1, Tell us about you, and your writing (themes, influences etc.)
Both me and my writing are pretty strange. I know this because people often say “Kailey, you and your writing are kind of strange.” I take this as a compliment though. Currently, I live by an old (but still functioning) train yard with my fiance and our cats, Coraline and Marzipan. I teach English, and right now I’m teaching a course on witches in literature, and it is an absolute dream.
Last year, I watched the film The Neon Demon and it literally informed my style for months. When I find myself inspired by something, I tend to really juice it for as long as I can. Lately, though, I’m really interested by objects – Morton’s salt, Valentine’s, haunted dolls. I spend a lot of time in antique stores just wandering amongst all the things, and they are all so thick with emotion and feeling. I started going to find decorations for my wedding, but it turned out to be really fruitful for my writing as well.
2, What are some of the ways in which you promote your work, and do you find these add, or eat into, your time writing?
My favourite way to promote my work is by attending readings or events with the literary community. I love these because I feel like the promotion is more conversational and mutal this way. It feels more meaningful to swap books with another author I admire or even just to meet the writers I love following online face to face. I’ve met some of my best friends at these kinds of events, and I think this has only ever energized me.
3, What projects are you working on at present?
My first book, She Used to Be on a Milk Carton, will be out this week. While I was working on that project, another one sort of grew from its periphery. I kept writing these poems about Lizzie Borden, and I tried to get some of them to fit with SUTBOAMC, but it just wasn’t happening. Eventually, after my first book was accepted for publication, I realized I had enough Lizzie poems to create a whole new manuscript. I spent most of this winter working on that book, and compiling it into a cohesive first draft, I’m hoping to send that out to publishers in the sort of near future.
Right now, my life is in flux in many ways. I’m getting married, we’re looking for a new home, my parents are thinking of moving out of the house I spent most of my teenage years in, I’ve started a new job … it goes on. I think my poetry has reflected this flux and also my aforementioned love of objects. I’m really embracing the mess of it all, and my stuff is all so disparate right now. I’m going to tell myself that this is something good though.
I’m excited to see what sticks in my poetry after the mess is all cleared.
4, What does poetry mean to you?
Poetry and words and naming all have such power for me. I believe that poetry is in so many ways a form of witchcraft or magic. It’s the basis of spells and intentions. With a poem, something is created that wasn’t there before, and it’s that creation that alters the universe. This has been going on for forever, and this must be why poetry is one of the oldest professions. How would anyone know what to do next if it wasn’t for poetry? How would anyone know what to wish for?
Between body and spirit, place and soul, love and trauma, and logic and magic, Kailey Tedesco finds herself between two worlds in this stunning collection of debut poetry. Treading the line between the dual nature of our human spirit, this collection brings to light what our physical, and then spiritual, selves’ place is in the cosmos and the realm beyond our immediate sight.
Through images of Catholicism, heavenly bodies, caul births, dark magic, serpents, and God, Tedesco challenges what it means to be Woman in a world so clouded by opposing truths, illuminating herself and elevating our human experience.