— a poetry interview series by Christine Klocek-Lim
Darla C. R. d'Aubigné
1. What is your favorite poem that you've written? Read?
My favorite poem that I have written is one that I wrote during my senior year of high school. It's called My Sleeping Maiden. It's not written in contemporary English, which I find to be meaningful to the context of the poem. I enjoy this particular poem, because not only is it a poem but also a story with multiple layers and morals. The few people who have read this yet-to-be-published poem have interpreted it in different ways, which is one of my goals when writing poetry.
Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky is a poem that I always will find to be entertaining to read as well as perform. It is written in such a way that it is appreciated by all ages; all you need is imagination. It is a poem that I believe keeps us young at heart.
2. Has the rise of the poetry MFA been positive or detrimental to the art?
I have recently become leery of academic programs in the creative writing discipline, to the extent that I have dropped my ambitions to earn a degree in creative writing entirely. It has occurred to me that creative writing, unlike academic writing, cannot be taught, and I've become deeply skeptical of those who say it can be.
It is an art, as the question itself suggests, not a science. An academically certified writer is not guaranteed to be the next Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. So the question becomes this: why do these programs exist in the first place? These programs exist because writers who write McPoems and McStories need jobs to make ends meet. Who teaches writers to write generic pieces using formulas and theories? The programs do. Subsequently, many of the students of these programs then become educators in writing programs themselves, creating even more future educators of writing who will most likely not be published outside small presses. In short, do I think the poetry MFAs to be detrimental to the art? Yes, I do, and that applies to fiction writers just as much it applies to the writers of poetry.
3. Do you write for yourself or for an audience/reader?
Both, I think. When it comes to poetry, I write them to express myself to others when I cannot either find the right words or can't find the appropriate time and place to express myself. I best write poetry when I am at a fever pitch.
4. How much of what you write is inspiration vs. perspiration?
It really depends whether I write poetry or fiction, both of which are equally important to me. Poetry is all inspiration for me. Fiction, however, is different. It takes inspiration to start a short story or novel, but it takes perspiration to finish it.
5. Why do you read or write poetry?
I read and write poetry for the very reason why art and beauty exist at all: to enjoy it. It is a huge part of my life that I cannot live without.
6. How has the way you write changed (or not changed) over time?
I have always depended on a computer to write. I cannot write in a notebook. I am too accustomed to going back to rewrite and revise entire sections during my writing process. That is impossible to do with ink and quill. That much has not changed.
Early in my writing career, I had everything on one computer - schoolwork, creative writing documents, research, games, etc. I realized that I was easily distracted and extremely disorganized. I now own a separate laptop for just my writing and related research, which keeps me focused.
College life has also affected how I write. I am less inspired to write in my apartment, because my academic work and creative writing shares the same environment and atmosphere. I prefer to write in quiet public places. My favorite place to write currently is a study lounge with dim lighting, posh Victorian decor, and a free, self-serve coffee and tea bar that a fellow writer friend showed me.
Darla C. R. d'Aubigné, published under multiple pseudonyms for poetry and short stories, is a Singaporean-American who is currently pursuing a degree in psychology. A self-proclaimed Slytherin, she spends most of her free time with writing groups as a moderator and writing in uncrowded coffee shops. After spending years writing poetry and short stories, she is currently writing her first novel. Her written pieces explore the depths of the human psyche and criticize the evils of society.
Couplets: a multi-author poetry blog tour - click for a list of participating blogs and daily entries
Upper Rubber Boot Books is coordinating a book blog tour for April, to help promote poetry and poets for National Poetry Month. Check back here for updates throughout the month of April (we’ll also post updates to our blog, and so will many of the participating poets).