The Publications team is back at it- talent scouting. A fun, mini project to draw the limelight to the hidden abilities of our fellow peers, other than their sublime amalgam carving skills of course! This time around we are featuring a fine, budding poet and writer who has recently began her journey in spoken word poetry. Melody Chen shares about her inspiration, writing journey and the SA Slam Poetry she took part last year.
When did you begin writing and what did you write about?
It's hard to pinpoint exactly when I started writing, but when I was younger I wrote a lot of short stories. I can't really remember what they were about, but I'm pretty sure they were quite girly and fairytale-esque - princesses and magic and that kind of stuff. I also had a brief stint with short prose, before moving to poetry in 2016.
How did your interest in writing begin?
I've always liked reading, from a very young age, and I think that was part of what cultivated my love for writing. I also have quite an active imagination, so it was always very fun for me to make up stories. Later, writing became a kind of outlet, and it was always nice to have something constant to come back to time and time again, no matter what state my life was in.
What is/are your current genre(s) of work?
Currently I'm only focusing on poetry. Initially, it was only written, but recently I've started exploring with performance poetry too. I thought they'd be quite similar, but they're surprisingly different!
What inspires you?
Honestly, I get a lot of inspiration from people-watching, whether it's when I'm hanging with friends, walking somewhere, or even studying at uni. Fragments of everyday conversations often make it into my work in some form or another. My creativity also peaks at around 2-3AM. I live quite close to the tram works, and last year the late-night construction work was for some reason super conducive for my writing.
Tell me more about Slam Poetry SA i.e inspiration, how’s the whole experience- preparation and presentation
The whole experience was great! I decided to try it after watching a couple of poetry slam videos on Youtube. Getting to the finals involves coming first or second at one of the heats. I participated at one of the heats, but the poem didn't quite come out the way I had it planned in my head, so I edited it quite heavily and was fortunate enough to win the next heat. I worked on presentation by recording myself a couple of times (unbelievably cringe at first, but then I got used to it), and practiced until it was literally muscle memory. This was my first time getting involved in the SA poetry scene and the everyone was incredibly supportive of each other.
Check out her incredible performance!
Who are some of your favorite authors/ poets that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
Poetry-wise, I've been inspired by Sarah Kay, Lang Leav, Erin Hanson, and Rupi Kaur. Sometimes, when I'm having an episode of writer's block, I'll read their work, and it really helps get my creative juices flowing.
What do you like to read in your free time?
I try to read in my spare time, but sometimes I can go for months without reading anything. Other times, I'll finish a book in a few days. I bought a bunch of Amy Tan a while back, so I'm making my way through that right now. Apart from that, I like browsing miscellaneous poetry blogs, and Thought Catalog articles.
Where can we find your writings, have you ever had any published?
I started blogging more than two years ago as a way of forcing myself to write regularly, which can be found here: https://heartbeatingwings.wordpress.com. I feel like I am still exploring and learning about the whole poetry genre, so maybe I will start looking at publication options when I am more happy with my work