Poet and digital artist, Dae, is the author of the poetry chapbook Marigold, a collection of prose, poems and proverbs. The title symbolizes his personal growth, and the pain and beauty he has found through the process of self discovery and “unlearning” of the self.
For Write or Die Tribe’s poetry month, I asked Dae some questions about his writing process, being vulnerable and how he feels about the term “Instapoet.”
Why poetry? Why do you write? What has kept you connected to this genre?
Poetry became a cathartic release for me years ago. Ironically, I wasn’t trying to be poetic, it’s really just the way I right express my thoughts. It didn’t really click as poetry until people started to embrace it as such. The spirit of the genre will always keep me connected, somehow. Even though, like all industries, there becomes an oversaturation of people seeking fame and hollow success; I believe the spirit always remains and champions any of my cynicism towards the genre.
Can you speak about your writing journey? What brought you to this moment in time as an artist? What is your writing process like?
As I said earlier, poetry became a cathartic release for me. I’ve written a lot as a child in my later teens riding became a means of peace for me. However I didn’t really see myself become an author until I was about 22 years old and it felt like it just called upon me. I was working a regular 9-to-5, seeing it as a pipe dream. But after I was hurt on the job, writing a book felt like the only thing I could do.
My writing goes through a feeling process; Everything I’ve put down has to be something I felt, went through physically. So there are times when I have huge drop off’s and I can’t write for weeks, maybe even a month, and then there’s a rise in my energy that allows me to write for 3 to 5 months straight. While it’s not impossible to continue to write during those droughts, it becomes less for filling in for me as a creative.
The poems within your chapbook “MariGold” are often described as raw, honest and profoundly human. Why is being transparent and honest so important to you? Do you feel vulnerability releasing your poems out into the world? Is vulnerability necessary to be a writer?
I feel better when I’m able to be who I am without much resistance. Transparency allows me to release myself from the idea that I must hold back emotion to be liked or valued. With that need of transparency reflecting in my work, it means I must embrace my vulnerability to achieve that. I believe every writer—including artists, general— should incorporate some sort of vulnerability in their work. It helps when the audience feels connected by the earnestness of one’s voice/heart.
Poetry on Instagram has taken the app by storm with lots of people sharing their poems on their profiles and creating accounts specifically dedicated to their craft. You also share your work with your followers. What do you think of the term “Instapoet?” Why do you think there is some negativity attached to it, claiming its not real poetry? This kind of implies poetry has a “correct” definition, right?
How do you feel about that?
A poet is a poet. I actually hate that term “instapoet” because it implies that it isn’t real poetry. I personally think it’s all poetry. Just because some may not value it as such doesn’t make it any less true. There’s a lot of amazing work by talented writers out on social media, but again like any industry, there are also people that are in it for more selfish reasons or profit and their work will reflect that. But there is a demand for that style, no matter how you look at it. Everything changes. You really can’t hold onto what you think poetry should be for that will limit the art form in itself.
Who are some of your favorite poets and why? What have they taught you?
Nayyirah Waheed is one of my favorites; she reminds me that there is power in just a few lines— at times more than long reads ever could encapsulate as effectively.
James Baldwin taught me that conviction in your heart and identity wrapped in authenticity will always be what connects to the spirits of others.
Jill (JillIsBlack)has such a pertinent, and raw yet calculated way of unraveling her own emotions with her audience that I admire and respect as a creative.
I have so many others as well that are close peers that have taught me to always carry my humanity throughout my work and I’m forever grateful for their impact.