But first, some background from Amber Renee herself--Amber is a poet and performance artist "//who writes to // delight the imagination; skirt // slithers straight flung across // your tongue & bite you." Mega thank you to Amber for interviewing with us!!!
What have you been working on lately? What's got your interest right now?
Oh boy, let’s see. Currently I have a collection of dissociated essays & shorter fiction half thoughts 99% completed; it’s short. A bare bones of story & poetics, archetypes personified for feeling’s sake & a joy of writing mixed with desperation. I might go over the 7 pieces each again though. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to this stuff. //So as well, I’m 7 orchestrations deep in the musical accompaniment of my poetry book “Thoughts On This Most Recent Episode.” It’s set to be done in 8 parts, so I’m alllmost complete with that one too!! (https://amberreneepoetry.bandcamp.com/album/thoughts-on-this-most-recent-episode) I’ll be particularly proud finishing the over 40 minute piece, because I Am Not A Musician. But I did it, & maybe I enjoyed it too:) //Next I’ve been practicing & brainstorming on how to perfect my performances of my book with music. I’ve been lucky enough to have been given many opportunities to be on stage at the many readings Philly offers. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZWT4pMetKU&t=1s) Seeing what emotions I can bring out in people by the use of my words & body language has been a trial & error. //Okay, onto the next project….. & can you tell I’m bipolar yet? Many unfinished projects done in whirlwinds of creativity. I’ve been on & off creating a very important to me collection of 3 fiction stories. The collection highlights the application of mental illness, grandeur & psychosis, while forcing the reader, through their reading, to understand the where & why & how it’s all coming from. The stories are surreal, automatic & poetic. It will be called “The Occasional Delusions Of...” //A fun & easy thing I've been doing is online, I have been enjoying the process of pasting my poetry onto strange visual art I make. (https://www.instagram.com/amberreneepoet/) //Lastly, I’m idly collecting poetry over the past 2 years to put out another collection.
Do you go into composing your work with a theme in mind, or does it emerge for you?
Hm, I guess I usually somewhat know what mood I’m going for, but only after it emerges for me;) //Because only in fiction writing do I outline exactly what I need to cover, what needs to happen, etc., in order for me to capture the theme or message or plot point I’m going for. In poetry & music however, I go into it with only a vague feeling that has emerged for me pre-writing. Pre-writing happens throughout the day, all times that are after being done writing during one session, & before writing for session 2.
On your Facebook your poetry is often accompanied by some really cool companion art. How do you go about translating your work into an image?
Structurally I use multiple apps, sometimes at different times, usually overtop each other. I’ll list a few: Photo Editor Pro, Glitch!, Overlay, 8Bit Photo Lab, Fraksl, Layout, Texgram Legacy, & of course: Insta.
Otherwise I think I translate my work to art by sheer will. My spatial relationships in art & design are poor, I’m sad to say. I’m no visual artist. I play. I play & I try. Thank goodness for the reverse button & to saving every layer as I go.
I've seen/heard some of your performances, namely Pt. 3 from "Thoughts" and "Universal Void Theory." I really feel like you command a presence and own the space you're in. How did you find your voice and style? Any advice to fellow poets still trying to pin theirs down?
Well, you’re giving me some new information. Glad to know my words & body are enough to command & own. I suppose the best & most cliche way of saying I found my style would be to say I followed my heart. I feel compelled to bow before my wishes for myself; that is, to be the weirdo-est thinking poet you know. My advice then is to take time, serious time, to peer around inside your own heart & write what you see. What style does your inner voice speak in when you stay silent? Copy it. Think about it. Assimilate it to your outer voice & see what happens.
(https://amberreneepoetry.bandcamp.com/track/universal-void-theory) Universal Void Theory
How do you prepare for a reading? Any tips you can share?
Ha. I prepare by wondering how in the world I thought I’d have the spoons* to get up on a stage & perform that night.. //No, but once I drink enough coffee.. (never enough coffee) & I’m on my way driving toward the city from my suburban home, I’m listening to music only specifically chosen:
Run the Jewels
It’s obvious the type of mood I’m getting into with that selection. I prepare by amplifying my self worth by listening to grandiose music. Before that it’s a million & a half read throughs of my set that night. Any tips would comprise of those two rituals. Practice, practice, practice, then rock out to your favorite, most self-empowering music right before the actual reading.
I've heard you perform live and in studio for recording. Are there any notable differences for you in how you read? Which do you prefer?
Oh for sure. I’m a very nervous recording artist. I say one word, hate it, try again, hate it, try again, hate it, but go with it because I can’t just say this one word over & over again,, or this 20 minute piece will never get recorded. //I much prefer reading live, without headphones & a recording mic in my face. Live I can flow, & move, & mess up without the need to go back & perfect it. Live is definitely more freeing.
Is there anything the audience can do you prepare for a performance?
Yeah, of course checking me out online is the best thing to do. I tend to write with a lot of flair in my wording, which can make it difficult to understand right off the bat. Especially live, where you don’t have the words to back up the reading, or performance. & when I use my speaker, I can only imagine your attention splits to hear the music too... Bottom line: Check me out online.
Who's one poet you love who you feel more people should know about?
Good question. I’m going to go local poet & say James Feichthaler. He’s a hustler when it comes to this poet stuff. A real cool dude, a forrealist inside & out & you’ll have to read his stuff to understand.
Is there anything else you'd like readers or fellow writers to know?
I just would like people to know how from the heart my writing is, & to give it a try. I’m just a neurodivergent mixed girl trying her best to stay above water. Any support for my writing, any, is so appreciated. Whether in likes & comments (preferably SHARES!!), or stopping by a show, or maybe even buying a book; I’m appreciative & hope my writing opens you up to taking that inner journey with me. If only to blueprint for you, how you could better know yourself by exploring your own psyche. Thanks:)