“I wish someone told me when I was younger that it was possible. Most people treat/ed this like a hobby and not like a career option.”
Winona and Winthrop (New School Poetics, 2014)
What are some of your favorite chapbooks? Or what are some chapbooks that have influenced your writing?
After – Fatimah Asghar / Black Movie – Danez Smith / When the Ghost Come Ashore – Jacqui Germaine
What might these favorite or influential chapbooks suggest about you and your writing?
While I try to engage in artist outside of my friend group I am often most inspired by people who I can call family. I try and surround myself with people who have a strong work ethic and deep love for the craft. Often those people are marginalized in one way or the other in traditional scholarly literature so it’s beautiful to watch them transcend academia as well as societal expectations.
What’s your chapbook about?
Winona and Winthrop is about Black boys and Black violence in Chicago. It’s an open apology to my brother for the ways in which I used to and society treats him.
What’s the oldest piece in your chapbook? Or can you name one poem that catalyzed or inspired the rest of the chapbook? What do you remember about writing it?
“Reverend’s Son. Alderman’s Granddaughter.” was the jumping point for the entire book. A childhood friend of mine that grew up in the streets but found his way to academia died. His death made me revisit a lot of memories I had buried about my childhood and community. When I first presented the poem for edits to my cohort at Young Chicago Authors is was so vague and caused me to have to explain so many backstories that I scrapped the chapbook I was working on at the time to start this one.
How did you decide on the title of your chapbook?
Winona and Winthrop is an intersection in my neighborhood where everyone hung out. After doing some research I found out Winona is Sioux for first daughter, which I am.
What was the final poem you wrote or significantly revised for the chapbook, and how did that affect your sense that the chapbook was complete?
“I Tried to Write More” was the final poem because I had been struggling to talk about my estranged father and what a man’s absence can do to a child.
What are you working on now?
I am working on a full manuscript and a coffee table book.
If you could choose another artistic path (painting, music, dance, etc.) what would it be and why?
I love crafting, which I am sure a lot of people wouldn’t consider an artistic path. But often in my spare time I throw self love events for women and we craft and heal together. If there was a way i could make that into a business practice i would totally do so.
What do you wish you had been told as a writer? What wisdom have you arrived at?
I wish someone told me when I was younger that it was possible. Most people treat/ed this like a hobby and not like a career option.
Britteney Black Rose Kapri is a teaching artist, writer, performance poet and playwright based out of Chicago. A former ensemble member and teaching artist for the Hip Hop Theater nonprofit Kuumba Lynx. Currently she is an alumna turned teaching artist of Young Chicago Authors. Her first chapbook titled “Winona and Winthrop” was published in June of 2014 through New School Poetics. She has also been published in Poetry Magazine, Vinyl, Day One, Seven Scribes and Kinfolks Quarterly. She is a 2015 Rona Jaffe Writers Award Recipient.