L. K. Ingino

I was lucky enough to come across L. K. Ingino’s work just prior to publication when I came on board to do some light editing. She works with horror and haiku… two of my favorite things. I was excited to check out her work.

I wasn’t disappointed. Her work was fresh and spirited and a lot of fun to read. Her haiku are tight and concise with an economy of words that still manage to convey big pictures in small packages.

One of these days I hope to run into L. K. Ingino at one of these conventions (when they return) so we can chat over coffee. Until then, I’m happy to introduce her here.

How long have you been a poet—is it something that came naturally to you as a child or something you decided on later in life?

While I read Shel Silverstein as a child, I didn’t get into poetry until high school. I enjoyed reading before then and read Poe in early high school, but my junior class English teacher had the most influence in sparking my love of poetry. I’m pretty certain most things I wrote then were… not that great, to put it mildly. But she encouraged me to write poetry, and I think she was relieved that at least a few of us took an interest in poetry, despite our lack of skills. Then again, poetry is like any art, a skill that requires building up, and so I very much appreciate her encouragement.

I’m always happy to hear about teachers that inspire students. What kind of poetry do you write, and is it different or the same as the poetry you enjoy reading?

I really enjoy poetry that is deeply mired in metaphor, to the point where the poem is almost a feeling, less than a complete understanding of the piece, with a vague ending that leaves you thinking ‘huh.’

I often feel my own writing comes ‘short’ of that, which I’m hesitant to say because it’s not so much that I think it’s bad, as it is my style tends to just be different than some of my favorite pieces. It’s appreciation of one style, while having a different style myself.

I do enjoy using metaphors, but I feel like I typically use a slightly less nuanced approach. It’s very similar when I write songs. I want to write metal songs, but I end up writing pop-y/melodic pieces. It’s just what comes naturally.

I think it’s important to write from our authentic self. How important is poetry to humanity?

I think it’s just as important as other forms of art, which is to say very important. Art connects us as human beings and allows us to feel empathy, to put ourselves in the shoes of other people.

We can’t have too much empathy! There is a lot of fear, anger, and misunderstanding going on at present. What do you think the role of poetry is today?

I think the role of poetry is to tell stories that help us to connect to other human beings. And sometimes that can be in anger. It’s not always hope and happiness. Though ultimately, I think that if you are reading and relating to something another human being felt, then that goal of connection has been met.

I find poetry is a perfect medium for seeing how truly similar we all are despite racial, sexual, and economic backgrounds – because, maybe I haven’t experienced the same things, or grown-up the same way as someone else, but if what they are feeling comes through, then I can relate to them. I can see them.

We’ve all known sadness, we all understand sadness, reading someone’s sadness from their experience can help us understand their perspective and empathize with them, which ultimately can bring us closer together.

Beautifully put. Where do you hope poetry will take you in the future?

One of my dreams is to get my MFA in poetry. While it’s not necessary to have one to write, it’s just one of those things I’d love to do for myself. I’d like to see my work in literary magazines and am working towards that end. And a larger goal is to run my own poetry magazine, in addition to my spec. fiction work, so, I do too many things, basically.

All worthy goals, and I think you have a good beginning. Please let us know where we can find you and your work.

Right now you can get my haiku book for free at headlessgnomes.com when signing up for my mailing list. I’m working on getting an e-book format as well as paperback, soon! You can also find more poetry and short stories on Medium at https://medium.com/@leannekathleendaniele

By Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is a third-generation Shimanchu-American and award-winning poet, author, and publisher with 20+ years of experience as a professional writer in nonfiction. Publisher of Space & Time magazine (est. 1966), producer of the Exercise Your Writes YouTube podcast, two-time Bram Stoker Awards® Winner, and HWA Mentor of the Year for 2020, find her at angelaysmith.com.

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