Adebe DeRango-Adem

Adebe D.A. is a writer living in Toronto, where she currently studies English at York University and serves as Assistant Editor for the arts and literary journal, Existere. Her work has been featured in sources such as Canadian Woman Studies Journal, The Claremont Review, and The Toronto Star, where her winning piece in the Toronto Poetry Competition was featured. She currently holds the honour of Toronto’s Junior Poet Laureate and is the author of a chapbook entitled Sea Change (Burning Effigy Press, 2007).

Questions & Answers

Is there a specific moment that inspired you to pursue poetry?

I saw every moment as worthy of a story, or a poem. I think it was in reading Leonard Cohen’s “Let Us Compare Mythologies” in my first year in highschool that I realized just how incredible poetry could be. I was even more inspired when I realized Cohen had written those poems in his early twenties.

How/where do you find inspiration today?

Waking up to the light, remembering darkness everywhere, and learning to make light again.

What is your writing process?

I take it from Kerouac’s step 2 of his spontaneous prose: “Time being of the essence in the purity of speech, sketching language is undisturbed flow from the mind of personal secret idea-words, blowing (as per jazz musician) on subject of image.”

What is your revision/editing process?

I try not to overdo the editing process, but generally I try and strip away those words (most often clauses) that do not add meaning. It’s a personal thing.

Did you write poetry in high school? If yes, how did you get started? If no, why not?

I’ve been writing poetry for about ten years, but more seriously in highschool. It was there that I took an influential creative writing class with a teacher who gave us Bukowski and Mishima to read amongst others (they weren’t accepted into secondary English reading lists). I started a poetry group at that time as well, and have since treated poetry as less of a hobby than it is a necessity.

Do you use any resources that a young poet would find useful (e.g. websites, text books, etc.)?

Places for Writers is a great website, and every couple of years I keep my source savvy by purchasing the Writer’s Market.

When you were high school aged, what would have been helpful/motivating to hear from a published poet?

Rejection is arbitrary, and being published isn’t everything. Pursuing your craft for the love of writing is what makes you an authentic writer.

Works by Adebe DeRango-Adem