New Oceana Poetry Interviews

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interview with


Craig Santos Perez: What is your “origin story” as a poet? When and why did you first start writing poetry? Lehua Taitano: I started writing poetry as soon as I found out what poems were—around seven years old, probably. I have always been drawn to the spaces of poetry: visually, contextually. Poems were something I could tear out of a notebook and keep in my pocket. A small space I would try to fill with the most potent stuff I could think of. So I’m fairly certain that all of the poems I ever wrote as a young person were, expectedly, pretty awful. But that didn’t matter to me. I wasn’t writing poems for other people. I used them more to think about the world in a way that sounded beautiful to me. Because it was gratifying, fun. I think that’s still why I’m drawn to poetry.