Sunday, October 16, 2016

// Zinefest Meets Matchbox - Poetry Zines with Cathy-Ellen Paul //

Wellington Zinefest is hosting a rad workshop series at Matchbox Studios over October/November, leading up to Wellington Zinefest on November 19th! 

Committee member Cathy-Ellen is hosting a poetry workshop on Sunday October 16th. Ellen interviewed Cathy on poetry as a powerful means of self-expression.

  • Tell us a few things you are passionate about? Hello, I’m passionate about writing, performing, astrology, spirituality, and working with young people. I work as a librarian at a school library and I'm very passionate about literature as an invaluable instrument of education. I’m enjoying that a lot at the moment. Being able to witness students discovering their identities at a rapid pace is fascinating and beautiful to watch! I get to represent a safe space for them where they can come to recharge, chat about life and discover great literature. I’m also passionate about diary writing. I write at least once a day and it helps me categorise my swirling thoughts. It's a cathartic practice for me.

  • How did you get into zine making? My girlfriend Ellen went along to Wellington Zinefest in 2014 and was asked to join the Zinefest committee, and I instantly wanted to join in too. I realised that zines would be a really easy and empowering way for me to express myself, with my writing.

  • What kind of zines do you make? I make perzines, largely diary-esque zines, sort of poetic prose [in their style]. Sometimes I make poetry zines. I also made a zine about body hair. What would you even class that as? *awkward silence* Sigh. You are no help to me right now. Let’s move on.

  • When/ why/ how did you become a committee member (tee hee)? At the beginning of 2015 I started to become a committee member and then I quickly picked up the role of publicity and social media. I have been doing that ever since.

  • Any good zine recommendations? Out of all the literary zines last year, Ellen’s were so strong in the field, her’s went beyond a common character limit and really made it into a story. I really admire the strength of Ellen’s work. Those zines were called FAY- Back to the Future Islands (volumes 1 and 2.) Other zines you can look out for...I really appreciate Esme Oliver's zines. There was one about self-diagnosis which helped me diagnose myself with mild depression and anxiety. It was empowering to take the reigns on my mental health and to put a label on it. That made me feel like I was owning and acknowledging it, properly. They also write about different forms of intelligence and how each form should be recognised, which is something I have always believed in. And ableism, which is a very important thing to educate yourself about. Other zines I appreciate- I really loved Nina Powells’ zines, I think she has really tapped into a very lyrical voice with her poetry zines and they’re beautiful.

  • What workshops are you running up to the big event zinefest November 19th 2016?! This Sunday on October 16th I am running a poetry zines workshop called 'How Do I Poetry?' That’s going to be about free form poetry because I don’t really write rhyming poetry. I’m going to talk about how it’s empowering to express yourself in a poetic way and how I believe that if people allowed themselves to, pretty much anyone can write poetry. If the feelings are authentic, and if you write from the heart, raw and unselfconsciously, then that’s going to connect with someone. I don’t believe there are rules around poetry.

  • Got any plugs? Plug them now. I’m part of High Expectations Podcast. It’s a podcast of three women who talk about multifaceted topics. I have a blog that I write for occasionally - I'm a little shy about it but you can read it here - On my blog I talk about grief, astrology and queerness. My twitter is @cathyellenrenee and I often tweet about queerness, being femme, mental health, astrology, literature and relationships.

  • Most importantly, if you were a dog what kind of dog would you be? I think it’s been decided that I’m a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel because they’re are a little bit fussy and need to be pampered. I feel like they would love you endlessly but they also need a little bit of looking after.

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