GIGI STAHL  

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23 • MICHIGAN

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I am currently a master’s student at Western Michigan University studying Higher Education Student Affairs. I’m working an assistantship in the Office of Student Engagement doing Leadership Development and working part time as a barista at Water Street Coffee.

 

WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?

I completed my undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point where I
majored in
English with minors in psychology, Spanish, and creative writing.

WOWZA

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?

 

Right now, I am spending most of my time focusing on my master’s program and my assistantship. I have been revising some of my older poems and essays in hopes of building a collection to submit to be published!

 

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAIN THEMES OF YOUR WRITING?

 

In my poetry, I write most of my pieces around love, nature and social justice. My most developed piece right now however, is an essay that focuses on the impact and importance of kindness.

 

 

WHY DID YOU WANT TO BE A POET?

 

I don’t think I ever set out to be a poet, I think I more expected myself to write short stories or novels, if anything. Once I gave them both a shot, I found my voice through poetry.

DOES YOUR WORK COMMENT ON CURRENT SOCIAL ISSUES?

 

The social issues I refer to most often are race, gender and the beauty industry. My first published poem was titled ‘mix tape’ and explores the complexity of being mixed race in a community that talks about race on a black and white binary.

 

WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES?

Most of my writings have been influenced by the hurt and challenges Ive endured, however my motivation to keep writing comes from the support of my family and friends.

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE FUTURE?

I would love to be published in a collection in the future. More than anything though, I want to be a mom. I hope to write about my children!

HOW HAS YOUR WORK CHANGED OVER TIME?

I think my writing has become more direct over time. When I first started writing I kept myself at a distance and moved away from diving into anything that would expose my true self. More often now, my writing is much more naked.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE  YOU'VE DONE AND WHY?  

 

I wrote a piece about death and passing that is one of my proudest pieces. This piece feels like my favorite because when I wrote the piece I felt like I was going to be alone in my perspective, or outcast for engaging in conversation around death and I received the opposite reaction.

 

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT AS A POET?

 

My greatest accomplishment as a poet, was when a peer approached me after hearing one of my pieces to request a copy of my writing. It made me feel empowered and important to write something someone else would want to read more than once.

WHAT IS ONE THING NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT YOU?

Not a lot of people know that I am learning to juggle.

 

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT SOME EVENTS THAT HELPED SHAPE WHO YOU ARE AS A POET?

The biggest shaping experiences for my writing have come from my creative writing minor. My writing really began and continued to flourish when I was taking writing classes every day and reading more poetry then I knew what to do with. The poetry that I read and loved, gave me something to work towards.

WHAT ROLE DOES

THE POET HAVE

IN SOCIETY?

Poets play the role of truth teller, I think. Poetry can bring people together by demonstrating the power of reflection and self-exploration.

I think this exchange, telling your truth, is underappreciated. There is much to gain from feeling supported in your existence and poetry can do that.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR HIGH SCHOOL SELF?

 

WRITE! I read an article in Seventeen magazine, that said “good girls keep journals and bad girls hide the evidence." This kept me from writing through some of the harder parts of my experience and I really think writing could have helped me to keep my head above water.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE POEM OR POET?

Mary Oliver Wild Geese and Andrea Gibson Royal Heart

 

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE STUCK ON A POEM?

When I get stuck on a poem I read it out loud, as soon as I do that I can at least find the spot that throws off my rhythm.

 

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