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Meet Olivia Hales (issue 04 Contributor)

SR: Could you give us a quick introduction to yourself?

My name is Olivia, and I'm fifteen. Originally, I'm from the UK but I live in central Italy. Previously I’ve been published in Clementine Zine, The Raven’s Muse and, of course, in WRITIE POET. I am an editor and staff writer at the online literary magazine Adolescence. This is the more serious introduction but on a more frivolous note; I love reading, my cats, coffee, films set in autumn, The Smiths and obviously writing.

SR: What does poetry mean to you?

Writing poetry to me is not just verses, metaphors, alliteration, line breaks, iambic pentameter and so forth but it's a complete change of mindset. The mundane can now be beautiful or even tragic, anything can be symbolic of something else. With writing we are able to reveal parts of ourselves we can't normally access because the truest forms of writing are so intrinsically tied to who we are as a person. To me, everything (so even life itself) is poetry.

SR: Are there any authors or poets who inspired you to write? (doesn’t have to be an author or a poet, could be your family members, friends, etc)

The person that most inspired me to write is probably Dakota Warren, she is an Australian poet and youtuber. When I found her account she was (and still is) so inspiring, constantly encouraging people to read and write. I had the luck of finding her just as I was developing an interest in writing, completely self-inspired, but she really helped in furthering my interest. I would definitely say that my favourite author is Oscar Wilde. I wouldn't necessarily consider him an inspiration but his writing shaped who I am today so I am very grateful to him and his works.

SR: What advice do you have for young poets who’ve just started their publication journey?

My first piece of advice would be to work on a disorganised-organised mess, by this I mean to always write. Everywhere, anywhere; napkins, old notebooks, school textbooks, pieces of paper, notes app, the Google Doc that was supposed to be organised but isn't. Don't let your environment hold you back. When this writing is done, however important you think it may be, whether it be an entire sonnet or a vague idea for a novel, keep a log of all of your work; poems, novels, short stories and even one off quotes, ideas, ecc in a folder. I would recommend a digital space, since literary magazines work online, have a Google Doc or a Notion page (or anything you prefer) that has a list of all your work. Since I mostly write poetry I divide it by type, length, theme of the poem. Then I have a separate section for ideas and quotes that I tend to forget after 24 hours so it's vital I write them down. This way when you want to submit a piece it makes it a thousand times easier to find it and it makes it impossible to forget any ideas of value. In the same vein, I would recommend keeping a spreadsheet of all the places you will or have submitted to, this process can already be messy and confusing so it's important your work space reflects the ideal outcome of your goals. Follow on Instagram all the literary magazines you can find so you always know when submissions are opening/closing ecc. The website Chill Subs can be a great resource. And finally, I'll let the idealistic (slightly optimistic) side of me prevail, remember that rejection is redirection. You will get rejected and that's okay; poems I wrote that were rejected from one place got published in another. Enjoy the process and don't stress about the outcome too much or you'll drive yourself crazy.

SR: What are your future plans as a writer?

As mentioned previously, I am only fifteen, so I can't fully respond to this question. I know I want to go to university to study humanities, possibly writing. I've always dreamed about a poetry collection in my name but we'll see what happens. So, instead of leaving this reply devoid of any real answer, I’ll quote Oscar Wilde; “If you want to be a grocer, or a general, or a politician, or a judge, you will invariably become it; that is your punishment. If you never know what you want to be, if you live what some might call the dynamic life but what I will call the artistic life, if each day you are unsure of who you are and what you know you will never become anything, and that is your reward.”


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