Poet Interview Series: Azariah Coppin
In this weeks author interview series, we would like to introduce you to the very talented poet, actor and playwright, Azariah Coppin, from Baltimore Maryland. Azariah, whose family is originally from the beautiful island of Barbados was a state champion in Oral Interpretation at NYU and has since discovered his love for poetry. He has recently volunteered in Myanmar, which has inspired his poetry collection “On Kinesthetic & Auditory Feelings” which is launching this fall. Don’t miss out to preorder this incredible collection of 39 poems here.
Read the full interview for more insights from this incredible rising artist.
Where do you come from and how does it influence your writing?
I’m from Baltimore, Maryland. I went to NYU for theatre and my influences are varied. My family is from Barbados, so a lot of my culture is inherently West-Indian, very Caribbean. Bajans (at least in my own family) talk in a poised yet broken manner, and I’ve started to explore those inflections in how I write.
When did you first become passionate about poetryand what attracted you to it?
I was a Forensics (Speech & Debate) State Champion in Oral Interpretation, which includes poetry performance. I learned a lot from my coach and I started reading poets like Shane Koyczan, and this really cool poetry collection called Bandana Republic.
What inspires you to write?
Usually boredom. Which is great, because it means I have the opportunity to write. In my chapbook, volunteering in Myanmar was so defining for me as an experience that I wanted to use poetry to hold onto those memories.
Who is your favorite Poet and why?
I’ve just recently started reading Ada Limón and Danez Smith’s work. Both are unapologetic and there’s a gracefulness in their phrasing and language usage that inspires me.
Tell us about your upcoming poetry book.
It’s a collection of 39 poems, detailing my experience working as a Volunteer English Teacher in Myanmar. It’s very of the moment, and tries to make sense of my presence juxtaposed with the realties of a new culture and environment that is seemingly so dissimilar from my own.
Can you tell us a little about your writing process? How do you come up with poems and how do you edit them?
I write on my phone. Mostly. I edit with time. I just keep coming back to it until anymore editing- I feel would damage it.
Do you support yourself through writing financially, or do you have a day job and what is it?
I’m also an actor and playwright. Though my day job as a social worker keeps me fed, for now.
How many hours a day do you spend writing and what helps you to get into the writing mood?
It depends. It relies on the mood I’m in. As long as the time spent is meaningful, I feel accomplished in my writing. Some days that’s 20 minutes. Sometimes if I’m lucky, it can be the whole day.
What’s the best moment you’ve had with your poetry so far?
Sharing it in general. People love poetry, even if they don’t know it yet.
How do you respond to writer’s block or not knowing what to write?
I take a break. It happens.
What are you working on next?
I have a one act play being staged in mid-August called, Setting: Teachers’ Lounge, and I’m working on another play about three couples who live in a boarding house.
Where would you like to see yourself in three years time.
Having representation. Which means help. Writing more responsively, as a means to support myself and my creativity.
What advice would you give young poets just starting out?
I’m also a young poet just starting out, so I tend to just look at other poets and admire from afar and strive to be recognized in a similar light.
Do you think poetry has a greater purpose?
Definitely. Poetry allows us poets to find a greater purpose in everything and everyone. We’re all connected, in some shape, way, or form.