Lab program & I began the year in community with other poets in workshops & elsewhere. Those socially distant hubs kept me grounded in this time.
What advice do you have for emerging writers?
I would definitely not say I am the one to give advice as I am quite green myself! Though, something that encourages me when I am feeling at my creatively lowest is the reminder that I have invested my life, love, time, & money into this craft. I can honestly say that my relationship to creation is the longest relationship of my life. I’m not saying this time invested makes me a better poet than the next (I’m not.), but recounting these tangible, concrete facts to myself makes it a little less easy for me to get in my own way.
t. tran le is a poet from Texas. They’ve received fellowships from Brooklyn Poets & Kundiman. You can find more of their work in 8 Poems, Breakwater Review, Apogee, Kweli Journal & elsewhere. They live in Brooklyn with their spouse & three cats: Piaf, Freddie Mercury, & birdie.
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