Karina Bush is a bold writer with brass balls who is quite methodological when it comes her work. Whether she be writing about: self love, sex or john's the body of work genuinely speaks for itself. I have to admit, I love artists who are ok with a little bit of discomfort when it comes to the world of art and staying true to artistic integrity. That is how Karina Bush writes -- with a sense of self and exploration -- she likes to push boundaries and comfort zones. And, I have to admit, as someone who has spent the majority of her life pushing boundaries -- I'm quite fond of other like minded individuals. I mean, come on, think about it for a minute -- would you like to remain stagnant or would you rather spelunk issues and subjects so worthy of research that are constantly overlooked?
To purchase Karina's books: Maiden (which I've read and reviewed on this blog -- so bloody brilliant!) published through 48th street press and her latest ground breaking work 50 Euro by BareBackPress (which is on my hit list) please check out Karina's website for more information. This is one Poet/Writer you should keep an eye on...
... and, now for the show...
RMMW: Good morning Karina... Do you have any artist rituals before beginning a new piece?
KB: Hi Rania! Not in particular. Every piece is different and requires a different entry point. I don't have a formula for writing, sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's a pained extraction. But there is something sacred about the flow experience of creativity, something shamanic or alchemic about accessing different states, conjuring something from the deep and manifesting it.
RMMW: Do you remember the first time you started writing seriously? What was the catalyst?
KB: Probably 48th Street Press asking me for a manuscript in 2013. They published my first book “Maiden” last year, it's a fantastic press, committed to the printed word and authentic poetry. They've published some incredible poets including Douglas Blazek - a pioneer in the small press and an early publisher of Bukowski, W.D. Ehrhart - the leading Vietnam War poet, and Paul Harrison, my favourite poet, he has a tender brutality and almost saintly presence in his poetry. Anyway, I was very flattered by the request for a manuscript and from then on I took writing much more seriously. The editor at 48th Street Press has mentored me and helped me develop my work a lot. BareBackPress, who have just published my second book “50 EURO”, was also an important presence, they've published me since 2013 and have been very supportive. They're brilliant to work with, the process of making “50 EURO” was very creative and productive. Having people believe in my writing enough to publish it is a big motivator.
RMMW: What social issues do you think influence your work the most?
KB:I don't think social issues have been a big part of my first two books. They're focused on emotional states and power struggles, in a sexual setting. The inner world more than the outer. In “50 EURO” there are some creeps, I guess meeting creeps in real life has influenced that, but it isn't the focus of the book. My next book is a move away from that, it's set in Belfast, and very different to both “Maiden” and “50 EURO”. Full prose, no poetry at all, with long stories. It deals with issues like conflict (I grew up at the end of a war), social deprivation, culture and identity, although I'm not directly addressing those issues, the characters are often a reflection of their environment.
RMMW: How do you find social media has shaped how you share your work?
KB: I guess it allows me to document progress a bit. Social media is an odd thing to figure out, so full of ego. I think it's kind of essential to have some online presence but not to take it too seriously, hope that the work will speak for itself.
RMMW: Have you ever been creatively blocked? If yes, what do you do to get those creative juices flowing?
KB: God yes, I've had long periods of block. The thrill and addiction comes from output, and struggling with that is demoralising. I write better when I've lots of solitude and less clutter in my head, so prioritising that helps. I work almost every day on something and that helps maintain the process as a continuous thread.
RMMW: We all have to contend with our inner critics constantly judging us, how do you contend with yours?
KB: Better than I used to but it can be challenging. I'm rarely happy with what I write, but not so unsatisfied I feel like giving up. I try to differentiate between a constructive or realistic critic, and the enemy of my own happiness. Intuition over paranoia.
RMMW: Can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect to see from your latest book 50 EURO?
KB: It's set in Amsterdam's Red Light District. The narrator is a sexworker in one of the famous windows, she's a bad Barbie. The reader goes in and out of her window - into the streets, back into the sex. It's pretty grubby in places, she does some very nasty things, like eats Haribo from a paedophile's crotch. It's quite seductive too, the neon lights beckoning, the lure of secret sex, the innocent getting sucked in. It's a kind of poetry/prose hybrid - some stories, some poems. I've lived in Amsterdam and spent a lot of time in the Red Light District. I adore the city, I was hooked on my first visit. One of my favourite things to do is watch johns, john-spotting I call it, it's a great hobby, I listen in on their conversations, follow them around a bit, be a creep myself. And the result is this book.
RMMW: The definition of modern feminism has changed over the years, what do you think are valuable lessons we should be teaching the younger generation with regards to fighting for ones rights?
KB: I honestly don't know enough about feminism to speak confidently about it. But children need to understand the bombardment of manipulation they face, and learn to recognise propaganda.
RMMW: Any time one does something that has to do with nudes, nudity or sex it always evokes a different reaction from each audience member. What do you want readers to take with them after reading Maiden & 50 EURO?
KB: I hope readers will read beyond the initial sexuality to the emotions behind it. I'm aware my writing isn't to everyone's taste, it can be uncomfortable to read, but I personally like being made to feel uncomfortable by art. What I write isn't titillation. It's important to explore sexuality in a way that challenges the dominance of porn. I'd like readers to feel the books, for the books to elicit a response. The books are quite different to each other. “Maiden” is emotionally charged and “50 EURO” is more entertaining, but both with dark undercurrents.
RMMW: Are you familiar with the work of Marina Abramovic? Her work is very evocative as is yours. Do you find you get a lot of judgmental reviews when others read your work?
KB: Yeah I am familiar with her work. I quite like what I have seen, a lot of contemporary art feels gimmicky and hers seems to be a genuine exploration.
I have had judgmental reviews. If you explore extreme emotions and situations it's inevitable to provoke reactions, a lot of people prefer comfort zones, and that's fine. But don't pretend to understand then get it wrong, people like that should stick with material suited to their reading age.
RMMW: If you had a super power what would it be?
KB: Tough question. It's not a superpower but I'd quite like a magic carpet, something opulent I could fly around on at night. Or the ability to time travel. It'd be cool to experience every century, be a wench with massive tits causing trouble in a tavern.