It’s good to talk about rejection, share our work, and demystify some of the things around poetry. Otherwise, poetry can be seen as an elitist thing. I don’t want to hear poetry only from those who can afford to write poetry. I want to hear poetry from every sort of person.
Katrina Naomi is an award-winning poet who is here to improve the accessibility of poetry and show that poetry truly is for everyone.
Katrina is not your typical poet. She didn’t grow up reading poetry, because she found it inaccessible and difficult to relate to. Later in life, when Katrina was in her thirties, she saw poetry in a different light and began to create. Along the way, she remained a realist, finding that putting in the work was even more important than seeking inspiration.
In this episode, Katrina shares the key role poetry plays in her life—as her passion and her profession. Even as a full-time poet, Katrina discusses how she still gets rejected and why writers of all kinds have to get comfortable with the inevitability of having their work turned down.
While it’s hard not to take rejection personally, it’s important to foster self-belief and keep going. Katrina discusses the importance of taking a step back from your work, including other activities that renew and restore her creative energy.
Katrina’s outlook is both bold and realistic. Her vulnerability and openness around doubt and rejection demystify the often-inaccessible world of poetry. She hopes that by sharing her journey, she can prove that poetry truly is for everyone.
In this episode, Katrina shares:
- Her introduction to poetry and how it has become the focal point in her life.
- The importance of accepting rejection as a writer and learning to push through.
- Her creative process and some of the requirements she needs to create.
- Why showing up and putting in the work are more important than seeking inspiration.
- Surprisingly positive effects the pandemic has had on her work and productivity.
- Where she turns when she needs to step away from her poetry and renew her energy.
- The three-step creative process she takes to write a poem.
- Poetry recommendations and why she enjoys reading translated poetry.
- Why fear does not hold her poetry back, but rather provides a platform from which to write.
- How she moved past her toughest rejection and what she learned from it.
- Why it’s important for her to demystify poetry and create a more inclusive space.
- Supportive advice for young aspiring poets—read more than you write and write about what you care about.
Katrina Naomi received an Authors’ Foundation award from the UK’s Society of Authors for Wild Persistence, published by Seren in June 2020. Her poetry has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s “Front Row” and “Poetry Please” and on the London Underground. Katrina has a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths and tutors for Arvon, Ty Newydd, and the Poetry School.
Connect with Katrina:
Wild Persistence by Katrina Naomi
The Way the Crocodile Taught Me by Katrina Naomi
I Go Back to May 1937
Modern Poetry in Translation