We had the honor of working with Chase, the first feature of our newest series, Dreamers & Seekers. This series is strictly about all creatives executing the things they love. The things they dream of at night and seek throughout their days. We couldn’t have been any more honored to have Chase Woodson, one of the kindest souls one person could meet, start us off!
Ahead is a brief interview & voice over of Chase’s poem, Two Years Later (In Five Parts).
1. Give a brief over view of yourself.
I’m Chase Woodson and I’m 19 (almost 20, which I’m honestly dreading—teenagerhood has been the worst in the best way, there’s something so poetic and cathartic about all that angst). I am living in Asheville, my hometown, and am preparing to start at UNCA in three days! That’s where I am in the literal sense of the word; figuratively, however, things are less clear. So I guess where I plan to go from here is somewhere where I have things a little more figured out, literally and figuratively. That’s so vague, I think because I’m trying to practice living in the present more. Lofty goal, but worth it so far.
2. What made you start writing?
Way back in middle school I decided I wanted to be a neuroscientist. I focused all of my energy on math and science and all of those left brain things. In high school, it became evident that those weren’t my real interests. Not politely evident though. It was more of a dramatic, very teenager-esque, kicking and screaming kind of moment when I realized I wasn’t supposed to be doing what I planned on doing. I realized I needed to create in order to survive. That went against everything I had ever thought about myself. I was really lucky in that I had a phenomenal teacher who helped me to feel supported in that transition. She was also the youth poetry coach, and encouraged me to give poetry a shot. All of my early writing is cringe-worthy. So embarrassingly bad. She stuck with me, however, helping me to become more confident over time. I owe a lot to her.
3. What is poetry to you?
So many things… I can’t think of an easy answer. I remember when I first started writing, my lines of poetry read and looked more like sentences and my poems were very narrative based. I had to work really hard at form and structure. Now, when I go to write anything, it comes out in lines instead of sentences. I write without filler words in attempt to rid poems of any words that don’t do anything for the piece. That’s not to say I don’t need to edit my poems anymore, or that I can just wax poetic everytime I sit down with pen and paper. I just mean that the way I write poetry has changed so much, and along with that change in form has come an evolution in what poetry means to me. Whereas once it was a solely cathartic experience, it is now pretty entwined with my being. However, one constant in every poem I’ve written is honesty. So if I had to answer this question in one word (quite the opposite of all the rambling I’ve done), it would be honesty.
4. How has poetry shaped your life?
It’s funny, poetry has kind of done the opposite. It took my life, which I always believed to be sort of a very wide, thin, rectangular shape, and tore it into a thousand polygons. By this I mean poetry has allowed me a freedom of thought and creativity that I never knew I wanted for myself. Now that I have it, though, I know I’ll never think in straight lines again.
5. What have you learned from poetry?
I learn something new about myself with each poem I write. The untitled documents littered throughout my computer map out my own self-discovery in a lot of ways. That’s kind of why the piece I wrote is organized the way it is. I wrote each poem separately and sometimes months apart from one another. It wasn’t until I was reading back over old documents for inspiration that I pieced the five poems together to form a progression.
The most important thing I’ve learned, however, is the need for the personal to be political. The person I was before I started writing was incredibly self-centered. I did not spend much time thinking critically about the world. Reading and writing poetry has made me a much more politically minded person. I believe all art should be activism in some way, especially now.
Hear Chase’s poem below.