1. Why did you start writing?
"I believe I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I started off fairly young with nonsensical fiction stories and exaggerated creative nonfiction before I even knew the distinction between literary genres—I then dabbled around quite a bit with creative essays in middle school, before eventually stumbling upon contemporary poets. From then on, I’ve leaned heavily into studying and writing poetry, because I never quite knew how to exist without it."
2. What is your method of writing? Notebooks, computer?
"I most definitely write a vast majority of my pieces on my computer. Notebooks are for workshop drafts or when I want to attempt a piece that’s more complex in its form, and want to experiment with how its shape is or visually play around with it. However, I type far, far faster than I write, and I’m often frustrated if my hands are unable to put down words at the rate I’m forming them in my head. Computer documents are also much easier to send out for peer editing, as opposed to a .jpeg file of my hurried (and often a tad worrying) handwriting."
3. Where do you draw inspiration?
"Upon attending a workshop lecture with Kevin Wilson, where he spoke about his novel Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, I had the honor of hearing him talk about his inclination for including oddities and strangeness in his work: the act of putting the bizarre or the ‘weird’ down on a page could be a way to reconcile your loneliness in such a vast world. Lately, I’ve been drawing my inspiration from this, in a sort of way: I want to write about the strange, the things unspeakable to me, so that I know there are words out there grappling with my same existence, too, and the small little ‘nicks’ in my mundane.
But I also wish to write about the beauty of these things: the sublimeness that isn’t overshadowed by the peculiar. Overall, I suppose I find myself diving into the range of the human experience of how we live with ourselves and the terrifying things that surround us—like grief, hurt, and love."
4. How do you know when a poem is done?
"When the poem stops being something I can ‘juice,’ in my words. I often write a bit narratively, and when a conclusion comes, it’s when I feel that the poem has nothing left to say to its audience."
5. How do you title poems?
"My Adroit Journal mentor, the brilliant Gabriella R. Tallmadge, was the one to push me to be more deliberate with my titles! The fact that the title is the first line of a poem, and that there is a large, large difference between a good title, and a stellar title—all things Gabriella hoped I would learn and practice. With her advice, I title poems so that it always adds something beyond what the poem already says. What new lens does the title give? Does it help contextualize in a purposeful way? Does it drive home the unsaid? I’m a title nitpick, now, thanks to Gabriella’s guidance."
6. You are the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Interstellar Literary Review. Why did you decide to establish your own magazine?
"To be quite honest, in Interstellar’s very short initial period of being founded, I was unaware that the literary magazine scene was so broad! I had discovered a handful of magazines that I adored for helping to give writers gorgeous, meticulously crafted platforms, and so I genuinely and naïvely thought I was adding to a small scene of helping purvey the literary arts by founding my own magazine.
I soon discovered that the world of literary journals was far, far larger and more established than previously thought, and I’d unknowingly (but all the happier for it! Interstellar is a beloved child of mine, and I’m forever grateful for my contributors, staff, and the community that’s helped us thus far!) dove headfirst into it."
7. What other project(s) do you hope to take on someday?
"Ambitiously, I hope to dabble with somehow combining my writing and visual art in some sort of way—perhaps film, because I’ve always found it fascinating and immensely full of potential! I’m also considerably ardent about promoting a love for poetry beyond its current sphere, as well as just general community involvement and guidance in poetry, so hosting workshops isn’t too far away an idea that would come from me. (And also, a chapbook of my own in the distant future … but you didn’t hear that one from me! It can be our secret.)"
8. What do you hope people take away from your work?
"I don’t want to be so bold as to say that my work is life changing. My most sincere hope, though, is that something in any of my poems can resonate with someone, regardless of whether it’s exactly what I wished to say or not. I just want so very, very, very much that someone can feel that their small existence is not quite so untouchable, after all; there is someone out there that exists that was, at some point in time, as inescapably human as you feel right now—and here my poem is as proof of it."
9. What writing advice do you find totally useless?
"It’s hard for me to knock on any writing advice, just because I feel that so many things work or don’t work for different people based entirely on their preferences. Personally, though, the advice of cutting out strips of lines from a work and rearranging it has never quite done it for me. Like I mentioned before, my pieces often involve narratives of sorts, or some form of a linear progression, so ‘remixing’ tends to mess up my flow."
10. And finally, what do you enjoy doing that you don’t talk about enough. Tell me all about it!
"I truly do not talk enough about how much of a jock I am. I’m currently a captain of my soccer team, and I’ve been itching for a bit to somehow dedicate something literary-related to this, but alas! To no avail. Also, fashion, capturing moments with friends, making a proof of love permanent in the face of time—sentimental little things, I wholeheartedly and unashamedly adore doing. I also thoroughly enjoy calculus, because I am a freak sometimes, and would love to mentor people in it! Mentoring in general is very enjoyable for me, but mentoring math especially feels very comfortable."
Hear Sunny read her poem "Poem In All The Wrong Ways."
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June Lin (mini)
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Maria S. Picone
Charlie D’Aniello Trigueros
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