If you’re a multi-passionate writer, See Jane Write is the community for you. LaKisha Cargill knows this. She’s been a member of the See Jane Write Collective for years and during that time has dabbled in many genres of writing.
“I write just about everything,” LaKisha says. “I am a blogger turned essayist turned aspiring children’s book author turned poet. I love the written and spoken word, so I express myself in many creative outlets.”
Lately, LaKisha has been leaning into her love for poetry and it’s paying off. She recently won an award for one of her poems. LaKisha is a breast cancer survivor who has been using her writing to share her story encourage other women affected by the disease. But these aren’t the only reasons why LaKisha is the See Jane Write member of the month for October 2021.
LaKisha knows that writers need other writers and she takes community seriously. In the See Jane Write Network Facebook group, you will often find her sparking discussion, offering words of encouragement, and posting opportunities for her fellow scribes.
Read on to learn more about LaKisha.
This summer you won an award from the Southern Christian Writers Conference for a poem you wrote. Tell us more about the poem.
The poem that took 1st place in the SCWC Poetry contest is named “Betrayal.” It was written in less than an hour as I sat and reflected on my survivorship journey. It was originally published in Wildlife Magazine which is a magazine that gives a voice and builds community for young breast cancer survivors. I was ecstatic that it found a home and even more ecstatic that it won an award.
How did you become interested in poetry?
My affair with poetry really began after I watched the horrible murder of George Floyd on television. Stunned, saddened, and shocked, I picked up a pen and started to write. I wrote two poems to capture the hurt and pain I felt and memorialize the shift I saw occurring in our society. Fast forward to this year, in June, I decided that my goal for the See Jane Write (Network Facebook group) challenge was to write a poem a day. Then in July, I signed up for the UAB Spark Poetry Writing Intensive and I was hooked. I never had formal training in poetry but the instructor, Tina Mozelle Braziel, made it so assessable that I didn’t want to stop. I am lucky that she agreed to continue the poetry intensive with two of us. Each week, she continues to help us craft, critique, and revise our work.
Poetry is a very intimidating form for many people — even a multi-passionate writer. What advice would you give to writers who want to try that hand at poetry but they’re afraid to do so?
It sounds cliché but I would say to let go of any preconceived notions you have about writing poetry. And just write. Yes, there are different types of poems, and they have certain rules but there is also room for no rules at all. If you read some of the contests on what they are looking for, you will see that often they tell you they are looking for traditional poetry like a Haiku, but they also may be looking for non-traditional forms and don’t place any restriction on the writer.
Also, finding examples of poems that move you and then studying what the poem does more so than what it says is a good place to start. Then try to write a poem that flows similarly and moves you in a similar way. Find different prompts to start your poetry journey, follow poets on social media, and check out http://www.poetryfoundation.org and http://www.poetry.com for inspiration.
Why did you join the See Jane Write Collective and what do you like most about being a member?
I joined See Jane Write because I love writing and was in search of a writing community. Since I joined pre-pandemic, I was able to attend in-person events and really appreciated the community See Jane Write was built on. I was so inspired by the writers and bloggers who spoke at the first See Jane Write Conference I attended so I decided to join. I’ve learned so much over the years from the programming and lasting connections with many awesome Janes. All of this has helped my writing because the support and encouragement are next-level.
Since you’re a multi-passionate writer you’re probably working on a lot of projects right now. What’s next for you?
I continue to write poems with the goal of creating my first chapbook and I hope to have it ready by quarter one of 2022. I have two children’s book manuscripts in the revision phase, and I am working on a middle-grade sci-fi. Also, I continue to work to grow as a freelance writer.
Where can folks find you online?
You can find me blogging at http://www.sizablechic.com. Also, let’s connect on Instagram @sizablechic and @lakishawrites.
Who should be the next See Jane Write Member of the Month? Send your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t be afraid to nominate yourself! Not a member? Apply to join here.