JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Julie Kasten, author of Dancing Amidst the Chaos
Dancing Amidst the Chaos is the story of a life, told in snapshots of its moments. Each verse invites the reader to catch a glimpse into the author’s internal world of hopes and dreams, fears and struggles. From building a love that lasts to mourning the loss of a friend, from delighting in the joys of childhood to healing the scars of addiction, no topic is off-limits, and each is explored with poignant emotion and pervasive honesty.
All of us are dancers amidst the chaos of the world we live in… Every reader will find a wealth of passages that resonate at the deepest levels within the pages of Julie Kasten’s piercingly candid, brilliantly expressive collection of poetry.
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the idea and inspiration to write Dancing Amidst the Chaos?
Julie Kasten: All of the poems you see in Dancing Amidst the Chaos were written over a span of about 5 years of my life. My inspirations for individual pieces came from all around me… From simple observations of the night sky to complex explorations of the deepest emotion, almost anything in life can become fodder for my poetry. The people in my life (especially my five-year-old daughter) provide a constant source of inspiration and ideas!
When I began to write these pieces, after a few years of being away from my writing, I don’t know that I even had the idea that they would one day come together into a book. At that point, I was writing them mainly for myself , for my own pleasure and/or my own therapy. Dancing Amidst the Chaos is sort of a “best of” collection from this period in my life.
JP: Why did you choose to use poetry as a medium to communicate your stories of Dancing Amidst the Chaos?
JK: I love the challenge that poetry affords me to make an impact on my reader in just a few lines of text. I love using wordplay and structure to create powerful imagery and evoke strong emotion.
I’ve often compared my poems to snapshots, capturing a slice of life or a moment in time. Reading Dancing Amidst the Chaos should feel like flipping through the pages of a photo album where each piece on its own creates a mood or tells a story. They all come together form a stirring mosaic of moments, memories and feelings.
JP: Which poets inspired your writing style? What were you able to take from them to make your poems stronger?
JK: I read Hart D. Fisher’s Poems for the Dead back in the late nineties and was inspired by the very genuine and fearless way in which he expressed difficult emotions in his work. From him, I learned to dig a little deeper in my own works and take the risk to reveal more of my truth.
I also love the works Universe Konadu, and I have been inspired especially by her poems about her faith journey and her walk with God. From her, I learned the power (for both myself and my readers) of communicating about my spiritual growth in verse.
Jessica Sanchez’s Under the Wishing Well inspired me in its skillful use of imagery and metaphor, as well as the author’s creation of and adherence to her own unique style and structure. There are so many others I could probably name here, but these are the three authors that really stand out for me, and whose influence can be seen and felt in Dancing Amidst the Chaos.
JP: What advice would you give to aspiring poets who haven’t taken the steps to publishing their works?
JK: For me, publishing wasn’t something to rush into. I wrote poetry for many years before I really had a sense that both my writing skills and my subject matter had evolved to a level that was suitable for publication. I would advise all aspiring poets to keep writing! Gather lots of feedback about your work.
If you don’t have people in your “real” life with whom you’re comfortable sharing your work, there are many great communities online for writers. And when you do feel that you’re ready to make the leap to publication, be sure to seek out a publisher that knows and respects poetry. Find a publisher that will work with you to maintain your unique style and voice during the editing process.
JP: What’s next for Julie Kasten?
JK: Right now, my publisher is putting together a little “mini book tour” for me here in Delaware and the surrounding area. I look forward to getting out there and meeting readers. Also, I’m in the early stages of work on a second book of poetry, and hope to be ready to release it early next year.
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