Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Meet Delaware Author/Poet, Corey Banana

Author/Poet Corey Banana. Photo by Tyler Collins.
A’Nyezah Richards (AKA "Corey Banana") is an author, poet, and model from New Castle, Delaware who began writing at age 13. In 2015, Corey graduated vocational high school and went on to study at Wesley College, majoring in Law and Justice Studies. She completed her first book, Dust On The Record, in 2018 and will soon publish her second book, Vessels.

Delaware Arts Info recently met up for a Q&A with Corey.

How did you come to discover your passion for poetry?

I’ve been writing since I was 13, but my passion for poetry came from reading. Growing up, I read fantasy, sci-fi, romance, philosophy and self-help books. I started out writing short stories, and over time I started exploring poetry. I did research and learned about the styles and voices that poetry can take on. I was drawn to poetry because you can write and almost say exactly how you feel. There isn’t a certain 'way' to write poetry — you just write. For example, in other writing styles, you always capitalize “I” — in poetry, it can be lowercase and no one will question it.

Your first book was entitled, Dust On The Record. Where does that title come from?

Actually, I've never mentioned how the title came about. I’m a huge fan of the English musician King Krule. One day, I was watching an interview of his where he was explaining how feelings can be like dust on a record — sitting and piling up over time — and one day someone will walk on over to the record and blow the dust off. I thought, 'Wow, that’s exactly how I feel.' During the period when I was writing, I wanted someone to save me emotionally, and no one did. I thought to myself, 'Why not just name my book Dust On The Record?' In a way, my book saved me and meant that my vulnerability is normal; that it’s okay to feel things through.

When is Vessels due out? How will it differ from Dust On The Record?

A writer needs time and space to think, feel, smell and eat things inside and outside themselves (and I say this figuratively). To fully digest their next body of work, they need time to just lay things on the table without being rushed. In my opinion, the best artists never rush; they take their time. As a writer, you never want your next story to be like your last; the goal is to always perform better. Vessels will be a larger cultural and artistic conversation. I see it evoking and redefining the relationship of the female narrator. Challenging culture and the artistic community to accept a new genre of romance  subtle nature of love. Questions I’ll be exploring are: Can adultery be heroic? How do identification and possessiveness tie into forgiveness? When one confronts love, will it lead to seductive illusions stemming from childhood? I think romance is a sensitive subject, and everyone has their own perspective, which I believe to be narrow-minded. Vessels will push people to believe love has many layers, and you must love each layer.

What does your new work represent about you, and how has your life changed in the past year?
I knew that I was a different person after Dust On The Record was completed. Looking through the pages, I realized I didn’t speak about romance as much as I wanted. I battle with whether or not I deserve to be in love. That’s an insecurity of mine. Vessels represents me becoming the woman I always dreamed I would be: Nurturing and loving myself more than I have before and actually believing I deserve to be loved or that I’m capable of loving. Examining these feelings changed my life completely because it changed the way I view myself and my relationships with others, both platonically and romantically. My friends and family notice how innocent my energy has become. I am calmer, more relaxed and nurturing now than I have ever been in my life. I’m normally detached and unsocial, so I have to be gentle writing Vessels, I can’t be hard on myself, I just have to write my story the way I feel and see it.

What is your favorite piece from your newest work and why?

I'd say Dance of Salome, and that was pretty hard to choose. Each poem is strong. I always go back to make sure each poem has its own theme, life and instruments. Dance of Salome is about a woman who is emotionally all over the place and afraid of judgment from her partner. In the end, he tells her, “You don’t have to love me; it’s up to you become what you want of you, not of me. I beg you a favour ... just be a woman for me, can you? An irresistible untamed natural woman.” That’s when she surrenders to him. She realizes this man didn’t care if she loved him or not; he just wanted her to be herself. What more can you ask of a man who wants to experience you while you experience yourself? It’s groundbreaking and refreshing.

Do you have any words of wisdom for young/emerging artists and entrepreneurs?

I'd say to go within yourself find what you are naturally great at. Study it, learn it and dedicate your time to that craft. Every true artist had to build from somewhere. It’s not given to us. Don’t get discouraged when you don’t always have the results you want. Push through your failures.

What's next for you? Where can people interact with you next?

Vessels is my main priority, I do have plans to write my first science fiction novel after Vessels is finished. I’ve been somewhat writing for that as well. It is a sensitive time for me right now because I am writing for Vessels, but once the project is completed, I'll have a book-signing event and hopefully a speaking tour as well. It will all unfold under the universe's timing. I just have to keep writing. My name is BeneathTheMooon on Instagram and tumblr, I get on every now and then to tease people with new writing of mine, get their opinions on romance and ask how they feel about the literature world. They may not believe it, but I’m more interested in their perspectives than my own. It’s refreshing to see how others think...and of course how many people actually read books!

What are your long-term goals as an artist?

My long term-goal is to constantly and constructively nurture myself with knowledge and love. I depend on those two things for my well-being and to write. I always look forward to the end of the year to reflect back on my skill and character. I always ask myself, "Did I take enough risks? Did I challenge myself enough? Who was I around a lot? Did I make new friends? Did I discover a new city or country?"


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