I can't let National Poetry Month come to a close without putting the spotlight on one of my fellow poets. Taneisha LaGrant joins me today and gives us a look inside of her writing life and influences.
1. There are so many poets who don't publish their work. Tell us about your decision to share your words beyond the stage and your journey to publication.
Hi! Thanks for having me. For me it started a long time ago. My seventh grade teacher told me I should publish and so I compiled two volumes of poetry from middle school through high school that I wanted to publish. Long story short, I lost all of those poems and started over. I knew that I wanted to be a published writer and I hadn't branched off into novel writing at the time and the stage scares me. I tend to speak too fast when I do spoken word, so I was in my barracks room and started typing up my book. That was in 2009 and I published The Pain of Love in 2010. At the time I had never heard of a poetry editor, writing groups or any of what I know now. I'll be republishing a more polished version within the next year or so. I felt that other people could relate to some of the things that I've been through. Understand and other pieces like it was my way of telling other women that they aren't alone. I write to inspire and want to help as many people as I can, even if it's only one.
2. Who are some of your writing influences?
I am really enjoying all styles of books these days. Growing up, Maya Angelou and Tupac's poetry spoke to me. I love what they had to say. These days I read to branch out and get introduced to more writers. In doing so, it allows me to find my own voice. I've always wanted to write about love, but hadn't read my first romance novel until 2014. I could say that initially I was influenced by Brenda Jackson, but now that I'm branching out, my writing is mixed with romance and suspense based on the book.
3. Do you schedule your writing or just let it flow?
I try to schedule my writing during lunch, before work and on the weekends. Other times, I just let it flow and lately it works better that way. I'm not distracted by social media when I let it flow.
4. What advice do you have for new writers?
Stick to it and learn your genre. It took me awhile to find my niche and now that I'm learning, I don't want to stop. So read. Writing is important but reading is better to me. When you read, you learn what elements go into the book and you can dissect books based on what you know about plot development for that genre. Don't worry about word count in the beginning. Edit after you've completed your first draft. If you edit as you go, you'll be stuck in the first chapter. You can do it!
5. What's next for Taneisha LaGrant?
I just released my new poetry book Life & Love: Volume I, which to me is the beginning of my journey. I enjoyed the experience. That said, I'm working on Life & Love Volume II (Spring 2018), the revisions of God, Love & All My Soul 2nd Ed (September 2017), The Pain of Love 2nd Ed (Winter/Spring 2018), The 6th Month Vow (Winter 2017) and I'm brainstorming my first screenplay Rise.
Please enjoy this spoken word video and be sure to connect with Taneisha on the web!
About the Author
Taneisha LaGrant is a poet from Gretna, Florida. She is the author of Life & Love Volume I. Taneisha holds a BA in English and currently attends graduate school majoring in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. She resides in Washington with her husband and two children.
Get your copy of her latest book here:
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