PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY YOU SHOULD KNOW: Yaddyra Peralta – Lady Wordslinger
Who are you?
I am a poet-writer, a member of the Miami Poetry Collective and am currently working on my MFA thesis in fiction at FIU. I am also a daughter, a sister, a Mommy to a dog.
What do you do in real life?
I tutor, and mentor other tutors, at a learning center. It pays the bills but the kids really speak to my whimsical side.
What’s with the poetry on the fly?
The Poem Depot is the Miami Poetry Collective’s signature project. It consists of a handful of our members setting up a table with manual typewriters and writing poetry, on the spot, made-to-order for a minimum donation of two dollars. The theme or form is totally up to the consumer. It started out on a street corner in Wynwood during their Second Saturday art walk over a year ago, but we’ve set up Depots at Miami Art Museum, the Wolfsonian, and done events for Tigertail. We are even setting up shop at Sundance in 2011 . . .
Who came up with it?
The legend, or my version of it, is that Campbell McGrath got tired of FIU poets complaining about the lack of a literary community, for young poets especially, in Miami. He declared a hang-out night at Zeke’s Roadhouse the first official meeting of the Miami Poetry Collective. Since then the Collective, which numbers about twenty-something members, has been a fireball of enthusiasm that refuses to flame out.
What Inspires you?
First and foremost music. I am a compulsive daydreamer and whatever past, future or speculative headspace I need to be in, music helps me get there. Right now, Scott Walker and Jonny Greenwood’s high-strung soundtrack music is definitely helping out with the novel I am working on.
After that, poets, and in particular Miami poets I have the absolute privilege to be able to hear and read on a regular basis.
What excites you most about what you do?
Oh God, where do I start? I think the main thing is simply that poetry and fiction allow me to continue to be the kid who walked around the house singing non-sense rhymes. I love words for their sounds, their shapes. Sometimes when put together into lines, words can leave you, as Dean Young has said, “stunned, singed.” Rick Slick, Wu-Tang, James Tate, John Keats—when done right it’s music, is all.
And this unbroken thread from childhood to whateverhood that I am experiencing now will, I think, help to stave off a mid-life crisis.
What kind of reactions do you get from people?
At poetry readings I think audience laughter is a common reaction to my work. I don’t know plan it. I don’t know what it is and I don’t want to know what it is or else I’ll ruin it.
At Poem Depots, a majority of patrons ordering poems are absolutely surprised that something like the phrase “My beloved Chihuahua Chico” is enough information needed to inspire a poem, from a complete stranger, that is emotive and almost corporeal to that reader.
Personally? Being tipsy enough to tell the poet Sharon Olds that she was a goddess. As soon as those fanboy left my lilps, I was embarrassed. But she was generous enough to stop and squeeze my hand for a long and heartfelt thank you.
How would you describe your personal style?
Right now, Bob Dylan circa 1966; the afro-bedhead will be so 2011. Trust me.
What do you do now, that you did not do 5 years ago?
Revise. But I have found it is easier to do with art than it is with life, so why not?
What dream have you had that you have accomplished?
Finding a community of poets, writers and artists. In Miami!
If you had to move to a deserted island what 2 items would you take?
I would say pen and paper but that would leave out my iPod and music I cannot live without. So, iPod and a Sharpie. I would then just write haikus on tree trunks, palm fronds and my own sunburnt skin.
Something new, that you have just discovered about yourself?
Gratitude, hidden inconspicuously in my left hand shirt or jacket pocket at all times can carry me through even the worst of days.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Gossip websites. Gawker, New York magazine’s Vulture. I love witty snark despite the fact that my mother raised me to be quite polite.
One luxury that you cannot live without?
My smartphone. Sadly. But it does do everything for me except write.
Three Words to describe you?
Nonsensical, sleepless. And enigmatic. My boyfriend Chris came up with the last one. – Photo by MagicalPhotos.com/Mitchell Zachs