Friday, April 24, 2015

Indie Poet: Brittany Ward

Happy Friday, one and all! Today we have with us indie poet Brittany Ward, who has just released her first book of poetry A Planet-Sized World Layered in the Brain.

Brittany Ward:
A Planet-Sized World Layered in the Brain

How long have you been writing poetry?
I’ve been writing poems since about junior high school.  I used to primarily stick with short stories and figured poems were too difficult and obtuse and therefore I couldn’t possibly write them. However, once I began I realized writing them came more easily to me than writing prose.  My poems at that age were wretched of course, but writing them seemed to come naturally.

What’s the most rewarding thing about going indie?
 It’s probably the freedom it allows me to include everything I want and have the book look exactly the way I want it to.  Since this was more of a personal project for me, I really wanted it to be comprehensive. When you try to get poems published in a magazine for example, the editor will typically advise you what the publication is looking for and what they do and do not want, which is good and challenging in of itself and not to be dismissed.   However, if you want complete control and the freedom to experiment without any boundaries, self-publishing is the route to go.
What inspired your poems?
Science, particularly astronomy, is what tends to inspire me, and I like to use scientific analogies for the landscape of personal thoughts and emotions.  The interconnectivity between macro and micro worlds (the cosmological, biological and quantum), as well the unfathomable distances and timescales involved in cosmology, come with their own suite of inspiring emotions for me, so it comes somewhat naturally to me to draw from those emotions and the imagery they evoke. Simple things like a photon  (the elementary particle of light) being in a sense eternal and unaffected by time (since it travels at the speed of light and time slows down the closer you get to the speed of light) is a very beautiful and poetic concept to me.
Is there any connecting theme/anything you can tell us about the collection of poems as a whole?
I suppose one connecting theme is the synthesis of the micro and macro words, and how it relates tohuman understanding and emotion.  To paraphrase Carl Sagan, the Universe coming to understand itself.  I hope that’s somewhat of an emergent theme, however since this is a collection of poems I’ve written over the course of years, they’re a little bit all over the place. (I’m so adept at plugging my work. “All over the place.” “I HOPE there’s a theme!” Haha.).
We wants it, precious! Where can we buy your book?
Lulu at the following link is where you can currently get it:  From there, you can preview some of the poems as well as the gorgeous artwork Danielle Pajak created for the book.  We’re also working on getting it on Amazon Kindle in an e-book format, and it’ll be at the Dimi Espresso Coffee Shop in Payson, AZ in June of this year.  There will be updates on my Facebook as far as specific dates (
What project are you working on now?
I’m just trying to write more poetry! I really only have amorphous ideas right now and I’m hoping they gel into proper poems soon!

Can you tell us about any particular poets/poems that have shaped/inspired you as a poet?
This is where I’m going to sound a bit uncultured unfortunately, but I actually don’t read a lot of poetry! The majority of my inspiration came from popular science writers and communicators who were able to express scientific concepts in an imaginative, poetic way (namely Carl Sagan, astronomer Phil Plait), or just from reading about science in general.  The one poet who has probably influenced how I strive to portray landscapes of the mind is Sylvia Plath. I admire how she can create a sense of beauty or interest in the otherwise grotesque or mundane.   I also aspire towards an economy of words and simplicity like from that I’ve read in Japanese tanka (court poetry) and haiku, although I’m not always successful!  

What is your writing process? Do you plan your poems beforehand or just wait for inspiration to strike?
Typically it’s just whenever the inspiration strikes. Sometimes a specific concept will inspire me and I’ll build the poem around that, however usually it’s just about being in the right mood and letting the poem evolve as I write.

What advice would you give someone about to take the plunge into indie publishing?
I would advise to temper your expectations and not to expect a lot of sales. Since you’re self-publishing, all the promotion rests on you and you will need to do a lot of work to get noticed. I would choose indie publishing with the aim of obtaining more exposure and getting noticed and not with the aim of making money.

How do you take your caffeine? 
5 hour energy shots .  Sometimes two a day. I may have a problem.
Despite growing up and living in the light-polluted Metro Phoenix area, the cosmos have been inspiring Brittany Ward's writing since viewing Comet Hale-Bopp from her background as a junior high school student.  Her work also appears in the May 2013 issue of Scifaikuest.  She is continuing to submit her work to magazine publications while residing in Tempe, AZ in a small apartment she shares with a neurotic black cat and a ton of books.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This lovely young lady never ceases to amaze and delight me with her quiet intelligence and creativity.