Joelle Bahdo - Interview With an Artist vol. 6 | #69
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I got interviewed by Maia Wilson about my projects, creative process and more. You can read the interview here.
Jo is currently revamping her website. It is not ready but it has some information about her and her projects. She posts regularly on Instagram @jobahdo and share the most interesting things on her newsletter.
Primary Poems is available both in paperback and ebook, worldwide. You can order it from Amazon (UK), Barnes & Noble, Austin Macauley and many more. A big thank you for the invitation for this interview and for your readers to make time for me.
Tell us how you started writing poetry.
First, I want to thank you for asking me to do an interview. It is the first one I do that is related to my writing :)
I usually get asked when I started, and that is quite easy—when I was twelve years old, and my father left for the first time. How I started, however, I am not quite sure. I remember having the urge to write and going to an “everything for 2 bucks” kind of store – the only kind I could afford – and buying my first notebook (which I still have).
I remember being very firm on writing just with pencil. I remember having no real intention towards content or form. I just needed space, so I made myself some within each little square of the notebook’s pages.1 I started writing every day and I considered my writing as journal entries. Only later, I noticed that I wasn’t writing in full sentences and my “paragraphs” were stanzas, with rhythm. I am going to sound very cheesy and maybe even presumptuous now. But the truth is that I never really took the active and conscious decision to write poetry. It just happened out of necessity.
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What are the main themes that you touch on in your poetry?
My writing is usually autobiographical. I touch on anything I experience. When I first started, I wrote a lot about family issues but also my everyday life and friendship— especially my longing for friends. Then I wrote a lot of “broken-hearted love poems” (a selection of which made Primary Poems). I am currently writing about my body and mental health issues, especially about trusting my body and being able to feel at home in it.
How has your writing style evolve?
I think there are two main differences that can be observed. The first is in the language. I shifted from writing in Italian to writing in English in 2017. The second is in the structure. I used to write up to five words per line. Now my sentences are longer and also disposed in a more creative way on the paper as I experiment with formatting more.
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Where do you get inspiration, except the themes you often touch on?
I mostly write about what I experience. I journal daily, which helps me to keep track of what I do and how I feel. Sometimes these notes are the main source of reference and inspiration. Other times, when I don’t really know where to start, I search for new words to explore and play with.
How was the process putting Primary Poems together?
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