Jeremy T. Karn is the winner of our 2020 Editor’s Choice. His winning poems, Lamentation for a Burnt Boy and Mute Boy are published in our debut issue: Threshold. He writes from somewhere in Liberia. He was born between 1997 and 1995 but not in 1996. He writes from his room he barely leaves. His work had appeared and forthcoming in The Whale Road, The Rising Phoenix, Kalahari Review, Praxis Online Magazine, African Writer and others.
As the editor’s choice for 2020, we spoke to him about being a writer, his inspirations and writing style.
1. How would you describe your writing style?
I would describe it as a little joy. I would describe my writing style to be simple, wherein I mostly used small dictions in my poems to give the readers proper clarity and understanding of the story I tried to convey.
2. What typically inspires your ideas?
Everything that I have experienced inspires my ideas. From watching my mother struggled without my father, watching my uncle’s burnt body being picked up from the ashes, and how my unbearable weight (depression) eats me up sometimes.
3. What do you love most about your two poems ‘Lamentation for a burnt boy and mute boy”?
What I love most about the two poems is that the both of them are very personal to me. The both poems were birthed out of tragedies. I remember the morning I saw my uncle’s body melting into ashes, his bones becoming charcoals. I remember the day I stood in front my teachers and classmate as I failed countless times to pull words from my throat to say a recitation I have practiced for several weeks. With everything in me I tried to say what I have memorized, but it was a miracle I couldn’t do; maybe Jesus himself. Since then I have always seen myself as a mute boy and it makes me sometimes to doubt my ability to speak up in a gathering.
4. Do you have a particular poet whose work you regularly come back to? How has this influenced your work?
I think Romeo Oriogun will forever be that poet I’ll always go back to. He made dropped deeply in love with poetry. In 2016, I was deeply filled stuffed with grief. I could barely breathe without spilling it on the floor, and when I came across Romeo Oriogun’s debut poetry book “Burnt Men” wherein he wrote about his grief on the many things that were important to him. It helps me so much as I strive to write mine side of grief. I have read “Burnt Men” countless times.
5. What advice do you have for writers who are beginning to publish their work?
My honest advice I have for writers are beginning to publish their work is that they should embrace rejection mails and see it as a sign of growth. Rejection hurts, yeah it hurts so bad but it’s part of the process of becoming a published writer. I will urge them to write from their experiences and be humble with the outcomes of what follow their writing.
6. What do you wish your readers knew about you? How does this inform your poems?
That I am grief-stricken, that I grew up learning my father’s name from my mother, that my childhood was stolen away by the sound of bullets and running, and these things are basically what my poems are informed on.