Q & A with Katherine Felix
Born in the United States, Katherine relocated to St. Lucia with her family in 1994, after deciding it would be better to raise her multi-cultural children in the Caribbean. In 2007 she relocated to Barbados and spends time painting, writing and working with other artists to develop her own skills as well as collaborating in new artistic projects when she is not at work. A self-taught artist and writer Katherine has always spent time expressing herself creatively. Her works reflects her surroundings, society and the many journeys she has made in life; artistically, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Katherine found a creative family in the literary and spoken word community in Barbados after meeting members of the Iron Sharpen Iron and Mic Check families. Having written poetry for almost as long as she can remember, she began devoting more time improving her skills at performing spoken word pieces, learning from the talented and positive people surrounding her. Katherine is an award winning Writer, Poet and Visual Artist having won three Silver; multiple Bronzes for Poetry and Prose in Literary Arts and five Bronze awards in Visual Arts from Barbados’ National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) over the years since 2011, when she first entered. Her work has been selected for inclusion and published in three separate anthologies. A Project Manager by day, Katherine is a founding member of the League of Extraordinary Poets, (LXP) a Non-Profit organization devoted to the holistic development of the Arts and Artists
In this blog I wanted to showcase artistes who live in Barbados. Anyone with a creative bent who is courageous enough to share their ‘art’ with the world. It could be writer, musician, photographer, sculptor or artist. It matters not whether they are using their art to currently make their living. Some of us are not that fortunate. I think however that creativity needs to be celebrated nevertheless.
Q1. When did you start writing poetry?
I have always written…stories first; but I can remember writing poems as far back as when I was about ten years old. Poetry became a more important part of my life as I struggled to find ways to cope with the various challenges I faced growing up with an emotionally abusive step-father and an alcoholic mother. Poetry always allowed me to work through problems to find ways to survive and adapt internally to the craziness of my life as an artist; to stay mentally and emotionally healthy and positive in spite of challenges I have faced.
Q2. What style of poetry do you write?
All types. I love to experiment, challenge myself and try new things, both as a visual artist and a writer. I have written very structured pieces, those that rhyme, those that don’t, haiku, etc.; but I usually write in free style and depending on whether the piece is a literary work or a spoken word piece, my main style choices have to do with best use of words, message and the rhythm. The flow has to match the intent and emotion of the poem, regardless of what style I use for any particular piece.
Q3. Who is your favourite poet/ writer? Caribbean or International.
I don’t have a single favourite poet or writer. There are many writers that have written works that have touched or inspired me. I am lucky to have met, worked with and be mentored by talented writers who continue to influence me personally; like Adrian Green and Marc Jason Welch; but I loved Edgar Allen Poe and Science Fiction writers like Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov when I was an adolescent. I discovered Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes as a teen and after moving to the Caribbean I delved into writers like Derek Walcott and Kamau Brathwaite. I have never stopped reading and I fall in love with new works and new writers all the time.
Q4. What is your day job (if you don’ write full time)?
I am a professional Project Manager currently employed at a local manufacturing firm as their Compliance & Special Projects Manager. I am goal oriented by nature; I enjoy Managing Projects – they have a specific beginning and ending, like stories and poems…. investigating what went wrong, finding a way to solve the problem and then turning it back over to operations when the project is completed. Like writing, every project is different and filled with opportunities to learn.
Q5. List a couple places where you’ve performed your work?
My first reading was at a Mic Check, hosted by Sunrokk and Rhy Minister at the Bump N Wine in Bridgetown. My work was later featured by the NCF at a Read-In at Gunn Hill, where I read some pieces and performed others. I have performed at The Good Life Café’s open mics; I was the first featured artist of D ART LIME hosted by Rebel Glam (Selena Dobson); have read at the NIFCA Literary Arts gala at Frank Collymore Hall, performed two pieces in an all-woman project “Speak” at Girlfriend’s expo, done pieces at Iron Sharpen Iron and Iron Mic events locally. I also produced the first ever all spoken word sunset concert at Frank Collymore Hall – I was not able to perform myself, but I am extremely proud of having been able to put that show together to showcase some of the very talented members of the League of Extraordinary Poets, a developmental Non-Profit, of which I am a founding Director.
Q6. Are you published?
Yes, I have had pieces selected for inclusion in three anthologies- one done in the United States; Spoken Ink by Indigo Soul; the NCF’s Winning Words 2011-2012 Anthology and in Senseisha; an anthology put together by Bajan author and film maker, Shakira Bourne.
Connect with Katherine