Today’s Featured Writer is dynamic poet and friend to The Fem, Lora Mathis. Check out our interview with her:
F: You’ve submitted and been published on The Fem before. Why us?
Lora Mathis: The Fem attracted me because it is adamant about supporting inclusive and diverse literature. The Fem works not only as a space for promoting emerging writers, but a safe space. This is important to me as I seek to be a part of and build safe, inclusive spaces in my communities, whether that be online, in literature, or where I live.
F: When did you start your blog? What material do you post there?
LM: My blog, loramathis.com, was started as a sub-blog. I created it about a year ago as a space for my own work-poetry, short stories, photos, paintings. I wanted to keep track of my creative work in a space separate from my other blog, which I used to share photos of others’ work. Now my creative blog is where I post almost everything I want to communicate online.
F: Have you always been a writer?
LM: Yes, I have always wanted to be a writer. Since I was a kid I have been filling journals with thoughts, stories, lyrics, etc. I always wrote. What took me awhile was to call myself a “writer,” as I thought that was a title based on commercial success or a place I would reach in the future.
F: How long have you been writing poetry? Is there any particular reason why you chose to write poetry over other genres? If so, please explain.
LM: I wrote the occasional poem when I was a kid, but turned to poetry as my main way of expressing myself when I was 15 or 16. I was writing a poem every week or so then, while now I am writing almost every day. Why poetry? Because it is a thing outside of itself. That stranger with their shoulder turned to me in a bar. That anonymous invitation that comes in the mail. That quiet walk where no one breathes because they are afraid of disturbing something stiller than them. Poetry makes me feel dangerous. It makes me feel powerful. In poetry, I can be honest, honest to the point of bleeding, and that allows me to make sense of myself and who I want to be.
F: How important is it to have your writing viewed as feminist?
LM: It is important for my writing to be viewed as Feminist because I want to be viewed as one. My writing is an extension of myself. It is a tool for breaking down oppressive power structures, for analyzing what minimizes, and for making social change. Through writing I try to make sense of the realities presented to me, as well as recreate a new, inclusive reality. And that reality is one which I would like to be Feminist.
F: What makes writing feminist?
LM: Feminist writing is writing which takes anger from repression and makes it into something bloody you can suck on. It speaks up. It asks you to think critically. It raises its voice not only for women, but for those who are oppressed and marginalized. It’s powerful.
F: Who influences your poetry? Who is your favorite poet?
LM: Audre Lorde, Warsan Shire, Clementine Von Radics, Nayyirah Waheed, Richard Siken, Yrsa Daley-Ward, Caitlyn Siehl, Ben Levinson, Kristina Haynes, Meggie Royer. People who know how to cut throats with words.
Lora Mathis was raised in both Southern California and Montreal. Her creative work has been featured in Words Dance Literary Magazine, Adbusters, and Sweetest Magazine.