Between Awake and Dead Asleep: An Interview with Kaleigh Dandeneau

George Salis: Your poetry collection, Something Akin To, recently came out through Dink Press. Why did you choose to leave your individual poems in the collection untitled?

Kaleigh Dandeneau: A lot of my work is very stream-of-consciousness. When I get it down on paper, the way it flows feels right. Adding a title makes it feel like a stutter; a little bit like I’m trying to sell it rather than let it be.

GS: You also created the cover art for Something Akin To. What was the creative process behind that?

KD: I’ve had these poems strewn about for a while and never thought of them as “poetry.” To me they always seemed like poetry…adjacent. Something akin to poetry, but not quite it. I gave myself a giggle thinking about bright blue pears and yellow cherries. Something akin to fruit, but always a little off.

GS: Do you have a favorite color palette? Which colors and why?

KD: It’s so hard to choose! I love wearing rust and dull orange and autumn yellow, but surround myself with bright reds and blues and funky patterns. I think every color has its place somewhere, you just have to find it.

GS: If you could describe your art in one word, what would it be?

KD: Drowsy. In the most positive sense I think—that weird space between awake and dead asleep.

GS: How does poetry influence your art and vice versa, or are they non-overlapping magisteria?

KD: I used to think that they were completely different sides of who I am but I realize the process is very much the same. When creating art, I tend to run with an idea and slowly distort the imagery around it. When writing, I get a single word or phrase stuck in my head and try to build the world that lives around it. I don’t think they compliment each other— drawing for my poems or writing for my drawings would seem odd—but I think it’s best that they live their own lives.

GS: What is your favorite line or stanza from the collection?

KD: “god delivered this headache by hand” definitely stuck with me the longest. I have a lot of grief, anger, and sadness that comes with my journey in chronic illness and you can definitely tell that I use my writing to sort it out. Sometimes this line makes me laugh, sometimes I just nod and have to agree.

GS: Who is a poet you wish more people would read?

KD: Barton Smock is an incredible person and I absolutely adore his work. I think he’s one of the few people whose work you can look at, know that his work is leagues above yours, and have pride that it is.

Kaleigh Maeby is a designer/illustrator from Melbourne, Florida. She spends her time creating glimpses into other universes and finding the beauty in this one. She hopes you look upon these words and find something—a connection, a joke, disgust, even joy. She is in love.

George Salis is the award-winning author of Sea Above, Sun Below (forthcoming from River Boat Books, 2019). His fiction is featured in The DarkBlack DandyZizzle Literary MagazineThe Sunlight Press, Unreal Magazine, and elsewhere. His criticism has appeared in IsacousticAtticus Review, and The Tishman Review, and his science article on the mechanics of natural evil was featured in Skeptic. He is currently working on an encyclopedic novel titled Morphological Echoes. He has taught in Bulgaria, China, and Poland. Find him on FacebookGoodreads, and at www.GeorgeSalis.com.

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