Youth poets Meghan Romano, Alex Masse, Divyanshi Dash, Peace Akindate, Lu Godfrey and Hailey Orrange are some of the poets that have come together to form the new Flaming Balloon Collective. A youth poetry collective that wants to embrace self-love, forgiveness, queerness and healing through poetry. They share all about their new collective digital anthology Rebirth Party.
An audio of the young poets introducing themselves, can be found on Queer FM, Episode November 24, 2020.
Angelica Poversky: The Flaming Balloon Collective has been undergoing so much growth. Tell me more about where it is headed.
Ella Nguyen: The Flaming Balloon Collective has a lot of potential. Our members are young, brave and artistically energized poets. I have faith in our future as a group and can imagine that our poetry and art will just keep reaching more and more enjoyers, appreciators and lovers.
Meghan Romano: I see The Flaming Balloon Collective as a platform for young artists to publish and perform our work with a name larger than ourselves. I really hope Flaming Balloon grows in members till we become one large, engaged, diverse, and representative body of youth who want to take up space in our communities, and the printed and performance world. We’re all multidisciplinary. What we’ve been able to create together is already amazing.
Lu Godfrey: I imagine the collective will become a place where many more young queer poets can be supported and showcase their work. I love this anthology: the overarching concept, all the poetry within: it’s great! My aspirations have momentarily diverged from writing poetry, and now I am trying to make my own music. Stay tuned!
Peace Akindate I imagine the flaming balloon collective will branch out to include more youths. The collective will be another prominent outlet for youths to raise their voices. Their voices will be filled with art and wonder. The kind of wonder that only happens when youth artists are given an opportunity.
Hailey Orrange: I want The Flaming Balloon Collective to become a continuous project that highlights the work of youth poets, and serves as inspiration for other youth to use poetry as a tool to express themselves and ignite change. I can see many opportunities for mentorship within the press, and hope that we can use this project to continue paving the way forward for young creatives.
Angelica Poversky: Rebirth Party deals with so much personal, political and all things hard and heart. Between making a debut video launch through ArtStarts, chatting audio-poems with Queer FM, and having multiple facilitators come in throughout the workshop process, the mediums and the themes of this anthology are so multi-faceted What do you want to share about the process of creating the Rebirth Party Anthology?
Meghan Romano: The visuals in the anthology are awesome. We’ve done some amazing work in graphic design, photography, a little bit of visual art. As a piece, its beautiful to look at. The work in the anthology is very close to our hearts, including stories of our own healing and transformation. I’m excited to put it out into the world, where our journeys can be felt by others.
Alex Masse: If there’s anything I can say, it’s that there’s so much talent and so much soul in every page of this thing. We’ve got it all: gender, trauma, love, healing… and it’s beautiful. There’re so many poetic souls at work.
Divyanshi Dash: I would love to use this chance to express how I loved coming up with the title for our anthology! It was a fun procedure with all of us suggesting titles that satisfied our gut feeling. The anthology is our baby, full of eye-opening poems. For me, the anthology is a reminder that I can be powerful and kind. The best thing about the process of getting the anthology out is all the people that have relentlessly worked on it.
Ella Nguyen: Rebirth Party is about reconciliation, loving, reclaiming and rebirthing oneself amidst uncertainties into a trusting relationship with one’s past and possible futures.
Peace Akindate; I agreed to come to the workshops and write a few pieces for myself. The first workshop broke my writer’s block with a sledge hammer. It took a community of poets who loved their work to shake me from my self-loathing. The Birthday Party Anthology is not just a collection of poetry but a collection of dreams, inspiration, story, and memories. The book is siping with laughter and finger snaps. Each member grew from each other. That is what makes the collection special.
Hailey Orrange: Just that all the folks involved in the creation of this beautiful anthology have worked hard on our art, and I hope it can be enjoyed by many different readers!
Angelica Poversky: As you worked together for the past few months, I know there were many moments of epiphanies and boundary pushing moments for you. When were you most inspired in writing this anthology?
Meghan Romano: I was definitely most inspired when workshopping my fellow poets’ pieces. Everyone’s work was outstanding and raw. I took their courage with me as I dove deep into my own understanding of healing justice, and wrote only for the sake of telling my story.
Alex Masse: Honestly, every call filled me to the brim with inspiration. There’s something so powerful about sharing a space with your fellow creatives, even virtually.
Divyanshi Dash: After all the workshops were done, I was sitting with my head in hands, and suddenly the words just popped out of me.
Peace Akindate: I was sitting with my family watching Studio Ghibli. My brother and sister were debating about good vs evil, and I was shocked at how grown up they appeared. The pieces that I wrote for the anthology have to do with childhood memories, folklore, and nature. It is a small way I hold on to my siblings innocence and child-like wonder.
Hailey Orrange: Like with all of my writing, I’m always most inspired by other creatives and the art they produce. I find that the ongoing resistance of queer and trans youth and the themes of love and healing to be most influential in my work, and is something thatIhave found a lot of inspiration in while writing for this anthology.
Angelica Poversky: Where are your aspirations taking you next?
Meghan Romano: I aspire to have some of my zines printed, in bookstores, with a Flaming Balloon logo on the back. Maybe just anything, printed, and in a bookstore; that’s been a goal of mine since I was a kid. I hope to delve into the world of self-publishing this year, and have physical proof of what our collective can do between my fingers.
Hailey Orrange: As your standard social-justice minded, passionate, and creative youth, my mind is always looking ahead towards new projects and ideas I want to bring to life. I hope to continue working with The Flaming Balloon Press, as well as continue my very slow journey towards hopefully writing and publishing a book of my own centred around trans love, trauma and healing. Right now, I’ll aim to create time to write, and focus on creating change through art and the power it holds.
Ella Nguyen: I hope to continue writing and building a collection of poetry that I can confidently release one day. I am also an aspiring fiction writer and would love to share that part of me with the world in the far future as well.
Peace Akindate: My next months as the Saskatchewan Youth Poet Laureate will be filled with workshops, poetry filmmaking, and organizing shows. I’m working on creating a video series for aspiring and emerging poets in Saskatoon. My mandate is community and collaborations, and I am not changing anytime soon!
The Rebirth Party, and more information about the newly formed Flaming Balloon Collective is available to be read here on Isssu.