Women Writers We Love: Ehlayna Napolitano

We have a very special interview this week with our own associate editor, Ehlayna Napolitano!  Her chapbook, penelope in the morning, was released earlier this year.  Find out a little more about Ehlayna including what inspires her, what she’s been reading lately and more!

E.Napolitano Headshot

What inspires you the most? 

What inspires me the most is the experience of personhood and the vulnerability that is necessarily attached to it. I am fortunate to have a group of friends who are joyously, beautifully, generously open and vulnerable with their emotions, their experiences, and their love. They have been a huge source of inspiration for me. Trying to figure out what being a person means, and how to do it, for myself, and attempting to give language to feelings that are not simply categorized, is what inspires me to keep going. Mostly because it’s weird! It’s weird to be a person, and sometimes I can only navigate that in poetry.

Who are your favorite women writers?

At the moment, I’ve been reading Maggie Nelson’s work, which has quickly become some of my favorite work I’ve ever read. I also really enjoyed Liz Bowen’s, “Sugarblood.” It’s hard to pick just one or two favorites, though! These are just the ones I’ve read most recently.

What does your writing process look like?  

I don’t write every day. I usually try to write at least once a week, but there are times I’ll sit down and immediately have three poems down on paper, and some days I’ll feel something start to take shape in my mind, but won’t be able to get more than a few words down. I try to let the writing come out in its own time.

What advice do you have for fellow women writers?

I don’t feel like I’m in a position to give anyone advice, so this is a tough question. I’m still figuring out what my own process is, what my voice is, what art I want to make. I’m still new to the game!

So, I suppose my advice to them would be the reminder I try to give myself when I’m writing: don’t be afraid to give all your ideas to a single piece of work. There will be more ideas, and your drive to write won’t disappear. You can lay it all out on the table and still come back to it the next day.

What are you currently working on? 

Right now, I’m trying to focus on creating more and submitting more frequently. I have a few larger project ideas that are long-term goals, but in the short-term, I’m just trying to write more and focus on improvement over anything else.

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