Poetry Muse: Aurore Gatwenzi - Gold Pours

April 3, 2022

Today on Poetry Muse, we are featuring emerging poet Aurore Gatwenzi's debut poetry collection — Gold Pours (Latitude 46). In her collection, Gatwenzi shares the experience of being young and Black in northern Ontario. In our Q&A she shares how she began writing in Grade 6 after watching a Grey's Anatomy episode, why she loves poetry, and her creative process when she begins writing. 

She also shares a poem from her collection.

See more details below

Who is your muse?

Must I only have one? I write about all the people I’ve met and found sort of odd, cool, sweet, intriguing, anyone that captured my attention for a while and made me feel. Life is so full of people to write about. I write about past lovers, crushes as well as old friends, new ones etc… But these poems are introspective as well so we can definitely include myself in the mix. I think the most important part of this though is basically that there is me in this there is also other people simply because we can relate to one another often. Anyways, to quote Fridah Kahlo - “I am my own muse, I am the subject I know best. The subject I want to know better.” And what am I if not an amalgamation of all the people I’ve ever thought were I don't know… interesting. Hahah this is totally my way of evading the obvious but you still get a bit of truth. :) 

 

What inspired you when you started writing your poetry collection? And what is your creative process when you begin writing? 

I remember the first time I ever wrote. When I was in grade 6 I finished doing the dishes and watching a Grey's Anatomy episode and went straight to my bedroom to write a reflection of what I had just seen. It was great.  From then on I would write whenever I saw or heard of something that would make me feel or think.I had a book of reflections and stopped writing after a while I had come to the conclusion that it's better to just live and feel and not philosophize too much. Later on in life I  was still very in touch with my emotions and realized I do need to dissect some difficult emotions and did a bit of writing for myself and for others. I had to talk to God about it and used it as a source of healing as well. I heal through my Source and my Source is God and writing. I don't think I have a particular creative process. It changes depending on my mood. Sometimes I go to the park and write, sometimes after a good sermon at church I'm writing in the middle of church, sometimes I’m in my bedroom before bed or as I wake up.  I think I need to come up with a specific routine that makes me less chaotic and productive. I sometimes do it with music or no music. Sometimes after a long walk… after teaching or playing with some of my students. I often start a poem and leave it behind after I can't find inspiration anymore… I come back to it though and sometimes I never hear of it again. It depends. I'm getting into the habit and ritual of writing more after hearing others perform too. and writing also not only when I feel inspired but also when I feel bored. Out of nowhere. I'm feeling and believing more and more that I really am a Writer…. I was just a writer that wasn't writing so much before. 

 

When did you start writing poetry and why did you choose to write poetry over other forms of literature?

I love poetry. I’ve always loved listening to poetry and seeing the spoken word poets perform their hearts out. The vulnerability isn’t negative, it's liberating and it’s like living with your heart wide open, being so open and honest is something often we lose as we get older which is weird because we also kind of live in this weird world where now you share everything but really we share nothing that matters and it’s all a facade. That kills me but it is a part of life. Poetry dispels that. Spoken word even more so and I find that honesty is a gift that I feel poets are great at offering. A gift delivered with cadence, the art of language being manipulated in such a beautiful way, words charming you left and right, it’s fun to hear how others see the world, how can someone convey sadness, anger, joy with grace and depth and find a way to evoke a common feeling. I love feeling. By being so open and inviting people often have this tendency of just telling you whatever they feel… It's also a bit of nuisance sometimes but I find it mostly good because they are telling the right person if that's the case we actually do try to help and listen. On the flip side there is this other part of this literary art form that I also adore the secrets… I had friend once tell me that poetry and metaphors are a way of hiding but still telling people how you feel. It resonates because the people who get it are the ones who are meant to understand the message you are trying to convey. And those are your people. The poetry community has a way of making you feel heard.

 

Aurore Gatwenzi Poem Related Image

An image connected to the poem below

 

How would you describe your poetry collection? 

This poetry collection is an ode to a past version of myself that I cherish and love very much. She is personified as spiritual, passionate, introspective. She is a believer and clings to God with fervency.  And He provides the healing required indeed.  

 

What advice would you give to aspiring poets? 

Have fun and be honest, don't dwell too much on negative emotions. Although it is good to probe and heal them through this art  it is also possible to write from a place of joy as well.  Reveal once you feel you have dealt with the difficult emotions at hand  it's almost like a testimony. When you reveal it like a testimony it allows people to also love you and where you need it the most. You do not need to write about yourself. You don't even need to reveal whether or not you are writing about yourself, you can hide too. This is the perfect hiding place and God/Spirit/ The Universe/Your Higher self whatever you want to call it, can meet you there.  It's the best place to explore emotions so make sure you explore the wide range of emotions you can feel as a human including the positive ones, the simplistic ones, mundane, melancholic all of them. Enjoy your feelings. Have a spiritual book at hand also when it takes a lot out of you. I had my bible. Does not need to be that though whatever nestles your soul.

 

Are there any poets or poetry collections that you admire? 

Obviously, Rupi Kaur Milk and Honey, The Sun and Her Flowers, I haven't read Home Body yet but I cannot wait to. Jasmine Sims for the Christian Soul her collection is called Done Being Strong, Pavana Reddy Rangoli she is my favourite instagram poet, Nayyirah Waheed her collection called Salt was the first I ever came across that was free on kindle and so I read it and of course fell in love. Kyle Guante I haven't read his books yet but I love his work.  Malanda Jean-Claude Because of A Woman, Upile Chisala and Langston Hughes is  a good old classic, more classic Maya Angelou. 

 

Does music inspire you when you start writing poetry? 

A lot of Emeli Sandé, Elle Varner, Lauryn Hill, Frank Ocean, Ruth B, Stromae, OutKast. I still listen to Leona Lewis guys and hmmm… That's all I can think of right now.

 

 

A poem from Gold Pours

 

I love languages

they are bridges to understanding

I love how we humans manipulate language

the accents like spices

add flavours to a meal

 

it enriches the tongue

the way people talk

I want to know why you speak like that?

 

language betrays who you are

you can’t hide with the way you speak

so speak to me

let me hear your language

I want to delight

in you

 

what flavour do you add to the mix ?

 

Poem from Aurore Gatwenzi Collection

 

*This interview has been edited and condensed.

 

 

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Picture of the Author

Aurore Gatwenzi describes herself as a social butterfly on the cusp of millennialism and zoomers. She holds a degree in Modern Languages and spent two years in Spain teaching English as a Second Language. She is a frequent participant in the Sudbury Poetry Slam scene and is included in the anthology Fem Grit: A Collection of Northern Voices (2020). She is a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Sudbury. She currently lives in Sudbury.

Aurore Gatwenzi also loves calligraphy, language, education, dancing, learning and of course teaching. She is currently a student and language instructor for children and teens. She also write poems in her free time, loves to take walks, and read a lot as well.  


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