A thoughtful interview with poet Miriam Navarro Prieto. She talks about her poem 'I Dare You' as trying "to merge a literal request for nudes with a demand of a maybe braver act: opening up emotionally, being vulnerable enough to be loved."
What inspired you to write ‘I Dare You’?
When I find appealing open calls, I use them as writing prompts, and Sending Nudes did sound appealing; it inspired me to explore a topic I never did before, at least through poetry. For this open call, I worked on different pieces from different approaches: from the autobiographical retelling of literally sending and receiving nudes, to the more metaphoric angle of 'I Dare You'. With this poem I tried to merge a literal request for nudes with a demand of a maybe braver act: opening up emotionally, being vulnerable enough to be loved.
Your poem holds a lot of rawness, and touches on the vulnerability someone feels when they send a nude. It punctures the superficial and goes deeper. What are your thoughts about this quote from Milan Kundera: “Nudity is the uniform of the other side... nudity is a shroud.”
It may point to a notion of physical nudity as “not enough”; maybe we need to take off more than our clothes to be truly vulnerable. But I also think deliberately exposing our body can in itself be an act of empowerment through vulnerability, or even defiance.
Your bio says you are a Spanish artist who drifted from performance art to drawing, currently focused on writing poems and short stories on autobiography, ecology, gender and queerness. Tell us when you started writing in English, and which language you prefer?
I started writing poetry during a six-month stay in Southampton: I was working on other mediums and themes, but felt the need to share my thoughts on the culture shock I was experiencing. While attending an open mic at The Art House Café as an audience member, I got the strange urge to be on the other side. Next time that venue announced an open mic, I put pen to paper, almost sleepwalker-like, and wrote a poem for the first time, to read it on stage a few days later. Given the context, it made sense to do so in English. I wouldn’t say I prefer writing in Spanish, but it makes me feel less restricted since it’s my mother tongue and my vocabulary is more thorough.
Do you ever write in Spanish and then translate to English?
Yes, I do. Depending on the intended outcome I write in one language or another, and then translate if necessary or interesting, trying to make the most of each one’s different nuances. I look for opportunities indistinctly and write in the language needed, but I wrote my first poetry collection in Spanish before translating it to English. I’m planning on doing the same thing for my next collection, which is in the works, by the way! Since my thought process is different depending on the language I’m writing on, I feel like my knowledge of two of them doubles the possibilities of expressing myself creatively.
What is your creative process like?
I guess this comes with a long history inside the academic system, but I work better when I have deadlines and some restrictions, so I incite myself with prompts and open calls, and I limit poetry collections to (maybe broad) themes. I read as much as I can, including poetry and fiction, but also non-fiction about literature, ecology, queer theory... From social issues to music, from personal experiences to a chicory flower growing on the side of the road, I try to stay permeable and reactive to the world around and inside me. I let all of that settle and ferment inside so I can explore it through different mediums, lately mainly through writing.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Queer. Ecologist. Killjoy.
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Sending Nudes is an intimate collection of fiction, nonfiction and poetry about why people send nudes. Release date is 15 January 2021. To pre-order from Guts visit: gutspublishing.com/sending-nudes. It's also available on Amazon worldwide. Click here to pre-order from Amazon Spain, Amazon UK and Amazon US.
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Miriam Navarro Prieto (she/her) is Spanish artist who drifted from performance art to drawing, currently is mainly focused on writing poems and short stories on autobiography, ecology, gender and queerness. Her first self-published poetry chapbook is titled Todo está vivo, also available in English as Everything Is Alive. Her poetry in English has been featured in journals like Ayaskala and Capsule Stories. She sends out a bilingual newsletter twice a month on her creative process, plants and translated poetry: https://tinyletter.com/miriam-navarro-prieto.