By Samantha Leach
When I was trying to quit smoking
and we drank white wine from Mason jars,
you called my freckles cocoa powder
and I called your green eyes
I am learning how to be a grown-up
and doesn’t cry at words like
I think I just want to be friends.
The truth is this:
Love is an organic thing.
It rots and softens.”
— All That’s Left To Tell, Clementine von Radics
I first discovered the poet Clementine Von Radics on the blog Philo-Sofia. This blog is primarily art and photography but also includes literary excerpts. On the same page as Clementine’s poem was an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote as well as a passage from The Odyssey. While reading her poem, included above, I did not question its inclusion. The poem felt worthy of being read in the same breath of these literary greats. It wasn’t until further research that I discovered that this poem was written by the 21 year old Von Radics who has only been formally writing for two years. I think it’s perfectly fitting that I discovered her work on a blog as Von Radics is a poet of the online generation, using the internet as a platform for her work. In her short career as a writer Von Radics has already started a small press and used it to publish her first book of poetry, As Often As Miracles. I was lucky enough to interview Von Radics and learn more about her creative process.
SL: When did you start writing/ what inspired you to start writing?
CvR: I started keeping a journal when I was 19, and from then on I wrote one or two pages every day for about two years. That was the first real writing I did. I think that was when I started the writing process I still use now: Writing until I knew what I felt about something and had the words to express it. It’s why a lot of my poems seem autobiographical, even when they aren’t. That Joan Didion quote, “I write entirely to figure out what I’m thinking” is something that really resonates with me.
SL: We are currently in a time where society is championing female writers. Just today Alice Munro became a Nobel Laureate. Younger, contemporary writers such as Lena Dunham are gaining attention for autobiographical portrayals of the female experience. How does this inspire/influence you (if it does)?
CvR: I don’t know how much we’re championing female writers right now, but if we are I’m really excited about it. I’m excited anytime people who are usually silenced and marginalized demand their own voice.
SL: Indie publishing is on the rise, what is your role in Where Are You Press? How has your experience been with indie publishing?
CvR: I founded Where Are You Press because I was self-publishing As Often As Miracles, and I thought I might as well pretend I was a real publishing house instead of just me with my laptop in my bedroom. It’s grown a little bit since then, but we’re all still young, new to this, and kind of learning as we go. My business is very much run on a wing and a prayer, which for the time being is exactly what I want.
SL: What are you currently reading?
CvR: I was re-reading Macbeth this morning. I just finished Poetic Scientifica by my friend Leah Noble Davidson.
SL: Do you have anything else in the works?
CvR: I’m working on a second, full- length book of poetry that will be available in December.
SL: Tell me more about your book As Often As Miracles. How long did it take to write? What was your process like?