5 BURNING QUESTIONS WITH SAIDA AGOSTINI

  1. What’s the best thing about writing?

I come from a family of storytellers. I claim kin to uncles named dainty, cook up and a distant cousin who carries a machete in the back of his van. I get to carry on the tradition of my family, and uphold a history that is wild, fantastical and so important. I think as queer black folks, we have been nursed on erasure – this idea that only we have exist, that we have no roots to celebrate or ground us. As a poet, I am part of a massive resistance to claim our birthright.

  1. Do you find inspiration in other disciplines?

All the time. I work with FORCE, an artist collaborative dedicated to upsetting rape culture. Visual art and music inspire me to push how I use language to evoke emotion and imagery. Oh, and did I mention reality television?

  1. Can you describe your writing aspirations with minimal punctuation (you may use question marks, parentheses and semi-colons)?

Just to document history, lift up the stories of queer black folks and women, celebrate joy and build a language that is all my own.

  1. What is it about your discipline (fiction/poetry/nonfiction/other) that draws you to it?

Poetry has made me weep, laugh, dance, get the nerve to approach a hot woman, and pushed me to fight. Also, Jodeci’s epic ode to romance and the stank body roll, Diary of a Mad Band was a significant draw. The sheer lyricism of the opening lines from Feenin, “take my money/my house and my car/for one hit of you/you can take it all” is genius.

  1. Do you remember the first time you self-identified as a writer without feeling like a poseur? If so, can you tell us?

Probably when I was 7 years old and wrote a poem about friendship. My granny took one look at it, and told me I was a poet. From that moment, I knew I had a fierce ass granny, and I was an artist.

Bonus question: You’re stuck in an awkward conversation with someone who’s, like, fine, but you also aren’t thrilled being in this person’s company. You don’t really want to continue, but you don’t want to obviously not continue, cause this person doesn’t deserve meanness; you just kind of want it to be over. What do you do? How do you extricate yourself? Do you not and just patiently wait for it to be over? Tell us strategies.

I just start quoting Drake lyrics at inappropriate intervals. Even if they don’t leave, at least I’m entertained.

~

To hear Saida’s poetry, come to Charmington’s on Tuesday, December 13th at 7 PM.  Fingers crossed for a poem about reality TV.

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