Natalie N. Caro is a Bronx-born poet and the 2013 recipient of the Bronx Recognizes Its Own Award in Poetry. She holds a B.A. in English Literature and Philosophy from Lehman College/CUNY and an MFA in Poetry from City College/CUNY where she was selected as one of the first recipients of the Creative Writing Fellowship. Sometimes, she swears that school saved her, but then she thinks about colonization of the mind and feels some type of way. Natalie likes to tweet at bars about teeth and trauma. Follow her and her scattered thoughts on twitter @scatteredstanza.
Who is your favorite female identifying written character and why?
I can’t pick one, and so my favorite renegades are Edna Pontellier, Jane Eyre, and Sula. There’s something about the way these women live their lives, a rawness to their experiences in context. They also have this deep connection to the earth. They feel every bit of the world in them, and perhaps it’s because they understand its language that they are so brazen.
What literary work by a female identifying writer had the most effect on you as a writer and/or person?
Nayyirah Waheed’s SALT has pretty much changed the way I view language and my own relationship to it as a reader coming out of the postcolonial condition. Her ability to pack so many ideas and images into a couple of lines of poetry is nothing short of brilliant. Her work is as rich and real as it comes.
How did your work/works in Alyss come about?
Date-Rape emerged out of many discussions. A lot has been said about the under reporting of campus rapes and sexual violence against women, in general; the narrative is, unfortunately, often one-sided. Much of my reading on consent and duress has forced me to come to terms with the reality that young men can be raped too. The conversation, I felt, needed additional voices and perspectives.
What has been your greatest writing life moment so far?
My most memorable writing moment is being anthologized for the first time. I have two poems in the forthcoming Afro-Latino Anthology from the University of Houston Press. Many of the authors I find myself in the company of are pioneers and legends; it’s humbling, to say the least.
What is your favorite piece by another writer from Issue Deux and why?
Making choices is difficult for me, and so I have two poems that stirred me: Almost Someone Coming Home by Alexandra Smyth & Baptism by Jamie Lyn Bruce. In the interest of full disclosure, I took workshops with these two powerhouses, and even then I was a huge fan of their work. They both arrest the reader with a strong sense of place; once they captivate you, they whisper something big and rippling in your heart.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on getting my first chapbook published “Post Modern THOT,” It’s a collection of poetry that deals with trauma of being of being a woman caught in the Male Gaze, or something like that. In the meantime, I’m experimenting with my website/blog: www.natalie-n-caro.com
Who/what is your favorite Alice/Alyss?
At the risk of sounding trite: Alice in Wonderland has always appealed to me—mostly, because her curiosity was always stronger than her apprehension.