Featured Friday | Meet Never Kerouac

sydney cunninghamToday’s featured writer is feminist poet, Sydney Cunningham, who writes under the pseudonym Never Kerouac. Check out her interview below:

Fem: What motivated you to write poetry?

Never Kerouac: I always had this stream of consciousness going through my head. Ways to say certain feelings, imagery, a scene I wanted to create. I spent almost half my childhood with it before I realized an outlet for that kind of energy was writing. I would be obsessed with certain lyrics and the way of saying something. I could lay for hours and think about words or a conversation. I didn’t ever sit down and actually try to craft a poem until late in high school. Before my junior year, my grandmother died. It was the first death I had ever dealt with and making something was the healthiest outlet I had. Now, it’s a part of everything I do. I keep a note where I write lines to a piece I don’t know.

F: What themes do you explore in your poetry?

NK: I like POV’s from someone you don’t know. I’ll get fascinated with a fictional character and write from that context, you have so many things to draw from. I write a lot about death. Death and anxiety and depression and feeling like you’re on the brink of losing your mind. I didn’t realize it was common until one night I scanned through my archive that I use my writing tumblr for. Feeling lost is half the reason I write. Also, the rebellion of women is in a lot of my poetry even if it’s not implicitly stated. It’ll fascinate me for forever.

F: Which one of your works resonates the most with you personally and why?

NK:I can’t stop listening to songs about death”. I wrote it really late one night and it’s about my grandma and the fear I have of time and what we all know is coming. It’s my most read, I think. It was literally me in bed, in the dark writing down this stream of consciousness and it was the most carthartic thing I had done about her dying. Also, I have a poem titled “Pamela-Bi-Pamela” that deals with my childhood feelings of having a parent with bi polar disorder. That one I never really read back.

F: How do you incorporate a feminist voice into your poetry?

NK: I am a feminist, so when I write, subject matter tends to fall that way. I write from the POV of certain women, from my POV, about my anger about issues or the way that I view them. I think whenever a woman artist unapologetically expresses their anger or critique or voice on something, that can be feminist. Women artists tend to be voiceless in mainstream art, especially in poetry and writing. Creating content for yourself and putting it out there is a part of that. You don’t have wait on any green light from anyone to create.

F: What does feminism mean to you?

NK: As nice as it can seem to see celebrities in the media express that “feminism means equality, so it’s not scary I guess?”, feminism isn’t at it’s core about equality to me. It is liberation. To be free in whatever manner we can find. To be free from political, economical, or social ways of keeping women from living from the system that we all live in. It’s also important to note that feminism encompasses all kinds of women: women of color, trans women, fat women, LGBTQ women, disabled women, mentally ill women, and much more. Much like racism, sexism is not an act of a group of people, it is a system that everyone including ourselves are socialized to be a part of. Feminism saved me and made me a stronger woman for it.

Sydney Cunningham is a creative writer from the southeast (Atlanta specifically) who writes poetry under the pseudonym neverkerouac. Sydney loves film, music, writing, singing as loud as possible, dancing, looking up pop culture facts online, and sitting on balconies. Through whatever comes of her writing, she wants to share how anyone can find meaning within themselves. Check out her blog here.

One thought on “Featured Friday | Meet Never Kerouac

  1. Caroline

    “Women artists tend to be voiceless in mainstream art, especially in poetry and writing. Creating content for yourself and putting it out there is a part of that. You don’t have wait on any green light from anyone to create.” YES. Do it. Now. Get your shit out there. This is huge for female artists. Men have no problem penetrating (yes, literally) the world with their vision, their voice. But women are trained to sit down and shut up. And when the moment comes to share our vision, our voice, we’re more likely to find a reason why we can’t or shouldn’t. I see this training playing out in my own life constantly. It’s a moment by moment check-in. Am I playing small? Am I playing the meek, submissive wife or the free spirited wild feminine with a message and a mission?

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