A Cup of Coffee with Sean Felix
Written by Rebecca Rijsdijk and Sean Felix
Sean Felix @thedawnwriter (he/him) is an African-American poet, born and raised in the United States, in Washington, DC. Sean now lives in Maryland. Poetry is the art life that drives him to critique what is wrong, and to embrace what is beautiful and strange. Sean is also one of our brand new digital editors.
When did you become a poet? How did you know it was the right medium for your stories?
I can’t pinpoint the moment I became a poet, though there are many moments of bad poetry in my life! I think my confrontations with language as a kid led me on this path, especially when I asked myself, because there was really no one I trusted better to answer, why do we need words. Too many words seemed to struggle to do their job, because they often betrayed rather than conveyed. That was when I knew that poetry’s economy of expression and the emphasis on feeling was the right way to go.
Who are some of your literary or artistic crushes (ie. influences)?
I have so many! As I write I try to get into the mind frame of some of our greatest cultural critics. I may not have the same “style,” but I view my world through the lenses of David Lynch, Hilma af Klimt, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and the words of Charles Bukowski, Charles Baudelaire, Claude McKay, and James Baldwin to name a few folks.
What are you working on next/what was your last project?
My last project was a book that is currently stalled at the print shop, thanks to the pandemic, called Did You Even Know I Was Here. It’s a book of phantasms and waking dreams from a three-day episode of insomnia in Paris. My next project is a book with the working title American Gravity, which is a direct confrontation of my personal life and “American” values.
What does “good poetry” mean to you?
“Good poetry” is honest. Even with the most esoteric language, or direct middle finger, if the poetry isn’t honest in the feeling, it is just worthless. If the poem is angry, it should make you gnash your teeth. If it is introspective, it should make you contemplate angles after reading. If it is truly a love poem (so often they’re just sex poems, the quagmire of “good poetry”) it should make you ache. A good poem makes you want to dance, cry, sing, fight, and make love (not in the order necessarily), because you think the world could end at any moment and you need to express your very being.