"I floated to the surface with my heart's message in a bottle. I survived you."-K.Y. Robinson
About the Author...
K.Y. Robinson is an introverted writer based in Houston, Texas. She received a B.A. in journalism and M.A. in history from Texas Southern University. She has loved words pressed against pages since childhood and has been chasing them ever since. The Chaos of Longing is her first published poetry collection. Robinson draws from personal experiences as a woman of color, trauma, and mental illness survivor, and hopeless romantic.
"The Chaos of Longing is a brutally honest poetry collection exploring desire--physical, emotional, and spiritual. Organized in four sections (Inception, Longing, Chaos, and Epiphany), this collection explores what it is to want in spite of trauma, shame, injustice, and mental illness. It is one survivor's powerful testimony, and a love letter "to those who lie awake burning."-K.Y. Robinson
Let's Talk Mental Health & More With K.Y. Robinson!
K: What is your inspiration behind writing?
K.Y. Robinson: So many things inspire me: black womanhood, trauma, heartache, love, lust, and music.
K: Why did you become an author? What drives you?
K.Y. Robinson: It’s always been my dream to become an author. I’ve been writing since I was about 11 years-old. I initially wanted to write romantic novels, but I became more drawn to poetry instead. The need to tell my story drives me. I didn’t think my story was worth telling until I start reading poets like Nayyirah Waheed, Warsan Shire, Yrsa Daley Ward, and Rupi Kaur. Their work made me realize that there was room for my voice too.
K: What was your muse behind writing The Chaos of Longing?
K.Y. Robinson: The Chaos of Longing started off as a collection of unrequited love poems after a failed relationship. I was so heartbroken that I wrote day and night. I wanted to know why he couldn’t love me. I wanted to blame him for the demise of the relationship. After I noticed that I repeated certain toxic patterns in other relationships, I knew I had to dig deeper. I realized that there was chaos within me that I had to confront like past sexual trauma, mental illness, and low self-esteem. I was trying so hard to make others love me when I didn’t even love myself. I guess the book was about putting a mirror to myself and not just my past lovers. I finally removed the rose-colored glasses and saw things for what they were.
K: What do you want your audience to take away from this collection of poetry?
K.Y. Robinson: I want the reader to find order in their own chaos and take a journey towards wholeness, whatever that might look like for them. It could be self-love, self-care, to leave a toxic relationship, to use my story as a cautionary tale, etc. Art is subjective, so the book will mean different things to different people.
K: Describe your writing process! Do you have any crazy funky routines?
K.Y. Robinson: My writing routine is erratic. One day I could wake and write for hours. There are times I can only write in my bed at night. I could hear a song, or a phrase and have to squeeze a poem out of it. My process is all over the place.
K: What is your favorite poem from your debut? Why?
K.Y. Robinson: My favorite poem from my collection is “melanin”. Every time I read it I feel nostalgic. It’s like I’m falling in love with my muse all over again. I can smell and taste the first time I laid eyes on him.
K: How do you feel you have evolved creatively as a writer?
K.Y. Robinson: Reading a variety of writers helped me a lot. I used to write poems that rhymed and were very cheesy. I began experimenting with metaphors and became more honest in my writing.
K: What was one of the most surprising moments you learned in creating your book?
K.Y. Robinson: I was surprised by how much I revealed about myself. I’m such a reserved person. I would never say half of the things I wrote aloud to anyone.
K: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
K.Y. Robinson: Be yourself. Write from a place that’s rooted in passion and authenticity. Don’t try to be the next so and so. Read other writers. Don’t think that you can’t learn from anyone else.
K: As an author, why do you feel mental health is not openly discussed in ethnic communities?
K.Y. Robinson: The stigma frustrates and saddens me. I can’t count how many times conversations about my mental illness was swept under the rug or minimized. There are so many people suffering in silence because they feel like they can’t talk to anyone.
K: What was the hardest part about creating this book?
K.Y. Robinson: I was worried about others would perceive me. I opened up about trauma and living with mental illness. Many loved ones weren’t aware of those things, but they’ve been so supportive.
K: What were the early influences on your writing and how do they manifest in your work?
K.Y. Robinson: My earliest influences were Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and She by Saul Williams. I could relate to young Maya’s trauma, sexism, and the black struggle. The honesty and imagery blew me away. I think all black girls should read this book. I read She religiously in my 20s and I still pick it up now and then. It’s a vulnerable journey about the ending of a relationship. Williams weaves words so beautifully and cleverly. His work helped me with metaphors and how to hide meanings in my writing. I’ll never be as talented as these two but they were my early inspirations.
K: Who are your favorite authors to read?
K.Y. Robinson: A few of my favorites are Pablo Neruda, Lucille Clifton, Maya Angelou, Saul Williams, Ocean Vuong, Nayyirah Waheed and Warsan Shire.
K: What book or books have had a strong influence on you and your writing?
K.Y. Robinson: I would say Maya Angelou books. I draw a lot of inspiration from her raw honesty. A lot of her poems felt like a warm hug and made me feel like I wasn’t alone.
K: It's #WineDownWednesday w/ K! Do you have a favorite wine?
K.Y. Robinson: I used to be a Moscato girl but now I’ve fallen in love with Riesling.
K: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
K.Y. Robinson: To discover more about me and my work, they can follow me on social media—iamkyrobinson on Instagram, Twitter, Tmblr, and Facebook. You can also find me at kyrobinson.net.
K: What can we expect to see next from you in the future? :)
K.Y. Robinson: More books! I also would like to be more active in mental health spaces, especially with the black community.
I would like to send a special thank you to K.Y. Robinson for taking time out of her schedule to interview with me! Her wise words of wisdom and vulnerability has really strengthened and humbled me as a new writer, and I can't wait to work with her again! Mental health is an important topic, so please make sure that you are not only tapping into your mental health, but reaching out to those who may be struggling with their own. Everyone is fighting their own demons, and you never know when you may be in those same shoes. Please take the time to acknowledge and listen to someone, and also if someone is speaking of harming themselves or others, that it is taken seriously with a clear mind and open heart. If you or anyone you know is thinking about committing suicide or inducing harm in any way, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. I hope this post touches someone in some way, and I hope to continue spreading positivity in many lives. You are worthy. You matter. Your life is worth another day with us. You are loved. You are beautiful.
QTNA: In what three ways do you take control of your mental health? How has this strengthened you as an individual? Leave comments below!
Welcome to the launch of my new book blog! Thank you all soooo much for reading and I can't wait to hear your thoughts, ideas and comments! Enjoy! :)