Promoting Creativity – Afieya Kipp

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Today I have an interview I did with Afieya Kipp, a writer and editor and fellow regular contributor for Rose Quartz Journal. I hope you all enjoy learning more about her, and that you take the time to read her blog or follow her on twitter.

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1. Tell us a little bit about what you do.

Currently, I’m the founding editor in chief of Vessel Press and I’m also an MFA Candidate at Lindenwood University, where I’m studying poetry, specifically prose. And, my side hustles include: freelance editing, grant consulting, and graphic design.

2. When and why did you start writing?

Recently, while I was studying Finance, I made a conscious decision to commit myself to my art, and so I dropped out of my MBA program, applied and got into an MFA program and started building a publication portfolio. Maybe that’s when I decided to take it ‘seriously’?

With that being said, it honestly feels like I’ve been writing for a century…but I’d say I began as a child, around 10, keeping journals/diaries. I actually got into poetry by writing raps, first. Then, it evolved into something I did to preserve my sanity when I was about 19 and struggling with an eating disorder, anxiety, depression and issues accepting my sexuality and gender identity. Now, I write to empower other queer black/brown womxn to tell their stories, and add to the conversation about eroticism, autonomy and the black body, among other things…

3. Tell us about a project that you are currently working on that has you really excited.

Aside from the zines/lit mags/book publications slated for release over the next three years by my press, I’d say that the visual poetry project I’ve been working on as a homage to Solange is one thing that I’m super eager to get out into the world. It’s largely inspired by her album A Seat at The Table, which is, in my opinion, the most brilliant representation, visually speaking, of avant-garde fashion and beauty in contemporary R&B. Solange has consistently proven that she’s unafraid to be disruptive, in an artistic and political sense, and I feel like we have very similar goals in our work/practice/art/ethos. The project will be a full-length photo book with poems, both traditional and visual, inspired by the tracks on A Seat at The Table, and borrowed from the lyrical content/interludes in the form of blackout poems. There’ll also be some experimental photo manipulation/design happening. I think I’m mostly excited about releasing it for the people who’ve been looking for this kind of content. Everything I do is for the culture.

4. What are some of your goals for the future?

I’m 27, and I can honestly say that for over a decade I’ve been existing underneath an impressive amount of facades. The space a black, queer body/existence like mine occupies is valid, but in a political/cultural landscape like the one we find ourselves in today, it can be hazardous. However, I’m over the chameleonic behavior I’ve been forced to perform. The cognitive dissonance is chipping away at my soul. Simply put, I want to live my truth.

As far as my career is concerned, I’m looking forward to writing more poetry collections and possibly getting some short stories out into the world. Honestly, I just feel fortunate to be writing the content that I’m writing today and I just want to continue doing that for as long as I can.

5. How can we support you?

Head on over to Vessel Press and purchase our lit mags, leave comments on our amazing blog posts and submit work! We’re on Twitter, too @vessel_press. You could also check out my author page on Amazon and purchase my chapbook “(black)Moans(wane)s” on Payhip or visit my website for updates.

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