Friday, November 27, 2009

Women Writers of Color: Tara Betts

Full name: Tara Betts
Birth date: January 7
Location: East Coast, but originally from the Midwest
Website/blog: Tara Betts
Genre: poetry (and writing more prose)

WiP or most recently published work:
Arch & Hue, Willow Books imprint of Aquarius Press

Writing credits:
My poems have appeared in Essence, Callaloo, Drum Voices Revue, African Voices, and Meridians, Reverie, and Kweli among others.
My work is also in the following anthologies:
Gathering Ground, Home Girls Make Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminism, ROLE CALL, That Takes Ovaries!, Bum Rush the Page, Spoken Word Revolution, and Spoken Word Revolution Redux.

How frequently do you update your site?
Since I just revamped my site, I will be updating it daily, or at least 3-5 times a week.

Is your site designed for reader interaction?
Yes, I have an RSS feed, a guestbook and the option to share comments on some elements of the site. There should be video and items available in the store section soon. If readers have questions, they can email or link up with me on twitter or the facebook fan page.

Post of note, something in particular you want readers to check out:
Since I just started blogging again, my first entry that talks about reading in Chicago just after the beating death of Derrion Albert. I saw so many young people that I really care for while I was there. I taught in Derrion’s neighborhood and often walked on the same streets where Natasha Howliet was gunned down at a bus stop near Westinghouse High School. I know some of her teachers. This is why I keep writing and teaching. We have an urgency to serve directly. We have to work toward changing the way people think and envision our surroundings, immediate and global. This moment made me consider that deeply, "Not The Only Child."

100 words or less how would you describe your work?
I’d say that there’s a heavy narrative hand that lays down what I want to say. A poem or a story should have a hard slap or grab a throat. Yet, it should cradle a bit of the dreamer, make connections, and soar. Metaphor and imagery seems to do that. I focus on the specific, but find myself reaching toward timeless issues poets address: love, hate, loss, and affirmation. Pablo Neruda, Sonia Sanchez, Toni Cade Bambara, Nazim Hikmet, Agha Shahid Ali, Julia de Burgos are some of the poets who achieve that kind of balance. I seek that.

100 words on less please share your thoughts on one the writing life:
What keeps me writing often has little to do with writing. What haunts me and obsesses me, topics that keep emerging and intriguing, compel me to write. I’m a lifelong reader too. My house is inundated with books. Their presence reminds me how much work I have to do. I can pluck inspiration from a shelf. The writing life is a precarious balancing act of generating, revising, reading, and sharing, which means readings, flurries of correspondence, travel, stuff that has nothing to do with writing. There are workshops, submissions, teaching, thinking about writing. It’s a lot to balance.


rhapsodyinbooks said...

Thanks so much for introducing us to Tara Betts. I was also very excited to read, on her blog, about the Free Write Jail Arts program in Cook County.

We always learn so much from your blog and your guests - I forget to say yesterday, on Thanksgiving, that I am thankful for YOU!

January said...

Great interview with Tara! Arc and Hue is a wonderful read.