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DiscoverVerse: Nolan Natasha + I Can Hear You, Can You Hear Me?
All Lit Up DiscoverVerse kicks off with poet Nolan Natasha whose funny, compelling debut collection I Can Hear You, Can You Hear Me? (Invisible Publishing) takes on gender, identity, and human connection in the modern age. We virtually chatted with Nolan Natasha about completing a debut collection, slowing down, poetry prompts, and his own Choose Your Own Adventure story. Read on for that and the poem “Queer” from his collection.
An Interview with Nolan NatashaAll Lit Up: What did you learn writing I Can Hear You, Can You Hear Me?Nolan Natasha: I had been writing poetry for so long and I guess I realized that finishing a poetry collection is different than just writing until you have enough poems. The work of laying out the poems so that they speak to each other and deciding what poems feel relevant to the whole collection and which ones don’t belong was its own creative work. It forced me to look at my poems in a new way. I think sometimes I write without really taking a step back from the work and looking at it from the outside. Putting the collection together forced me to do that and I think it was really good for my writing.ALU: If you were a character in a Choose Your Own Adventure story, what kind of quest would you be on? What three things would you have with you on your journey?NN: When I was a kid I was constantly pretending that I was Robin Hood. Sadly, my attraction to the fantasy as a kid had less to do with stealing from the rich and giving to the poor than it did with being an ace with a bow and arrow and living in the trees. So I suppose I would be on some kind of forest quest where I got to wear a “cool” hat. For my three items I have to go with a walkie-talkie, a notebook, and a dollar store bow and arrow with suction cup tips. ALU: Where do you draw inspiration from outside of poetry?NN: I feel like I have a really hard time slowing down, but it is always in the moments that I do that I wind up paying close enough attention to the moment to get a poem out of it. Walking home at night from somewhere with headphones on is something I did constantly in my twenties and almost never do now. But every time I do it, it amazes me how much it puts me on a different frequency (even if I’m not tipsy with an unrequited crush like I was for much of my twenties). Partially it’s the music, but it’s definitely also about slowing down enough to notice what’s around you. The light and the air and the things I’m feeling behind all the static once I actually pay attention. ALU: Help us with a poetry prompt for our readers. Can you come up with a writing prompt for our readers to write their own poetry?NN: One of my favourite writing prompts that I was ever given was to pick a colour. Something around you that you can look at and ask yourself questions about it…What does it taste like? What kind of day did it have? What does it sound like? Where is it going?…basically anything that you can think of. It really helps me shake off my literal brain and get my weirdo poet brain churning.
A poem from I Can Hear You, Can You Hear Me?Queer