A series of conversations, lead by Elza Rauza, with the new generation of poets. Illustrations – Lelde Liepa

Laura Sopele, 19, student, artist, poet

-How old were you when you started writing? 

-I was 11 when I started writing poetry seriously. But before I did it too because I fell in love with the concept of writing a story, which also rhymes.

-Maybe there is a poet who has inspired you?

-To be honest, no. Of course, I have read a lot of poetry throughout the years, but I kind of refuse to submit to the concept of inspiration when it comes to writing because then I will just copy the way that the author writes, which is insipid and not needed.

-Who do you write for?

-It depends. It is an abstract question 😀 I can’t say that I write for myself. I guess I write so that I could get something out of my system, but without any clichés. If I was writing for other people, I think my style of writing would have been different.

-Is there a particular way that you write?

-There truly isn’t. However, all of my poetry has one thing in common – melancholy. But it isn’t mawkish or depressing too. I don’t allow it.

-How the environment impacts a person?

-No matter how strong a person is, the environment will impact them. That is why there is a saying -show me your friend and I will tell you who you are. From my experience, I know that interviewing with the wrong people will lead you to do the wrong things.

-What type of people you avoid?

-I avoid shallow people.

-What gives away the fact that someone is shallow?

-First of all, you feel it when you are having a conversation with them – they are just one colour. They have nothing to talk about. I like classy people.

-What is the characteristic that lacks in most people? And which one should be eradicated?

-Empathy is not found in a lot of people, as well as some people have too big of an ego. It’s seen especially in conflicts. Overall, I think that all characteristics are needed in one way or another because that is how the world works. Everything needs to be in balance.

-What is your relationship with confidence?

-It goes up and down especially because of my perfectionism. It depends on my success. I feel good when I do something productive. I am okay with my outer appearance but my inner world and value is the one that I constantly work on.

-Do you believe in energies, power of thoughts, universe etc?

-Of course. How could one not believe it? It’s all obvious.

-What is your relationship with religion?

-Actually, I am quite religious. I hate that religion has been made in this thing that people should be afraid of, but there isn’t really something I could do to change that.

-Are you religious because of your family or you chose it yourself?

-I chose to be religious myself.

-How?

-I was the one that wanted to be baptized and I learned everything myself. It was not the old man in the skies that I was attracted to, but this energy in me that needed to be developed. I liked the thought that there is a ball of energy that supports me.

-What is your opinion on modern-day’s open conversation about mental health?

-It is wonderful. Of course, people, who self-diagnose, don’t help the matter, but overall I am happy that this conversation exists. There are too many people from older generations who are mentally ill but do not get treated because of being prejudiced, then their children grow up to be the same and are not being treated because of their household opinions.

-What success is to you?

-I think of success in an emotional, intellectual kind of way, because, in my opinion, money is dirty. Of course, it is necessary but, if a person measures success in money, then everything will go downwards too quickly to realize the mistake. I have seen it a lot of times.

-What is your relationship with money?

-It is needed. Do I value it more than my morals? In no way. I like to know that I earned the money myself. I like to have my own money. I know how to handle it and how to spend it smartly.

-What is your relationship with art?

-I am a visual artist, which means that I do everything that is pleasant to the eye.

-That means you focus on aestheticism or the back-story, deeper meaning of art?

-Both. At first, people see the outer layer – the aesthetics of my work, and when they learn what it means, they are quite surprised usually. Most of the time, poetry is where I leave the sorrow, deeper level thoughts.

-What is your opinion on political poetry?

-Please, don’t do that. I think that artists in no way should sneak into politics. That is suicide in a way. Artists are meant to create work pleasant to the eye; of course, you can create a political drawing, but, please, stop there. Firstly, you endanger other artists. It is a slippery slope after that. I have never gone into politics, only social dialogues. Those who do it are risking quite a bit.

-Do you differentiate art from the artist?

-I really try to.

-You think it is the correct way to approach this?

-Yes, because too many artists are horrible human beings but their work is good. Anyone has done something bad in their day.

-That is why I hate cancel culture.

-Yes, it is disgusting. A lot of times it is not necessary. Like, get a hobby.

-What kind of trend that the younger generations have, that you would like to erase?

-Competitions on who has the worse life.

– It is so common.

-And when you hear it from aside, you sort of get disgusted, right? It is weird listening to people comparing who has the biggest problems.

-In what ways our generation is different?

-We are like millennials on steroids. In my opinion, millennials are too soft. Compared to them, we are cynical.

-Do you have a life goal?

-Yes, I do have one. I want to heal and to feel.

– Which would you choose between visual art and poetry?

-Visual art because poetry is not as common as visual art.

-Do you have advice for young people trying to find themselves?

-Don’t be afraid and don’t stop – imagine you have a watch on your wrist and it is ticking. And stop whining. Also, please, learn how to get over yourself and how to apologize.

May 14, 2020

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