We got to chat with Kayla of Kayla Rose Poetry about her new book Intrusive Thoughts, how she found poetry and her creative process.
Intrusive Thoughts is the second of Rose’s published books. Intrusive Thoughts explores complex ideas of relationships, mental health, sexual assault, and self-growth.
Rose is an extremely creative individual and writer. She is multitalented and inspires us to explore and discover more of ourselves by just creating what we love, even if no one else understands it. Through this interview, her authenticity and dedication to her artistry are obvious.
Rose provides helpful tips to writers experimenting and finding their way, what’s hindered her most and why she shares her words. We know you’ll learn as much as we did from Kayla Rose Poetry.
little infinite: What was the first moment you knew that poetry was going to be the writing style for you? What sparked it for you?
Kayla Rose: I fell in love with poetry and writing as a whole at a really young age. One of my elementary school classes, my teacher started a poetry unit. My ideas just started overflowing and I really enjoyed the creativity behind writing poems. It makes me feel free and, I knew that it was something special for me.
As I got older, I started writing little songs and poems in one of my sketchbooks. It was like a combination of art and writing. But as an adult, what really sparked it for me was me visiting my hometown in New York about three years ago. I was having a moment and I just started writing and I wrote a few poems back to back. I sat there like wow, this felt amazing. I should keep doing this. And then I never stopped.
li: Writing poetry and sharing poetry are two very different things. What made you decide to write AND share your poems?
KR: It’s actually a little funny. I’m a really big fan of Jhene Aiko and she was doing a poetry contest. In order to submit you had to share your poetry on Instagram and use a hashtag she provided. I contemplated doing it for a few days and I eventually showed my sister some of my writing. She encouraged me to enter.
Honestly, sharing my poetry was really nerve-racking. I was so scared to be judged and for people to hate my work… but life is crazy and I actually won the contest. That experience showed me that I have something special, and I shouldn’t let my nerves get in the way of my potential.
Honestly, sharing my poetry was really nerve-racking. I was so scared to be judged and for people to hate my work.Kayla Rose Poetry
li: Which poets and artists have most heavily influenced your work?
KR: I am absolutely in love with Sabrina Benaim. I watch her videos on Button Poetry and cry. She’s just so raw and she makes you feel every single word she says. She’s definitely my favorite poet of all time. I feel like no one compares to her. One day I’ll meet her. I’m just going to put that into the universe and hopefully, it’ll happen. I also love Billie Eilish. I feel like her songs are poetry and she’s such a talented writer and her voice gives you chills. Both of them made me want to make sure everything I write is raw. Even if some people think it’s “too intense”. I want my audience to feel every word I write. I’m giving them a piece of me with each poem I share so I have to make it relatable and emotional. And sometimes I know my writing can be too much for certain people and that’s okay. I just want to be authentically me through my writing.
“I want my audience to feel every word I write. I’m giving them a piece of me with each poem I share so I have to make it relatable and emotional. And sometimes I know my writing can be too much for certain people and that’s okay.”Kayla Rose Poetry
li: Your second book, Intrusive Thoughts, came out in March this year. Congratulations! Can you give us a little insight into Intrusive Thoughts? How did this book come about?
KR: Thank you! Intrusive Thoughts was a hard process and it took about 9 months to write. I wanted to write a book that was about me and the things I’ve gone through and/or felt. I feel like mental health isn’t spoken about enough and I know with my experiences I could help people who read my book. I was diagnosed with PTSD, Generalized Anxiety, and PDD (persistent depressive disorder).
I know, I know, I sound like such a catch haha but in all seriousness, I let such a small part of me dominant who I was for years. So writing this book, I made each experience a chapter. Start to finish I walk everyone through the things I go through on certain occasions. It was therapeutic to speak about the topics I think society is scared to shine a light on. I was just tired of having to hide pieces of me because I was feeding into societal norms rather than being expressive and helping others.
Each poem I wrote was fresh and new. On the left pages of the book, there is a poem and on the right side, there is a spoken word/explanation of the poem. The book is 10 chapters and so many topics are spoken about like anxiety, depression, PTSD, domestic violence, grief, sexuality, sexual assault, love, and so much more. I’m in love with it. Not to toot my own horn but I am in love with the way it came out.
“The book is 10 chapters and so many topics are spoken about like anxiety, depression, PTSD, domestic violence, grief, sexuality, sexual assault, love, and so much more. I’m in love with it. Not to toot my own horn but I am in love with the way it came out. “Kayla Rose Poetry
li: What was it like writing your second book? What was the most surprising aspect of it? What was the hardest?
KR: Writing my second book was really hard because I put a lot of emotion into it. I really ripped myself open and let myself bleed into each page I wrote. That was the hardest thing about writing this book. I had to be so open. I actually wrote like 150 pages and almost deleted everything. I rewrote the book 3 times. I kept feeling like it wasn’t good enough. I changed so many things. I think in the process of writing this book I wrote over 200 poems. I switched out a handful of poems and actually the last month of writing I added an extra chapter. There were only 9 chapters originally.
The entire book is creative in a lot of different ways. The names of the chapters took a while to create. They all are related to something specific. For explain, Violet Rain is about my grandfather who passed away and his favorite color was purple. Rain is related to tears so combining them it’s Violet Rain. In other words, I’m crying for him. The most surprising aspect of writing the book was the response I was getting from friends when I would send them little previews. I wanted to know their genuine thoughts and they loved it. That was reassuring.
“I had to be so open. I actually wrote like 150 pages and almost deleted everything. I rewrote the book 3 times. I kept feeling like it wasn’t good enough. I changed so many things. I think in the process of writing this book I wrote over 200 poems.”Kayla Rose Poetry
li: How is Intrusive Thoughts different from your first book Things I Should’ve Said Out Loud? What were the differences in your creative/writing process for each book?
KR: I know Things I Should’ve Said Out Loud is my first book but, honestly, Intrusive Thoughts is my baby. I feel like it’s my first real piece of work. Things I Should’ve Said Out Loud is very different from Intrusive Thoughts because it lacks deep emotion. It’s a love story I made up and I expressed it through poetry. My actual writing style wasn’t fully developed when I published my first book. Maybe that’s just me being over critical of my first book. People loved it. I got amazing responses from it but to me, Intrusive Thoughts is who I am as a writer. The process for my first book was a lot more simple. I feel like writing poetry about love is a bit easier for me to do because I don’t have to actually feel the words. I can just write.
As for the poems for my second book, it drained me. Sometimes I cried when I read them out loud to myself. There was a lot more thought and emotion put into it. There was a deeper connection to the words.
“As for the poems for my second book, it drained me. Sometimes I cried when I read them out loud to myself. There was a lot more thought and emotion put into it. There was a deeper connection to the words.”Kayla Rose Poetry
li: When you’re working through your creative writing process, which step is the most crucial for you? Which is the most frustrating? What do you do to get un-stuck?
KR: As pretentious as it may sound, I don’t really get stuck when I write. I can write a hand full of poems back to back without a problem. I’m constantly thinking about things to write and going through them in my head over and over. What is frustrating is when I’m driving and I can’t write down something I was thinking. Then I lose it forever and I get so upset about it.
Sometimes, I’ll record myself speaking while I drive then I’ll listen to it later. That helps a lot. The most crucial step for me when I do sit down and write is patience. I let myself just feel the pages and the mood I’m in and I allow myself to just write. I don’t overthink it. I just let go.
“Sometimes, I’ll record myself speaking while I drive then I’ll listen to it later. That helps a lot. The most crucial step for me when I do sit down and write is patience.”Kayla Rose Poetry
li: I know it’s hard to choose just one, but what is your favorite thing about writing poetry?
KR: Expression. That’s always my favorite thing about poetry. I love poetry that makes me cry. I love feeling the poets emotions. I want to physically feel like I am you when I’m reading your experience. I think it’s so amazing that we can experience people through their words.
li: How do you stay true to yourself especially now with social media impacting how poetry lovers discover poetry?
KR: Social media can make me a little insecure because I sometimes compare myself to other poets online. But what I’ve realized is that my audience likes me for me. They enjoy who I am so why should I compare myself to other people? I can create my own path by being authentically me.
li: What are your goals for your poetry this year? Do you have a creative bucket list you’re working toward? What larger impact would you like your art to make?
KR: One of my goals is to share my poetry live. I’m still a little nervous to do that but I need to break out of my shell. I also would literally pass out if Button Poetry discovered my work. That’s one of my goals. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to share my words with them. That would be amazing. My overall creative bucket list is just to keep expanding and to keep growing as a person through my art and poetry.
One of my bigger goals was to expand the representation of Latinx in the art world. My sister and I created an art collective called Dique Art and it’s full of Latinx poets and artists. We want to expand and give our people the opportunity to be great in a safe space. It’s a great way to celebrate our culture and just grow together. Hopefully through that my art and my collectives art, will grow a larger audience and people can really start to enjoy what we’re doing.
“One of my bigger goals was to expand the representation of Latinx in the art world. My sister and I created an art collective called Dique Art and it’s full of Latinx poets and artists.”Kayla Rose Poetry