We’re celebrating National Poetry Month with the inspiring Leigh Stein

April is National Poetry Month, so to celebrate we’re spotlighting an awesome female poet! Leigh Stein was born in Chicago in 1984, and grew up in the suburbs. She’s the author of many essays, poems, and books including her novel The Fallback Plan and poem The Reckoning. In her Tumblr bio, she cites Anne Frank, Gilda Radner, and Sylvia Plath as her three main influences. Also among her work is the founding of BinderCon, a convention supporting female and non-gender conforming young writers, which is kick-butt as it is. But to be a poet in addition to all of that is amazing!

From what I’ve read, Leigh’s poetry style is modern and free flowing. It’s blunt and emotionally raw, like she isn’t afraid to put everything on the table. Her words all carry meaning and have a purpose. Her strong support for gender equality enriches her writing and adds to her unique voice. Leigh’s writing appears fearless and free, and to be able to convey that is a truly cool thing. I asked her a few questions on poetry and feminism, and here’s what she had to say:

HG: How long have you been writing poetry and when were you sure you wanted to make writing a career?

LS: I started writing poems when I was 13, and I decided to become a writer when I was 19. (It had never occurred to me before that; originally I wanted to be an actress!)

HG: You have contributed greatly to the feminist movement, even starting a convention to support female and gender non-conforming writers. How does this influence your writing?

LS: It blows my mind that in the 21st century the white male experience is still considered the default. I want to amplify the voices of women writing their own experiences. Women are not a minority, and yet in the history of literary arts, we so often were. I’ve always been drawn to writing the book that didn’t already exist when I needed it. First, that was a novel about a funny and depressed young woman living at home with her parents; now it’s a memoir about loving and losing an ex-boyfriend who wasn’t always good to me.

HG: What advice would you give to young women aspiring to be poets?

LS: Read a lot. Find models you can aspire to, and also look for work that blows the top off your head, shows you what you didn’t think you could get away with. If someone hurts you, get revenge by writing a f***ing great poem about it.

Happy National Poetry Month, Gigglers!

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