Lauren Eden is the author of Of YesterYear, Atlantis and The Lioness Awakens. Today she’s teaching the li Tribe how to find their roar.
We got to chat with Lauren Eden of @ofyesteryear about her Australian influences, what inspires her to write fearlessly (hint: it’s commendable af), and what poetry for life means to her.
Eden is an Australian poet, writer, and creative who has cultivated a social media community of over 187,000 fans. Her language will ignite and empower you in more ways than one. Whether you’re getting over a heartbreak, strengthening your relationship with yourself, or are simply going through anything in life, her poetry is for you. Prepare for a new outlook after this interview; we certainly got one.
little infinite: When did you know poetry would be the writing outlet for you? What there a magic moment when you fell in love with this form? Introduce us to your journey to poetry and how you got to where you are currently.
Lauren Eden: I started writing poetry when I was fourteen after watching a TV show featuring a panel of writers. One of the writer’s had this passion for writing that was particularly ruthless, and I found it intoxicating. This writer vowed to share her stories, even if it meant her own family would never speak to her again, and being a typical rebellious teenager, I vowed to do the same. Writing songs came naturally to me first, and that led to poems. But it wasn’t until I was 16 and enrolled in Literature that my love and knowledge of poetry really developed. I never liked school, but I can tell you that walking into that classroom for the first time felt like I’d just entered a portal into nerdy paradise.
li: You are the author of Of YesterYear, Atlantis and The Lioness Awakens. Congratulations on your success! What is the biggest difference between these books? How did the creative process differ writing your last book versus your first?
LE: Of Yesteryear was my debut self-published poetry collection. I had amassed about 30 thousand followers at that point and delivered to the demand of a book. It is a collection of love and self-discovery. With Atlantis, I took the process a lot more seriously. I love storytelling in poetry. Narrative poetry chapbooks like Rapture by Carol Ann Duffy and Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds inspired my vision of Atlantis and follows a similar narrative journey. Atlantis is incredibly dear to me. It follows a woman’s tale of domestic malaise and the dismantling of the fairytale, which is an incredibly poignant and necessary rite of passage to a woman’s freedom. The Lioness Awakens was published by Macmillan and it is my roar. It is told in four parts, from Prey to Pride, and it is a painful but kick-arse feminist book to empower and celebrate women. If you’re not feeling your own roar vibrating in your solar plexus after reading it, then I’m not sure what will.
li: We see poets raise their voices from all over the world. How do you find your Australian roots influencing your poetry? How would you describe the Australian poetry scene for readers around the world?
LE: I wouldn’t say my confessional style of poetry is uniquely Australian by any means, but I do adore, as an example, Dorothy Porter’s very Aussie voice in her poetry. You read her and know almost immediately that she is Australian. In saying that however, it did break my heart a little when The Lioness Awakens had all of its spelling Americanised! I was perhaps more protective of my Australian roots than I realized. Similar to other places around the world we have writer festivals, journals, poetry readings. Melbourne is known for its fostering of creativity. Beau Taplin is another talented writer from Melbourne who catapulted his writing career from Instagram.
li: The language in your writing has a strong sense of empowerment. What motivates you to write fearlessly?
LE: Women. In particular, women who have survived abuse in one way or another. Abuse thrives in silence. I hope to be the voice for women who didn’t have one, for women who haven’t yet found theirs, and for women who have trouble articulating how they feel. I enjoy being that bridge. That place-card. That reference. That springboard.
“Abuse thrives in silence. I hope to be the voice for women who didn’t have one, for women who haven’t yet found theirs, and for women who have trouble articulating how they feel.”– Lauren Eden, @ofyesteryear
li: What is your creative process like? Do you stay structured with a schedule or more flexible? Walk us through your workflow.
LE: I try very hard to be structured with my writing, but creativity runs on its own damn time. I try to create 90-minute blocks in my day to maximize productivity. I know pretty quickly if my words are going to flow or not flow. I rarely push it anymore. I just save it for the days when it’s pouring out of me. Poetry runs on emotion mostly and I wish I could be more business-like about it but art and business is an intercept that mostly eludes me.
li: You have created a community on Instagram of over 187 thousand people. What is your best piece of advice for an up-and-coming writer who is taking the step to share their poetry on social media?
LE: There is so much content out there. And a lot of same-same. I sense that we are moving into content fatigue with writing accounts because of this. The only thing that’s going to stand out now is difference. I’d love to see stronger voices, more confessional poetry and more edge. Don’t sound like a meme. Don’t speak for and to everybody. Even though it can be tempting because it will likely generate likes. I’d love to see more story-telling. Also, I’d recommend following the big poetry sharing accounts and tag them. Being featured can rake in a lot of new followers.
li: What types of poems do you find spark discussion most on your posts? What topics do you find your audience responds strongest to?
LE: My feminist poems certainly garner the most attention and elicit the strongest responses. Suddenly a lot of male readers come out of the woodwork. I share my own experiences, so feminist poems will often be accused of man-hating or not being gender-inclusive or sexist, but I write confessional poetry. It’s my experiences. My truth. I always say, “My poems, my pronouns.” I love when readers share their thoughts and experiences, but it is very apparent the ones who are simply reacting from a trigger or a wounded ego. I usually don’t pay these much mind because I feel I would be interrupting an important conversation they are needing to have with themselves.
li: What artists or poets influenced you most throughout your writing journey? Why?
LE: Mid-century poets like Sylvia Plath, Ted Hughes, and Anne Sexton are my favorites. Their minds were just insanely brilliant, although they often make me never want to pick up a pen again. Erica Jong is a lot of fun. I love her new-wave tongue-in-cheek feminism and her provocative style that always inspires. Dorothy Porter makes me gasp with her quick stabs of realism, inspiring me to balance the dreaminess of poetry with crass language and honest imagery. Louise Gluck is another. Carol Ann Duffy. Sharon Olds. There is no excuse to read terrible poetry. I want to be wowed. I love to be intimidated by brilliance, so that is why I fill my bookshelves with only the best.
li: Poetry for Life can hold sentiment in various aspects, which is why we love it. What does Poetry for Life mean to you?
LE: Poetry for Life to me means having a forever love affair with the form of poetry and a forever commitment to self-expression. I will always write regardless of whether I will always share it. I love making books and I love being satisfied enough with a poem to share it, but it is all about the creative process for me. Creativity connects you to the life-force. Creativity connects you to you. Now that is a long-term investment in ourselves that we are all worth.