Ask the Author: Rebecca Kokitus
What would you like readers to know about you?
Well—first of all, I want to say that every single person who reads and supports my work has my heart. Every time someone has told me that my work resonated with them in some way or inspired them, I can’t explain the amount of gratitude I feel. So I wanted to say thank you.
I would want someone who is approaching my work for the first time to know that if I make them feel something, that is enough. I don’t know how to write in a way that isn’t personal, so if my work means something to someone besides me, that is all I could want.
What is SEASONAL AFFECTED about for those who haven’t read it?
Seasonal Affected is a short collection of poetry about the shifting of the seasons, about nature, about mental health, about the places where these things intersect. It’s about all kinds of things, really, but mostly about the seasons and the ways they carried me/smothered me/emptied me.
What has been your inspiration for writing SEASONAL AFFECTED?
The reason I wanted to write Seasonal Affected was because of Seasonal Affective Disorder, because of the ways winter drains us, and for me personally, the ways any season can drain me. I remember thinking about the way summer always made me depressed—much more depressed than winter did. I wanted to write about that. Eventually, that idea became Seasonal Affected.
What was your favorite scene or part of SEASONAL AFFECTED to write?
There is a poem in Seasonal Affected entitled “soot” that is very important to me. I feel that it encapsulates my homeland in a way that I’m not sure I can ever re-invoke. (Obviously, I still try) I remember writing that poem for a class a few years back—it was one of those rare occurrences where I spat up a finished poem on the first try. It’s special to me.
Also, there are two warm-weather poems in the collection that I remember having a lot of fun writing—“tease” and “summer”—I love when alliteration and wordplay come naturally for me. There’s something about the early warm days that brings out that lyrical part of me.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
I remember being a kid and reading Stephen King novels and knowing that writing was what I wanted to do with my life. I wrote a lot of bad fiction as a teenager. For whatever reason, I thought to “become” a writer, I needed to be a novelist, although fiction was not my forte.
Finding comfort in simply being a poet, and owning that title, took me a while. I remember my first introduction to Sharon Olds’ poetry—reading these gorgeous, grotesque poems about the most human things—there was something about that that solidified my desire to be a poet.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Don’t doubt yourself or your writing. Also, there’s no rush—you’ve got your whole life. Also: I believe in you. Keep going.
Where to buy SEASONAL AFFECTED: https://www.apeppublications.com/product/seasonal-affected-by-rebecca-kokitus/
Where to find my published work: https://rebeccakokitus.wixsite.com/rebeccakokitus