I met Kym Gordon Moore through our WordPress blogs earlier this year, and we quickly developed a strong friendship. She is a mentor to young and aspiring poets. She is kind. She is uplifting. After she released We Are Poetry: Lessons I Didn’t Learn in a Textbook, I invited her for an interview to talk about the new poetry collection. Our conversation is below.
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Interview with author Kym Gordon Moore
The new book We Are Poetry: Lessons I Didn’t Learn in a Textbook is part of the poetry revolutionary movement. It is designed to promote a range of cultures, fostering inclusivity and calling for change. All through the use of the poetic genre.
As Kym explains below, the book is about the “we,” not the “me.” The written collection brings light to many issues, including illiteracy, functional illiteracy, aliteracy, and disparity. We talk about this topic and much more here.
Thank you for taking the time for this interview, Kym.
Thank you so much, Christy, for having me here today. This is so exciting!
Let’s talk about We Are Poetry: Lessons I Didn’t Learn in a Textbook. What inspired you to write it?
Great question, Christy. In light of the increase of division going on in our society, especially over the last decade, I asked myself how could we become more unified instead of divisive through the use of poetry.
This book took on an unexpected transformation as I continued to notice a rip unraveling wider in the tapestry of humanity but somehow seemed to go unnoticed like death by a thousand cuts. I also wanted to take a deeper dive into uncovering those unheard voices who produced some incredible work but went unnoticed. I had a lot of questions, but no one I know knew the answers to my questions.
So, my queries led to my research of who, what, when, where, and why. This formed the “we” in poetry.
Your emphasis on the ‘we’ sets your poetry collection apart from others. Can you tell me more about this?
The inclusivity of people, cultures, and creations beyond my own is the unique part of this book. It goes beyond the focus from solely on “me” to form “we.” I want to use poetry to build bridges.
This idea wasn’t about me, but about us, we the people, and the lessons I learned from experiences we share intimately in the poetry realm and life. This book was not intentionally designed like a textbook, although it can be used as a teaching tool.
When I published my first collection of poetry containing 81 poems, people praised my work, but that was a short-term celebration. I was told that people would not necessarily take me seriously because you could find chapbooks and full-length collections by a dime a dozen.
Nothing was different. Basically, I felt my book of poetry probably wouldn’t have received the accolades like that of famous poets, we know well. So, I challenged myself to see how I could help to change the perception, narrative, and dynamics of poetry in the book industry and other platforms to give poetry the justice this genre so rightly deserves.
You are advocating for change on many levels. Your book spotlights the issues of illiteracy, functional illiteracy, aliteracy, and disparity. Please tell us more.
It’s scary how high the rate of illiteracy, functional illiteracy, aliteracy (those who can read but choose not to), and disparity have risen in our society today. These challenges reach beyond our borders, yet many people have no idea how debilitating and dangerous these statistics can be.
I feel sad about the conditions many teachers face in the classroom these days. I come from a line of educators and a mother who was adamant about her children getting the best education possible.
There are still many societies where girls, women, boys, and men are forbidden to get a good education. That’s disheartening, disastrous, and, quite frankly, dangerous.
Now, illiteracy should not be confused with non-literate societies (cultures having no written language). Non-literate cultures had no written historical accounts, but memorization through storytelling by griots was taught through oral communication and passed from one generation to the next. Griots functioned as professional repositories of information.
I asked myself, “Self, what can I do to help make literacy cool again?” That question led to more questions leading to the road of poetry.
You are a literacy advocate. Have you always loved the poetry genre?
I love poetry, but growing up, I actually loved art and architecture more. Since architecture required more mathematical acumen that I did not have, the idea of making that my profession fizzled after a few college courses.
Later, I found I could incorporate the elements I first fell in love with to use as a bridge to enhance my love of poetry. Once I was able to build that bridge, the portal opened where I could share it effectively and connect with others globally from different areas of interest.
You built a strong bridge, Kym. Can you please share more about your mission relating to the use of poetry today?
I saw the obvious signs of illiteracy a few decades ago in our society and wondered how this happened? I was more surprised to find evidence of this in the corporate world, [in] which I was employed. When I became a volunteer book giver from 2012-2014 for World Book Night, I didn’t realize how much illiteracy and aliteracy were widespread globally.
While I am not an educator from the traditional sense of the word, the statistics blew me away. My mission was there, but how to make a positive impact to help decrease those numbers is constantly evolving through my mind and the use of my impetus, which is poetry.
What can readers expect to get out of We Are Poetry?
The opening in my book unfolds with the phrase “Poeta nascitur, non fit” (a poet is born, not made). I hope the takeaway is that readers will get a deeper appreciation for the lessons and evolution of poetry included in this book.
I hope it opens the door for future learning and raises the bar of poetry expectations to a whole new level and in an innovative way. Poetry is a fascinating genre, not simply scribbling random words on paper.
The contents of this book are easy for readers to connect to and contain great takeaways from lessons that many people probably didn’t learn in a textbook. I wanted this book to emphasize bringing the “We” back to humanity.
What do you hope for the long-term impact of We Are Poetry: Lessons I Didn’t Learn in a Textbook?
I hope this book continues to evoke new dialogues, not just about poetry but how our voices can be advocates for change, a catalyst of encouragement, understanding, and hope for future generations. May we be the change agents and bridge builders to make this world a better place, no matter how small those positive changes may be.
A few closing words from author Kym Gordon Moore
I want to thank you, Christy, for giving me the opportunity to talk about my passion and share my mission and message for my love of poetry. This book took years of constantly adding and subtracting because of how much research I gathered.
I became frustrated and discouraged along the way, but I’m glad I didn’t publish this book when I wanted to. It became clear to me that I couldn’t and shouldn’t have rushed the process. Like a cake that is not fully baked, this book wouldn’t have been ready to adequately serve my audience if I jumped the gun, as we say. What began as a book evolved into a movement.
Connect with Kym Gordon Moore online
Get your copy of We Are Poetry: Lessons I Didn’t Learn in a Textbook
We Are Poetry by Kym Gordon Moore is available on Amazon in either paperback or eBook format.
Thank you, Kym, for being here today. Your purpose is inspiring! You shine a light to foster inclusivity and literacy. You are also a beautiful example of how one person can make a positive difference.
Poetry is, indeed, more than random words on a page. Poetry is the means to share important messages, reaching younger generations to propel long-lasting changes.
Top photo: Meet Kym Gordon Moore. Photo credit: The Lit Creative