Alicia Young is an American poet based in Cincinatti, Ohio. Her poems focus on women issues. She has published two collections, Hell on heels and Fried Chicken Schmussy.
What is your earliest reading memory?
Sitting on my mother’s lap, her reading Little Golden Books and Heidi’s Song to me. I followed her finger as she pointed to each word. It’s how I learned to read. Words made sense, organically. I don’t remember not knowing how to read because of her. She filled my world with books. It was the best thing she ever did for me…giving me the world through language and literature.
Has writing been a conscious choice or a natural thing for you?
It was a natural thing, though writing assignments in my middle school years fostered this need to express myself.
Do you have any special habits or rituals when you write?
At one point my ritual was purely bourbon, but that’s a weary cliché. I somehow bought into the notion that the best writers were blasted when they bled onto the page. Now, I find that having the courage to write what you truly believe without alcohol or drugs lending you the balls to do so is the more valiant act.
Do you choose your poems or do the stories/poems choose you?
They choose me, and I go willingly. Ah, muse what a glorious whore she makes of us all.
What national books/authors do you enjoy re-reading and why?
Neil Gaiman, a Brit, I know, but he has made himself an American in Colorado. I re-read him, because he creates worlds unlike any other. His imagery is beyond compare, his concepts are pure genius. He is painfully human, honest, funny, and bloody good. He is inimitable and may be the greatest storyteller of this age.
What foreign books/authors do you enjoy re-reading and why?
Haruki Murakami. Another of my literary gods. He does not waste words. His sentences are efficient. His constructs are like Magritte paintings…glorious oddness within the realism.
What is so important about fiction/poetry?
Poetry and fiction are the culmination of the heart, intellect, and human spirit made corporeal, tangible. They exist to charm, teach, and devastate. They are activism. They are a way to make other worlds accessible. They are the ultimate flight of fancy.
Can you cry writing your own poem?
Yes, of course. If you don’t feel it, how will your reader? I have shaken and cried out to the heavens while writing poems. I have laughed and waged war.
What is your ideal reader?
The willing. The person who says, “I don’t like poetry, but I like her poetry.” They are essentially converts. I’ve done my job in that moment, opening a mind.
Should writers be embraced by society or should they be exiled?
That depends upon the writer, nay? They should be embraced. Writers say what the huddled masses are afraid to.
Is there a God or are there gods for writers?
-Be your own writing god, all the others will disappoint you. If there is a god, he has no fucking excuse, no explanation worthy of my respect. God is a pacifier for the frightened child societies. God is the great justifier of inhuman cruelties. God is the greatest lie ever told.
What makes a writer a writer?
Tell us about your poetry.
My poetry is irreverent, prone to sentimentality and prurient behavior. My poetry hates your mother. My poetry worships humanity. My poetry doesn’t give a damn about morays or taboos. My poetry wants to overthrow the government. My poetry misses her father. My poetry fucked your sister in the back of a Chevrolet. My poetry weeps for the dying world.
What is the purpose of your writing?
To actively exist.
How do you really feel about recognition and fame? Are you a satisfied mind or always craving for more?
I once thought I needed to prove myself, seek recognition, attain fame. If those are your goals, however, perhaps you should not be writing, but politicking. I write for pleasure, my own and for those around me. We all look the same on the bookshelf, as we all perish into the same earth. It’s not a race, this writing affliction, it’s a celebration of the human condition. If you’re not enjoying yourself, what in the hell are you doing it for?