Looking at theatrical scripts of plays and musicals and working with everyone connected with Summerville theater is what readers and others know of Courtney Bates, the executive director of the Flowertown Players. Recently, I found out that she is also a writer. Bates recently released her first book of poetry entitled, Blunt Tongue.
Below is my interview with her.
For More Information, go to https://www.facebook.com/courtney.batesdaniel
Regan: This is your 1st book, correct – of poetry? How did it come about? Have you always been a poet but didn’t know it?!
Bates: Yes, I have been writing since I was young. I was more interested in writing songs when I was younger, but it eventually evolved into poetry. Four years ago, I went through a significant life shift as I got divorced and started a new job. I began writing even more during that transitional period. I felt the need to seek out other writers and to see what the writing community was like in Charleston. Coming from a theatrical and performing arts background, I was not as familiar with the literary community. I quickly became a part of a group called The Unspoken Word and attended a lot of open mic poetry events. I had no intention of sharing my poetry at the time, it was too intimidating. Yet, with encouragement and the strong community that Derek Berry, Marcus Amaker, and Matthew Foley created, I felt I could begin sharing my words. I started attending and participating in The Unspoken Word events. Three years later, I felt it was time to compile my poems into a book. With the help of my editor, Matthew Foley, I have spent the past 7 months writing and editing, Blunt Tongue.
R: Are you self-published (through who?) or was the book published by a traditional publisher?
B: Yes, and I used Steuben Press out of Colorado for printing. In March, I raised over $2,500 through a Kickstarter campaign to see my book come to life. I am extremely grateful to my friends and family for donating to make this dream a reality.
R: How long did it take to write? How would you describe your poetry style?
B: The poems are a collection of writing from the past 4 years but span the context of my whole life. The editing process itself was very grueling for these last 7 months. It is a special time where you sit with your words, make brutal cuts, and doubt your abilities! It was an eye-opening experience for me and, although it was the hardest part of the process, it was the most rewarding. I truly believe it made me a better writer. I would describe my poetry style as unapologetic, hard-hitting, and relatable.
R: Why poetry? Any other book up your sleeve for the future?
B: The poetic form comes naturally to me — a short and to-the-point look at life. I look forward to continuing my writing journey with more books of poetry as well as playwriting.
R: Who is your favorite author and why? Who inspired you to write?
B: That’s a tough question. I have found inspiration from a lot of local and regional poets. I thoroughly enjoy novelist Chuck Palahniuk’s absurdity and writing style. I would say that growing up, I was inspired to write by singer/songwriters like Alanis Morrisette and Ani DiFranco. Musicians who inspire me now are Halsey, Billie Eilish, and Lizzo, just to name a few.
R: Do you think poetry is a dying art form or do you feel it still popular and relevant? Why?
B: I do not think Poetry is a dying art form. Poetry is found in a lot of other art forms such as music, rap, and the spoken word. Charleston has a vibrant poetry community and I encourage everyone to go to The Unspoken Word events which are produced each month at the Itinerant Literate in Park Circle.
R: What is next for you as a writer?
B: I had my Book Release Party back on June 29 at Buxton Books on King Street in downtown Charleston. Next, I will be doing a signing with Main Street Reads on Saturday, August 10 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. I am in the midst of scheduling additional readings which will be announced soon.
Mary E. Regan, Columnist, is a Publicist with her ProPublicist consultancy. Story ideas? Email: Mary@ProPublicist.com.