Kenyatta JP Garcia is the author of This Sentimental Education, Past and Again, and Playing Dead. They grew up in Brooklyn but currently reside in Albany, NY where they went to school for linguistics and it’s where they spent a decade as a cook. Now, they work the graveyard shift thinking of jokes and pondering the ins, outs and in-between of comic book characters while putting boxes on shelves. They were also an editor at Horse Less Review and their work has been featured in Brooklyn Rail, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, GlitterMob and Dirty Chai.
Crab Fat: Where do you receive inspiration from? Are there any subjects that you feel more drawn to than others?
Kenyatta: I receive my inspiration from the world close at hand. I try to keep my poetry close to the occurrence. By this I mean I work with the words I hear in the conversations around me, lyrics in the café’s music, bursts of words in comics and whatever most attached itself to my senses. I tend to write a lot about wishes, hopes, and dreams. The idea of fantasy is compelling to me. I’m not looking to escape nor even to cope but I like the notion of the eternal ‘what if’ that comes with being in this world.
CF: Are there any writers or works that have influenced your work?
K: Paul Verlaine, Jean Toomer, Jim Carroll, Beckett, Lorca, the albums of Joy Division and lots of comic books.
CF: How do you decide on the formats of your poems?
K: I try to figure out how many voices I want a poem to have then I can move words/thoughts left, right and center. After that, I think about how I want the voice to carry. How it breathes and then I can work with line lengths.
CF: How did you begin writing?
I started writing when I realized that I could transfer my playground trash talking into something else – maybe standup material maybe not – but it could exist on the page even if just long enough to be spoken again. Over time my jokes and snaps went to paper first and developed into a sort of poetry, sort of monologue.
CF: What keeps you motivated to continue writing?
K: Loneliness. If I stop writing I’ll lose my best friend. The only one who listens to everything and tries their best to comfort me when all is lost.
You can read their #Orlando poem here.