by: Tania Lasenburg
They say poetry is on the rise. They say there is a new age of poets defining and changing what old poets such as Frost, Keats, Dickinson, and McKay have built. But we, at Notes and Narratives, do not believe that.
As poetry has always been here. No rise is needed. And new poets are not changing what the poet ancestors have been doing. Instead, they are adding to the history, by using a platform old poets wish they had and putting in light, friendship and support in between the cracks of all the darkness spreading.
Do not get us wrong, there are some poets out there that are just putting words together with no emotion or thought behind it but Gretchen Gomez (@chicnerdreads) is not one of them.
Author of love, and you and welcome to ghost town (to be released on October 23rd, 2018), Gretchen Gomez loves a private life. And although, her book leaves her open for the world to see, she is a Puerto Rican woman from the Bronx (NY) and is not afraid to remind you of so.
N&N: How has your life changed since the release of your first poetry book, love, and you?
GG: I’ve always been a private person. I take pride in having people not find me when I don’t want to be looked for. Having my real name out there with my life for the world to see is quite life changing. I’m exposed now and many people know my name, that’s life changing in itself. Having strangers DM me about their own personal experiences and what my book has done for them is life changing. It’s small things that have flipped my world around.
N&N: What inspired you to publish your work and to go through the self-publishing route?
GG: My inspiration behind publishing my work were women who needed to know that they weren’t alone. I didn’t/don’t know any of these women but that’s who I thought of when I decided to publish love, and you. I wasn’t really inspired to go through the self-publishing route. I decided to do it because I saw my numbers in followers since that’s what a lot of publishing houses look at now-a-days and knew my chances were slim to none in getting accepted.
N&N: Why did you choose poetry as opposed to writing a fiction or non-fiction novel?
GG: Poetry has always been my go-to when it comes to writing. I’ve played with fiction and I personally am not a fan of non-fiction novels. I do plan on writing a fiction novel in verse one day. For now though, I feel like telling my story and that’s through poetry.
N&N: In your bio (Goodreads), it is mentioned that although you have been writing since you were 11, you were silenced for a number of years. What has those years of silence done to you and for you?
GG: Those years of silence has taught me a lot when it comes to the book/writing community. I was a book blogger before I started sharing my work publicly, therefore I was very observant when it came to how people did things in the community. Personally though, they built me to the woman I am today. I am loud, I am fully acceptant of my rebellion, I am a proud brown woman, I’m vocal about whatever I want to say. I am wholeheartedly me.
N&N: What are your goals in regards to your writing career? What are you goals outside of writing?
GG: My goals in regards to my writing career is to one day be a full-time writer and a good one at that. I have a few projects in mind for the future and I’m working on that. Outside of writing is a little more personal and I don’t like to share that with the world. SORRY!! *hides face*
N&N: On your twitter, you speak about your mother (She is amazing by the way) and family a lot, have they read your poetry? If so, what are their thoughts?
GG: Thank you so much!!!! Funny story, my brother was the first one out of my immediate family to read my poetry book and he hates reading but somehow he read my book twice in a row and loved it. My mother read my book and she actually had not told me that she read it till a few days after the fact when I had hit a rockbottom. She cried a lot which in turn made me cry too. I go through things alone and she didn’t really know of how much hurt I was in (during the parts I address in love, and you). We had a real conversation about the book and she loves it, both my parents are really proud. My mom had interpreted poems to my dad and told him what the book was about because he has an English barrier. They’re all super supportive of me and my work.
N&N: Would you have done anything different on your journey?
GG: Sometimes I go between this back and forth of “I should’ve waited to release my book till I had a larger following on Instagram/Twitter.” I usually say that when I feel low about my work. However, I’m a believer in what’s done is done and you can’t change the past but move forward. In short, no I wouldn’t have done anything different in this journey. I like to remain teachable and keep my eyes wide open.
N&N: Finally, what advice would you give to other poets and writers trying to publish and promote their works?
GG: Interact with other poets/readers in the community, build an online presence if you want your book/work to do well, do to others what you would like to be done to you (ie: buy a book, review it on amazon, share the book, talk about it to others, etc.), and lastly be your most authentic self no matter where you come from.
love, and you is available at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Apple iBooks and other online retail stores.