Garden of Ravens by Krystal Jane Ruin: An Interview

Today, we have a guest on the blog—Krystal Jane Ruin, author of the poetry collection Garden of Ravens. Look at that cover! Krystal is, of course, a dear writing friend and frequent visitor of this blog. 

1. How long have you been writing poetry and what made you decide to take that poetry put it into a collection?The oldest poems I have are from when I was around eleven. It’s really fun (i.e. cringey) and angsty kind of poetry that I wrote about a couple of celebrities and one regular dude that I had a crush on. I still have some of them, and they’re hilarious. And buried in a drawer. After all these years, I had so much lying around, I thought it would be fun to gather some into a collection. I like to read them sometimes, and it’s motivating me to do a better job of keeping up what I write.

2. I imagine the selection or editing of poems is different from editing prose. How was it different?
The biggest difference for me starts with how they’re written. With poetry, it usually starts with a specific mood or theme I want to play around with, like when I’m writing poems for my books, or there are some feelings I want to get out. I either like it when I’m done or I don’t. I’m mostly trying to convey a singular thought in a way that makes sense to me and means something to me, so that when I read it later, it comes with memories and such, and I’m not staring at it and wondering what the hell I was thinking. I feel like it’s easier than editing a story, because I don’t have to take an entire book into consideration with every editing choice I make.

3. You divided the poems into different “gardens.” I thought it was a neat way to organize the collection. How long did it take you to figure out how you wanted to organize it?
Too long. Lol! But I had a lot of fun with this. I couldn’t read over even the first draft without giving myself a bit of whiplash with the changes in mood, so I definitely wanted to section things off. Some of the early section titles are funny. I had things like “Dream Graveyard” and “Do I Know You From Somewhere.” I decided to go with different gardens once I had the title. When I was happy with the number of poems, I pulled everything from the single document into seven separate documents. Then I deleted everything and did it again from scratch. Then I moved everything back into a single document. Honestly, each stage, from compiling to organizing to editing, took several hours. I pulled more all-nighters with this than any book I’ve ever edited. Time moves fast when you’re having fun. 🙂

4. I don’t read poetry very often. What are some tips or recommendations you have for poetry-reading novices? What do you look for in poetry?That’s interesting. Usually when I pick up poetry I’m drawn to its theme. Like Edgar Allan Poe wrote a lot of dark and lamenting kind of emotional verses that I love. His poetry is the reason why I like poetry. We had this assignment in my 7th grade Reading class where we had to put together a collection of 100 poems, and I was so in love with his work. So, I guess it starts with the kind of theme or mood that you like. Some people like empowerment themes. Some people like the flowery kind of aesthetic popular with Shakespeare and Lord Bryon, which I sometimes like too. We tend to find what we like by reading different things and seeing what stays with us and what doesn’t. Probably similar to how we find other genres we like.

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