Welcome! HWP Contributor Alejandra Serrano took time out of her day to answer a few questions about life and poetry. Alejandra's poem The Artemis was featured in the 2019 issue of From the Depths followed by Am I Not Ancient? in the 2020 issue. Enjoy!
I think the first poem that really inspired me to write on my own was T.S. Eliot's Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
How long did it take you to find your voice in your poetry? Do you look back on your early writing and see the ways in which you have grown as a writer?
I am a relatively young writer, and I hope to see my writing grow in the future. I am especially drawn to open form, however, because once you know the rules, it provides a fantastic opportunity to express reality through so many poetic forms.
I enjoy nature as a muse. She does not leave me, even when there is a pandemic.
We’d love to know more about your process for writing poetry. Do you sit down to write on a schedule or rush for a pen and paper when an idea strikes?
As I am currently in college and work a lot, it often is a line or an image that pops into my head while doing something else. The process really looks like a messy scrap of paper until I have a minute to sit down and formulate a finished piece.
Do you find your poetry driven more by truth or fiction? How much personal experience makes its way into your writing?
The great thing about reality is that it is so complex and varied it really seems like fiction sometimes. To me, a museum of Greek art seems like fiction just as much as Moby Dick or Lord of the Rings. I think I take most of my inspiration from reality. I like to write what I know. People who experience life know how things should smell, taste, and feel. I want to represent an accurate account. That being said, I need to experience more.
What advice do you have for the self-conscious aspiring poet?
Read good poetry. The classical model of study tells you to sit and listen before you speak. There is a lot that can be learned from our literary elders, even if we don't agree with their conclusions or particularly enjoy their style. Show respect for history, and maybe you can make your own.
Writing is already a fairly solitary endeavor. How would you say the pandemic has affected you as a writer?
I enjoy nature as a muse. She does not leave me, even when there is a pandemic. But I still study and work, so I can't say it has changed much.
When you’re not writing poetry, what might we find you doing?
I create art in multiple mediums. I read quite a bit (mostly for my degree, at the moment). I scuba dive, sail, backpack, and play basketball as well.
What are you reading right now?
For pleasure, I am currently reading South by Ernest Shackleton and The Sun Also Rises by Hemingway.
What words do you live by? Do you have a personal motto?
Let us then be up and doing, With a heart for any fate Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to labor and to wait. A Psalm of Life
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Go to places you are passionate about and ask questions. People who are passionate are eager to share with other lovers.
Lightning Round with Alejandra Serrano
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alejandra enjoys travel and experiencing new places. She draws a lot of inspiration for her writing from nature, especially the mountains and the ocean.
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