Inky Interview: Author and Visual Artist Laura Minning

You are an award winning published poet and author who first started writing at the age of nine. Tell us about your journey towards being published. It must be interesting to see how you have developed as a writer over the years?

I didn’t develop a desire to have my poetry published straight away. That dream emerged during my sophomore year of high school. My first opportunity to embark upon that dream didn’t present itself until five years later, though.

My alma mater was producing a literary magazine, and they were looking for submissions. I decided to provide a hard copy of a poem entitled “children” to the editor. (“children” was an excerpt from the creative writing portfolio that had been presented in congruence with my college application.) The judges loved my poem as much as I did and agreed to feature it in their publication.

You are also a visual artist. Describe for us your abstract art. Where have you exhibited?

I began by utilizing acrylic paints in the late fall of 2013. Next, I tried my hand at combining the paint with candle wax, nail polish, crayons, sidewalk chalk and glitter glue. I’d additionally affix original poetry or Imax film strips to canvas board and incorporate the acrylic or wax based mediums around them. These techniques created some exceedingly colourful tactile and three-dimensional effects.

I’ve presently had ninety-four pieces exhibited in seven states. My work has primarily been featured on the east coast – from Virginia to Maine. Recently, I’ve obtained permanent exhibits with children’s museums in Iowa and Texas. These exhibits serve as “touch exhibits” for the blind. They’ve been very well received, and I’d like to do more in that area.

What is it you love about poetry?

I love the fact that poetry is a way for us to share parts of ourselves with others. It’s a way for us to connect, and it’s a way for us to grow.

Could you share with us your Spanish sonnet Bronx Zoo? What inspired you to write it?

I wrote Bronx Zoo whilst I was on a high school field trip to the “Bronx Zoo”. It was a class assignment. In college, I was tasked to write a traditional Spanish sonnet. I decided to take the first two stanzas of Bronx Zoo and translate that. Both poems have not only been very well received, they’ve both obtained publication status.

Bronx Zoo

…I feel captive of the world around me,
as I glance through my cage
(of protection and confinement)
and see the passing eyes,
and hear the sounds of smiles,
I wonder of my fate and destiny.

For people accept me as a stuffed fascination,
and cage me without consent
(of hope or being).
Oh to live a life of freedom;
that is my ultimate dream.

And my friends are in my place,
(of a caged society)
and they wonder of me,
as I think of them.
For we wish for freedom
and demand to be heard.

So when I touch my bars of jail,
and see those passing eyes,
I feel ashamed.
(For it prevents me from forgetting
my board and captive life
and my friends of freedom’s shelters roam.)

For to be free is my painstaking goal,
and to run wild is my ever lasting dream…

(excerpt from “sunburst” published by xlibris, 2005)

What do you care about? What themes keep cropping up in your writing?

I care about the state of the world and my role in it. I’m also constantly looking for ways to learn and grow as an individual.

How do you think technology is affecting humans in today’s society?

I think that technology has made our lives easier, but it’s also hindered us as a society. I’ve seen people sit and eat at the same table, whilst spending time on their phones vice interacting with one another. That doesn’t strike me as healthy.

Describe a typical day in your life.

I think that technology has made our lives easier, but it’s also hindered us as a society. I’ve seen people sit and eat at the same table, whilst spending time on their phones vice interacting with one another. That doesn’t strike me as healthy.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

I think that the world could use more acts of kindness – both to ourselves and to others.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell myself to continue working on my goals with diligence. A little work each day will definitely bear fruit.

Describe a typical day in your life.

I believe in having a balance between work, my creative projects, my family and my friends. It’s all of great importance to me, and it should all have equal time as a result.

Who inspires you and why?

I originally found inspiration in reading poetry by E. E. Cummings. I felt that he had a unique voice and vision, and I saw M. C. Escher as achieving that same goal in the world of art. I identified with this, and I felt inspired to create and develop my own voice and vision as a result.

What are you reading at the moment?

Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of reading time. I do venture on-line in order to read the occasional article on varying abstract artistic technicians, though.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

I would say that it’s important to find your voice, follow your heart, and have faith that your creative goals will bear fruit if you work at them.

What is next for you? What plans have you got?

I would love to establish more tactile exhibits for children and the blind population. I think that everyone should have the opportunity to be exposed to and enjoy artwork.

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